Nick Churton of Mayfair Office considers the best moves a seller can make in the current market, in light of the recent reports from institutions such as the RICS.
"It was all going very nicely really. Contrary to expectations, the property market throughout last year and over the first half of this year was rather good. The reasons for this are now clear to everyone. Low numbers of available property and keen cash buyers made for an active sellers’ market.
But all that has now changed. The end of Home Information Packs ushered in a large number of speculative sellers, encouraged by the promise of a demand-led surge in house prices. Also those fortunate to be cash buyers or those only needing very low mortgages were never going to be an endless resource.
The result is a market loaded with property. Added to which dwindling numbers of non-cash buyers, many hampered by lenders’ very harsh lending criteria, have become increasingly concerned by reports of austerity, public sector lay-offs and the spectre of rising interest rates.
This may seem gloomy but forewarned is forearmed, and those that react quickly to the market will be the winners. So what is a seller, who was expecting a quick sale at a full price, to do with this rather sudden reversal of fortune?
Two speedy actions are important to help along a move before the New Year. The first is pricing. It is now essential to price for viewers. Viewers mean buyers. No viewers means no buyers. An unrealistic price will put off viewers. Do not price for a miracle buyer – that is so last year! Forget the practice of pricing above your reasonable expectations because “people will make a lower offer if they are interested” - not if they haven’t viewed they won’t!
Second, to ensure that a property is the pick of the bunch it must look the best it ever has. Cleaning and de-cluttering should be carried out as though a sale depends on it – because it does. Both these actions are easy and cost free. Decorating and refitting a dated kitchen and/or a bathroom to attract a buyer is more serious but in the right circumstances can win a buyer and even return a profit.
Please ask your local Mayfair Office member if you feel you would like fresh selling advice. Getting these issues right now will save a great deal of time and money later. If prices remain stable then the best-presented properties will sell first. If prices are going into another period of correction then the clock is ticking.
Either way we urge sellers to take some affirmative action today."