Don't believe the hype: Some dos and don'ts of buying and selling property

The experience of buying or selling a property can be anywhere on a spectrum between 'silky smooth' and 'complete nightmare'. To get you on the right track, why not check out some of our top tips about the buying and selling process.

Related topics:  Property
Warren Lewis
22nd March 2019

1: Cheapest mortgage = Best mortgage

Cheap is good. Everyone loves a bargain, right? However, considering that this is probably the single biggest purchase any of us make in our lives, you should look at the bigger picture and not simply grab the product with the most attractive headline price.

A smaller monthly payment may look good at first, but find out if it's fixed or a tracker. Trackers may start off wallet friendly, but could quite easily give you a shock when the base rate rises.

And if rumours are correct, whether we leave the EU with a deal or not, it looks like that will happen this year . Fixed rates are more accurate at predicting that your monthly payment stays within budget for a specified number of years.

And don't forget the fees! Cheap mortgages are more likely to incur massive arrangement fees. In addition, exit fees and early repayment charges are worth factoring in when deciding on your mortgage as they could cost you a packet in a few years should you decide to move.

2. House prices will always rise - No they won't.

If you bought and sold property a couple times during the the 90s chances are you made good money from the house price boom and you're having your butler read this to you as you sip liquified £50 notes on your massive yacht. But that was the 90's housing market, it's very different today.

House prices are not bullet proof and downturns ceratinly happen. For example, September 2007 to March 2009 saw around £35k wiped off the average house price - dropping from £190,032 to £154,452 or 18.7%

Quite simply, a rise in value will depend on when you buy.

3. Improving a property always increases its value

You have to be careful here as it's not always the case. Depending on the property and the type of work you carry out, there could be a real danger of overkill. Kitchens and bathrooms are the go to spaces usually associated with increasing a property's value, they certainly help to sell a home. However, fitting a brand new state of the art £30,000 kitchen into an average three-bedroom semi is madness. Kitchens should be clean, functional and priced in proportion to the rest of the home.

The same goes for increasing the size of a house in the hope it will increase the value. It's just not guaranteed anymore. You could end up with the best house on an average street. Nice, but not the best way to make money out of property.

4. South-facing gardens will add thousands to your selling price

South-facing gardens get the most exposure to sunlight. We live in the UK. Do you remember sunshine?

It's certainly a nice bonus, but it has been massively over-hyped by estate agents over the years, so don't bank on it earing you thousands extra when you come to sell up. Studies have shown ( that properties with south-facing gardens didn’t raise the value by anything close to what the estate agents would have us believe.

In fact, The Telegraph ran a piece which showed that a south-facing garden only added an extra £800 to the value of a home.

Homes with sea views were found to raise the value of a property by as much as 71% compared to a similar property just a mile inland. Similarly, proximity to a national park raises the value by as much as 46% and living near a brewery could have you staggering to the bank with an extra 33.6%.

5. Don't sell until ‘property season’ kicks in

Property season, or 'Spring' as it's better known, runs from mid-March through to late June and is often cited to be the best time to sell your home.
The reason for this is more than likely because people aren’t away for the summer holidays or up to their eyes in Christmas. However, the truth is that it doesn’t matter what the season is, it’s the property itself that will cause the sale, not what the weather is doing.

It is advisable though to see what's going on locally before you start the ball rolling. Make sure the Council hasn't granted planning permission for any work nearby. Trying to sell your house while there is a JCB tearing up the pavement outside your living room is more hassle than it's worth.

Another myth to do with the timing of your sale is that you will complete and move on a Friday. Fridays used to be a more common day to move, but was more of a preference than anything else. Times have changed, as have people's working schedules and many are more open to moving any day of the week.

6. You only need to worry about the monthly payment

Being able to afford home involves much more than being able to meet the regular monthly mortgage payments. A common mistake many first-time-buyers make is fixating on this ammount and convincing themselves that they can afford it.

It's really important while working on your budget to include all the costs that come with owning a home. Other things to consider are:


1: Stamp Duty
2: Deposit
3: Valuation fee
4: Surveyor’s fee
5: Legal fees
6: Electronic transfer fee
7: Estate agent’s fee
8: Removal costs
9: Mortgage fees
10: Maintenance and repairs


11: Insurance
12: Council Tax
13: Utilities

Considering these additional expenses will give you a more realistic number to work with.

OK, before I go, my best Columbo impression..."Just one more thing..."

7. Fire up your oven because the smell of freshly baked bread will sell your home.

It really won't. Here's why.

Everyone knows about it. It's a cliché. Buyers today aren't going to be fooled by your tricks no matter how convincing your Marry Berry wig is and they won't appreciate being manipulated.

Additionally, the smell of bread might stand a chance of swinging it in a little cottage out in the sticks, but a modern 10th floor flat in the city? Not likely.

A online post from the Daily Mail (so believe what you will) suggested that the smell of white tea and figs is more appealing to buyers. Perhaps. But this is just today's trend. Tomorrow it will be rhubarb and engine oil or something equally bizarre.

Smell, however, is important. Potential buyers don't want nostrils full of wet dog when they walk through the door. Make sure your home is warm, clean and tidy before anyone comes in. Avoid chemical smells or bleach (alarm bells will ring). Think soft, gentle aromas, nothing overpowering and you'll be ok.

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