In a helpful article in The Times property editor Carole Lewis has some useful tips for people thinking of buying or selling in the current market.
1. Make friends with estate agents, consider employing a buying agent, you need to do everything you can to get first sight of properties preferably as soon as — if not before — they come to market. Hamptons says that homes are going under offer in a record 22 days.
2. Remain patient; there isn’t much choice, with far more buyers than houses available to buy. In August there were 14 new prospective buyers for each new sale instruction outside of London, “down from the recent peak of 16 in January, but still historically high,” according to Knight Frank.
3. It is a sellers’ market, so don’t expect to be able to bag a bargain — stay realistic. The average buyer in England and Wales paid 100.5 per cent of the asking price in August, with 39 per cent paying over the asking price — by an average of £12,525.
4. Be committed and ready to go. If you don’t have cash, make sure you have your mortgage offer secured and/or your home is under offer if you are selling. It seems obvious (but it happens); don’t lie about being a cash buyer if you’re not.
5. Gazumping is still rife. Protect yourself by asking for the property to be taken off the market once your offer is accepted; get to know the sellers; and take out homebuyers protection insurance (about £60) to protect yourself from loss of fees if the sale falls through.
6. Everyone is busy, with so many people trying to move — 286,000 people are trying to move this month, according to TwentyCi — so make sure yours doesn’t get pushed to the bottom of the pile. Keep on top of everything and unapologetically chase estate agents, solicitors and surveyors.
1. The good news is it’s a sellers market, the bad news is you are probably a buyer too. There is high demand and not enough homes for everyone to buy or rent, so you need to instruct your estate agent to simultaneously help you to sell and buy.
2. Be realistic about price. Reports of soaring values and people paying over asking prices is making some sellers greedy. Paradoxically if you set a realistic guide price buyers are more likely to bid competitively and pay over the asking price than they are if you set the price high from the get-go.
3. Consider negotiating a quick exchange but extended completion to give yourself time to find somewhere to buy; agents are reporting that this is increasingly common.
4. Don’t just accept the highest bidder’s offer. It is easy with competitive bidding to get carried away only to find that the buyer with the most money can’t move for ages and you need to move quickly. Weigh up all the factors, not just the pounds and pence.
5. However, if you need to sell quickly, consider being “contract ready” with your searches and paperwork all ready when you list your property for sale or go to auction.
6. Don’t get sloppy. There may be lots of buyers out there eager to secure a new home, but it still pays (quite literally) to make an effort. Make sure the garden is tidy and the house is looking neat.