2019 was a tentative time for the housing market. With the uncertainty of Brexit continuing to loom large, as well as the added burden of a general election towards the end of the year, many homeowners prioritised keeping a watchful eye on market activity, as opposed to listing at a time of uncertainty.Now, the 'Boris Bounce' has cleared the blockage, reflecting in demand from sellers already within the first week or two of 2020. It certainly appears that the surge of activity is a good sign for the rest of the year.
However, you better be quick! Now that we have a more buoyant market, others will want to jump on the band wagon. In time, more properties will come onto the market increasing supply, giving buyers more options and pushing prices down in a buyers market. So, how do you milk todays market and work it to your advantage, achieving the highest price possible?
1. Choose the right estate agent
This could depend on what it is you're offering. If you property is a bit different, for example, or the value is likely to above average for the area, you might be better off using a company such as Mount & Minster. Take your time to choose wisely based on experience and success with similar properties, it’s this decision that will impact your sale process the most. Not all agents are the same. Make sure they're RICS accredited as only the best ones are. Low-Value (online-only/pay-anyway) agents offer a cheap service to advertise your home, but with only one-in-two of their properties listed actually selling, they can often delay the whole process and hinder the value when you do sell with a more local agent.
2. Realistic asking price
Naturally every seller wants the highest price possible, but your house is only worth what someone will pay for it. The agents will guide you and explain what similar houses in your area have successfully sold for recently. By ignoring these signs, you’ll only unnecessarily delay the process. Listen to your agent. If they're an RICS Registered Valuer, they're unlikely to be wrong!
At this time of year, your house may not look its best. Externally, a good agent can remove leaves out of the photos and add beautiful blue skies. Internally, it's down to you. Make sure to declutter as much as possible. Buyers will want to imagine themselves in the property at the best of times and this simple trick for the presentation can make a big difference. The photos do not want to look 'busy'.
4. Not all offers are equal
So you've listened to the estate agent, taken their advice and you're receiving multiple offers, you now need to consider the background of the buyers. Are they in a chain, are they a first-time buyer? These things will impact the timeliness of completion. You might consider accepting a lower offer from such a buyer, especially if they're in a cash position as there's no mortgage company to complicate matters or potentially delay exchange and completion.
5. Prepare paperwork in advance
Exchange and completion in two months or less is possible, but believe it or not this is more likely down to you rather than your agent or solicitor. You need to fill in the crucial Property Information Form (TA6), which details boundaries, building works and neighbour-related disputes, as well as the Fittings and Contents Form (TA10). Dig out your property title deeds as trying to locate these later can delay matters.