Happy New Year – I hope you’ve had a fabulous festive period. Are you thinking about selling your home in spring?
If so, let’s hope you’re raring to go with what promises to be a fascinating year for the housing market. Interest rates are set to ease, tax cuts are rumoured for the spring and a General Election will happen sometime over the next 12 months. 2024 will be busy!
Last time out I advised would-be sellers not to take it too easy over Christmas and instead getting their homes ready to sell in the new year. By completing any outstanding jobs ahead of spring. Now I’m taking that further and suggesting anyone bringing their home to market in the next few months should begin work – right now. On gathering the maximum amount of information to make the sale smoother. Let’s take a look!
Upfront information before selling your home
There are several reasons why upfront information before selling your home is so important, especially in the spring season.
Firstly, although plenty of homes go on sale in February, the traditional time for buyers to start viewing is Easter which comes early this year, in March.
Secondly, there has been concern raised by the estate agents’ body Propertymark that the time taken to exchange contracts in agreed sales has been lengthening. Housing market data shows us that even in the quieter time leading up to Christmas, it took four months or more. That’s slow for all the parties to a sale, but it also means there’s more time and scope for sales to collapse if one side gets cold feet. Or finds an unexpected problem and pulls out of the deal.
Thirdly – and related to the last point. A respected property analytics firm says collapsed sales increased steadily through the first three quarters of 2023. So, sellers have to do everything they can to minimise that risk this year.
I’ve long been a fan of more upfront info and material information. This gives sellers a chance to identify marketed and missing documents before the home is marketed. And having it ready for potential buyers to see means they can make decisions earlier on. Like whether to view a home or make an offer. And that, in turn, reduces that risk of a deal falling through later on, when it costs more time and money. It also creates heartache for the frustrated vendor.
What information can sellers get?
Start with the basics associated with the property you’re selling. Its address, full details of the owner, whether it’s leasehold or freeholds. If it is leasehold, then the details of the ground rent, service charges and any lease extension might be useful. It’s surprising how many sellers lack awareness of specific details like these.
Next you should gather the documents for any building work or alterations you have had done while owning the home. Think about things like building regulations, planning consents. Consider more unusual aspects actively, such as checking if a home is listed or investigating whether there are preservation orders on trees in the garden.
Then there are boundary and access issues. Are those clear or are there informal agreements with neighbours? Related to all that, any unresolved disputes with neighbours?
For a really belt and braces approach, some sellers are these days getting their own surveys. Think about, Energy Performance Certificate assessments, and flooding risk reports done.
If you think, “My conveyancing solicitor or buyer will gather all of these,” you’re right.
However, waiting for each of these to be requested from you will waste valuable time. And it’s possible a potential buyer may rethink and withdraw which can lead to the property sale to fall through.
Move iQ reports
Forgive this promotion but an additional help – aimed primarily at buyers but available to sellers too – is the Move iQ Property Report. It gives information on comparable sales in the same area. Neighbourhood information such as crime rates and Ofsted school ratings, transport links and plenty more.
For buyers this is especially valuable if they are not ‘local’ to the area. For sellers, it would be additional information they could offer to potential purchasers to help ease their mind about local facilities and the appropriateness of your asking price.
Selling your home in spring: is it a good time?
Make sure you’re prepared well when it comes to selling your home in spring and don’t forget to read our ‘how to take car of your property’ seasonal guide. That being said, one day, buyers, sellers, mortgage lenders, conveyancers, and possibly property portals will have full digital access to all of this information without hassle. It would make the sales process so much easier!
There are discussions underway to make this possible but right now it’s some way off. In the meantime, it makes absolute sense for sellers to take the initiative and gather the maximum information ahead of marketing the home. When you show your property to prospective buyers, be willing to share this information.
Hard work? Of course, it is – but it will save you time in the long run. More importantly, save you the distress and frustration of a sale collapsing at the last moment.
Last Updated: January 8th, 2024