Buyers’ market – what you can do to help sell right now!

Whether down to the 2017 General Election or Brexit, the number of people buying and selling has slowed.

20180125_092717It has recently been reported that whilst residential property transactions averaged just over 100,000 a month last year – house purchase approvals hit a 15-month low in November…

This shall no doubt have had some impact on pricing, as despite a lack of supply of housing for sale, interest rates remain low & the current favourable yet volatile mortgage rate environment continues to underpin pricing across much of the UK.

It follows that with these market conditions it is critical to emphasise your property’s positive points & help it stand out from the competition.

When considering all your options for selling don’t limit those positives to what only you value i.e.the reason why you bought in the first place – try to come from the homebuyer’s point of view.

1. Selling those supermarkets

One of the primary considerations for a Agent valuing your property will be what they call the ‘Waitrose Effect’? In a recent Lloyds report they comment:

‘…Does the value of a home increase because a certain supermarket is nearby, or do such supermarkets target areas where home values are higher? The latter could be the case with Waitrose, which has always aimed itself at the upper end of the household income scale.’

There is certainly a correlation between house prices & proximity to supermarkets, but cause / effect isn’t quite as clear. Until recently & the recession, the close proximity of ‘budget supermarkets’ such as Asda, Lidl & Aldi, might have had a detrimental affect – this is not necessarily the case now for the more budget ‘savvy’ clientele!

There is nothing more convenient than being able to pop down the road to get some items ‘in emergencies’ so it is well worth preparing for this & having the information readily available to highlight to any prospective buyer!

20170614_1114182. Close proximity

Leading on from the above is what estate agents like to describe as ‘…having easy access to’ or ‘extremely convenient for’. There is no doubt that not having to get the car out or being able to stroll to places can most definitely affect a property’s ‘sale-ability’.

Having a variety of local facilities including health & dentist…close by is a huge factor when it comes to buying a home. Not only is it more convenient for people, but it also can indicate a potentially safer, more sociable area – what is known in the business as being part of the ‘friendly neighbourhood watch’!

3. Totting up the transport links

For some this is of vital importance – being in close proximity for roads & motorway networks is certainly a major consideration as each of us face our daily commutes, so when it comes to public transportation & the potential effect on home prices, the closer the better.

WP_20160617_13_04_25_ProIn the region that I cover – prime ‘commuter belt country’ – being within close proximity of a mainline railway station is a big draw so do make sure to know timings from your home.

In my experience there’s a fine balance between easy walking distance & the noise factor, with all the additional potential problems associated – passing traffic, parking ‘dropping off’ & pedestrians…particularly at peak times. When talking to viewers about the potential drawbacks that come with living near a transport link, pre-empt their likely concerns.

For example, be ready to talk about the noise and how you have mitigated it inside with double glazing and outside with fencing and hedging. Or if you haven’t got round to it, find out approximately how much soundproofing would cost for your potential buyers.

4. A good school or two

This would no doubt be high on some peoples’ agendas – any homeowners with children or those planning on starting a family, being close to some good schools is hugely important. For specific pointers you might like to read my blog about choosing schools.

It helps if they’re within walking distance of your front door, although having a home on the same street or backing onto a school can have its noisy moments. However, when talking to your potential buyers, make sure you highlight that the congestion that comes with living near a school only happens twice a day for 20 minutes and only in school term time.

5. Leisure facilities

InstagramCapture_fc9a8d2a-ca04-40fe-a9de-006bfa78bbadIt is intriguing to note that when there are announcements of plans for development of local leisure facilities there can be evidence that prices near the venues actually began to rise with the news.

I was reading that one reason for this boost is that many large sporting developments now include funding for the transformation of local areas & very recently this occurred with ‘Energise me’. This includes improved public spaces, better transport links, infrastructure & the ability to attract businesses to otherwise rundown areas.

As they state ‘…Our Community Asset Fund is our new, rolling funding programme and marks a different way of working for us

6. Restaurants & ‘eateries’

When you ‘walk out’ from your home with either family or friends having somewhere to eat or drink fairly close by is going to be important.

Now whilst it might follow that having a Michelin-starred restaurant on your doorstep would add some serious value to your home – there is again the trade off of additional potential problems associated passing traffic, parking ‘dropping off’ & extra pedestrians passing at unsociable hours.

So if you look at the other end of the spectrum – is there going to be a ‘McDonald’s factor’? If the only eateries close by are fast food places, then this may still give a property a boost, but not by as much. This is not necessarily an agenda matter – while being close to a McDonald’s is very convenient for some…to others this could mean you’re also near to a major road, which could be harming the value of your home.

So far all these considerations arguably cannot be changed by you, the final two suggestions can!

7. Getting the price right

With less ‘buyer activity’ pricing of property is critical – you can do a lot of market research yourself before the agent comes to see you. Do your homework & check-out Rightmove or the Land Registry house price indices:

  • If market conditions are less buoyant, it’s a good plan to encourage the opportunity of potentially competitive bidding – agents will often give ‘price guides’ or ‘offers invited’ as precursors to the asking price (besides having sold, it then puts you in a very good bargaining position for your on-going purchase!)
  • If your price is too high your property will not sell & in this market properties can quite quickly go ‘stale’ .
  • It is so important that your price appears better value than a competitors.

8. Get Expert Advice – choosing the most effective estate agent

Remember that you don’t have to sell your home through an Estate Agent …however I would recommend that you do, so choose carefully –

    • It’s not a bad idea to check for any personal experiences / recommendations from friends, neighbours & any ‘known’ property professionals – your conveyancing solicitor perhaps who deals with agents daily.
    • Don’t be afraid to negotiate over costs & fees – at least ask the question!  As the advert says “Every little helps”
    • Talk with the agents who are specifically selling similar sorts of properties to yours & make sure that the person* who undertakes the viewings is really positive & enthusiastic! (*It could well be a different person to the ‘valuer’).
    • It does pay to get on with your agent as there is no doubt they know a lot of people, contacts, which can be useful in the long run…

IMG_20180130_092313_025Tongue in cheek – be wary when you read a description of a property with: 

‘Excellent communications…near a railway station & usually so close that the house shakes to let you know when each train is approaching or departing’ (K Ray)

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Coast & Downland Homefinders – expert help with finding your next home