Mon 24 Jul 2023
When the property market takes an uncertain turn, it can throw your moving plans into doubt.
Remember the post-Brexit wobble? And when Covid struck? Both looked catastrophic for sellers, but prices surged in the boom that followed with a massive shortage of property from such high demand.
Now, higher interest rates and inflation are causing many buyers to press pause and keep renting as they wait to see how things pan out.
While most people don’t move for financial reasons - factors like family, work and lifestyle are the ones that run the show - it’s money that makes every move possible.
So is selling your home a good or bad idea right now? Will you actually find a buyer? Or are you better off waiting, and for how long?
There are many questions to answer, and this week's blog covers all you need to know about selling in today's market so you can make a confident plan.
WHAT DO THE NUMBERS LOOK LIKE?
Number crunching is hardly the most exciting part of moving home, but it is the cornerstone of knowing whether it’s financially possible and manageable, so let’s look at the nuts and bolts.
- What is your current home's likely sale price, and how much will you need to pay for your next one? Remember that the trading-up gap gets larger when prices start to rise again.
- Don’t forget to include all the costs of moving, like stamp duty, estate agents, conveyancing, removals company and any mortgage arrangement or repayment fees.
- If you have a mortgage on your current home and you’re looking to take it with you, is there a deadline for keeping the same rate? Or, if you plan to repay it early, is there a penalty?
- If you need to borrow for your next property, can you borrow enough, at payments you can afford, and over enough time? (Lenders start changing their terms for borrowers over 55.)
Once you’ve answered the above, you’ll have a clear picture of whether moving home is financially viable without feeling overwhelmed or overstretched.
AVOID OVER-ANALYSING THE MARKET
The best time to move home is always when it’s right for you, but it can be all too easy to get distracted by headlines about the state of the market, instead of focusing on the next chapter of your life.
- It is notoriously difficult to predict the market, and the chances are it will change between the time you put your home on the market and the day you move.
- We never know when we’ve reached the bottom or the top until after it’s happened, so it’s not worth trying to work your move around it.
- Think about the lifestyle you want and when you want it. We’ve never met anyone who sold their home purely because of the market - there’s always a bigger reason behind it.
The thing about moving home is that once we’ve started thinking about it, we just want to go. So keep your focus on your dreams, and if now isn’t the right time to move, that’s fine.
WHAT IF YOU’RE ALREADY FOR SALE?
If your home has been on the market for some time, you’ve probably experienced the shifting market first-hand, and the chances are the price you started at needs a review.
- Speak to your agent about getting your move back on track and ask them about any similar homes they’ve sold recently and the prices they achieved.
- Ask for a plan of action around what they'll do to reinvigorate your marketing and your chances of a sale: will they take new photos, write a new description, or offer enhanced promotion?
- Consider a fresh start with a new agent - your online advert on the portals will get an immediate 'new listing' status, and you'll have a new and enthusiastic team working for you.
Sometimes it’s even worth taking a break to recharge and make a few styling changes. Our Photography Secrets blog is packed with tips to give your home a fresh start.
WHAT ARE YOUR CHANCES OF FINDING A BUYER?
Although mortgage approvals have been fluctuating, they certainly haven’t fallen off a cliff, and while the market is highly price sensitive right now, it’s still very possible to sell your home.
- It might sound obvious, but if your home isn't on the market, nobody will know it's available to buy.
- Enquiries are far from the level of 2022's peak, but buyers are keeping an eye on local listings, and they do call when they see an opportunity.
- Now isn’t the time to be overly ambitious with your asking price, and with more competition from other homes for sale, make sure your presentation is tip-top.
It’s also worth saying that with more property on the market, you’ll have plenty of choice when you come to buy - a far more positive and less stressful experience than many people had in 2022.
WHY YOU MIGHT CHOOSE TO WAIT
Even if moving home is in your head, there are occasions when waiting it out might be your best option. From our experience, these tend to be financial reasons and include:
- Making repairs and improvements to increase the value and saleability of your home (but ask us first because we may have a buyer waiting).
- A hefty early repayment penalty on a mortgage that you’re not going to transfer to another property.
- Selling up for the last time and not buying again, but your home’s current value doesn’t cover the minimum amount you need for your future plans.
- Partners who are separating and both downsizing, making it more important to sell when prices are rising to have more equity to start again.
If you're still unsure if the finances work for a move, speak to an independent mortgage advisor before ruling anything in or out. Their fresh perspective can highlight possibilities you may not have considered.
Wondering what’s your next step?
There’s plenty to think about before taking any action, and we’d love to help you make the right decision for your future, whether that's selling up or staying put.
Our friendly and expert team is here to answer all your questions, so call us on 01543 432099 or email us at email@example.com for a chat about your plans.