Sellers need to change tactics and be more realistic about market conditions

Homeowners need to be more realistic about current property market conditions if they hope to secure a sale, as many are still using a sale strategy more suited to last year's market.

Related topics:  Property,  Sellers,  Housing Market
Property | Reporter
8th March 2023
Sold 205
"There are still buyers out there looking to move, but sellers cannot take the same approach they would have done in 2022"

The warning, from Quick Move Now, comes amid new figures that revealed less than half of the properties on the market in England and Wales are currently sold subject to status. 46% of home sellers have accepted an offer; a fall of 15% from the 2022 average.

Whilst an increase in unsold properties is good for those in a position to buy, offering more choice and greater negotiating power, it is not such good news for those hoping to sell.

It seems sellers are still feeling optimistic, despite the lower sale rate, with a steady supply of properties coming onto the market. In January 2023 there was an average of 27 properties available within a quarter mile of each postcode. In January 2022 the average was 26 properties.

How to successfully sell your house in the current market

Price competitively

Mortgage affordability has been significantly impacted by rising inflation and higher mortgage interest rates. As a result, anyone wanting to attract a buyer needs to ensure their property is priced attractively. I would usually advise looking at recent sold prices in the area to give you an idea of how much your property might be worth, but with the market changing so quickly, that can give a misleading picture and create unrealistic expectations.

Estate agents are also trying to assess a changing market, so may suggest listing the property at the higher end of what it might be worth to test the market. That can occasionally pay off, but if you're keen for a quick sale, it's best to tempt buyers with a more attractive asking price. If your property gets significant interest, the price will naturally be driven higher by competing offers.

Get the right team working with you

Your estate agent and solicitor can have a big impact on your property sale, so it's important that you choose who you work with wisely. Personal recommendations are always a good place to start, and online reviews can also provide helpful insight.

Avoid any mortgage surprises

Higher interest rates will impact your mortgage affordability, so it's important that you don't make assumptions about how much you might be able to borrow. Getting an agreement in principle should help you to avoid any nasty surprises when completing your mortgage application.

Choose your buyer carefully

First-time buyers and cash buyers will always be more attractive prospects than those with a property to sell, but this is increasingly the case in the current market.

If you're lucky enough to receive multiple offers for your property, consider the buyer's circumstances carefully. The most proceedable offer (chain-free, cash buyer or current home already sold subject to contract) will usually be the best option.

Minimise property chains

Property chains make house moves more complex, so in the current market, they are best avoided as much as possible.

With properties taking longer to sell, it can be more challenging tying up a sale and purchase, so you may want to consider exploring making yourself a chain-free buyer. You can do this either by selling up and moving into a rental property before buying your next home or by using a professional home-buying company.

Danny Luke, of Quick Move Now, said: “The property market has gone through a lot of changes over the last year.

“At the start of 2022, the property market was very overheated. Buyers were fighting it out for limited stock, pushing property prices ever higher. However, since the end of last year, rising inflation and interest rates have caused downward pressure on demand, creating more of a balance between buyers and sellers.

“There are still buyers out there looking to move, but sellers cannot take the same approach they would have done in 2022.

“It's no longer a seller's market, which means pricing needs to be less ambitious. Sellers also need to be realistic about how long a sale might take. This time last year, properties were often selling before they made it onto online portals such as Rightmove and Zoopla, with several would-be buyers competing for the property as soon as it became available. It's now a very different story, with even highly desirable properties often sitting on the market for several weeks before finding a buyer.

“The slowing speed of the market is also causing significant property chain issues. Last year, if your property sale fell through, you could be fairly sure you'd be able to find another buyer quickly. Losing a buyer now is far more likely to cause the whole property chain to collapse, as others with connected sales fear how long it might take to complete the chain for a second time."

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