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What to Consider When Buying and Selling Property

Phi Spencer

By Phil Spencer

Selling your home can be a stressful and challenging process. During 2016, there were over 1.2 million residential property transactions in the UK. So, while many experts suggest Brexit may have an impact on the market, the overall property sector is showing no major signs of slowing down. When buying a house, selling your current property is usually essential. If you’re thinking about entering the process of buying and selling property, here’s what you need to consider.

When to sell your home

A lot of buyers look at prospective new homes before putting their own property up for sale. This can cause a few potential problems:

Unable to secure the purchase

You could find your perfect home but the seller’s agent is unable to recommend a ‘subject to sale’ offer. This could mean the property is sold to someone else who’s ready and able to proceed – possibly at a lower price. You’re potentially riding for a fall by exposing yourself to a property that you love with no realistic prospect of securing the purchase.

Weak negotiating position

Even if you secure your dream home you’re then under pressure to swiftly agree a sale on your existing property in order to secure your new house. Acting quickly can leave you in a weak negotiating position on both transactions – this could mean you’re unable to achieve your property’s full value.

So, if you already own a home, how do you complete the transaction smoothly without being left homeless, heartbroken or not as financially well off as you thought? 

Starting the buying and selling process

Getting started can be a difficult step to take. Here’s some vital steps to follow:

  • Invite a few local estate agents to value your home, ask how they’d market your property
  • Ask if they have any advice or suggestions on anything you could do, alter or improve to enhance the sale of your home
  • Choose an agent with a good reputation for dealing with similar types of property to your own
  • Choose an agent you feel you can relate and communicate with well during the selling process. Selling your home is a large financial transaction and it can be an emotional roller coaster, so ensuring you have a great agent is essential
  • ‘Shop around’ for the best agent to get the best value for money. Consider their valuation, fees, similar properties sold in your area as well as how their current properties are marketed – how good are the photographs, floorplans and property descriptions?
  • Once the marketing of your property has begun – photographs have been captured, a listing has been completed and your home is being advertised, you should start getting some viewings from prospective buyers
  • It’s advisable not to start your own search until you’re under offer on your sale. Until this time, you’re not in an attractive position to the seller. This isn’t always the case but if you aren’t seen as an active buyer (because you’re not yet under offer) you may lose out to other buyers
  • Before you begin your property search, you should have carried out some thorough research and prepared a search brief. This will help you find a home that fulfils your requirements

The conveyancing process

To keep the conveyancing process straightforward, we’ve got a little advice: 

  • The legal conveyancing process can be as long or as short as you can agree on
  • Only after the exchange of contracts do both parties become legally obligated to a price and moving date
  • It’s possible for a seller to maintain control over this timescale
  • It’s perfectly reasonable to accept an offer on your own home from an intending purchaser while explaining you’ve not secured a forward purchase but are doing everything possible to expedite this situation
  • Issue your purchaser with a contract of sale and allow the conveyancing process to begin, but don’t exchange contracts until ready to do so on your own purchase
  • Both exchanges can then be done simultaneously which means there’s no risk of leaving yourself homeless
  • This means you’re not committed to selling until you’re committed to buying – ideally on the same day

The impact of property market fluctuations

The property market is constantly fluctuating, as every month it sees new activity. All markets fluctuate, whether you’re dealing in equities, fashion or 2 bedroom flats.

Since Brexit, there’s been an ongoing debate on the state of the property market and how it will play out. While some suggest Brexit may end up killing the property market, others are confident it could shrug off those concerns. In fact, Rightmove have found property sales in June 2017 to be up 4.6% year-on-year.

The press has a large role to play in market perception and this can be misleading for buyers and sellers. If you’re selling or buying in the current property market, speak to different estate agents to get a feel for market conditions.

It’s important to gain the views of several experts within the field – take a look at official facts and figures, recent research and results of studies/surveys. This will provide an overall view of the current state of the property market.

Is it the right time to buy?

If you’re unsure whether it’s the right time to buy or sell property, there’s no need to rush the process. Taking your time will ensure you make the best decision for you and your family. Here are a few key points to think about:

  • If you’re struggling to find the perfect home, consider renting for a while. You can live in a furnished property and rent in a location that meets your needs
  • Renting can be an effective way to trial an area you might want to live in one day
  • Renting gives you more time to plan and you’re not bound to any long-term contracts
  • You can ‘try before you buy’ and determine if the type of property you’re renting and the area is the type of home you’d like to purchase
  • Although UK rent prices have increased by 1.8% over the last year, tenants have more choice. Properties available to rent in the UK are up 7% on the previous year, that figure rises to 8% in London

The decision to sell your home should depend on your personal circumstances and whether the time is right for your requirements.

Get the location right

You may think you've found your dream home, but its important to know the facts. This is the place you’ll be living for the foreseeable future, so make sure it’s all it said to be. Phil Spencer's Property Report will detail everything you need to know about  the property and the area at the time you most need it. Get your property report here

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