Find out why it's important to have the motivation to move and why putting your home up for sale at the right time of year is crucial.
It’s a confusing time to sell a house right now, isn’t it? With so many apparently contradictory headlines telling us that prices are rising or falling, that now is the right time to sell or to stay, how can we make an informed decision that we won’t regret in the future?
The first question to consider is your motivation for moving. In my experience, in order to sell your home effectively – that is, for the best price and in the right timescale for you – there really needs to be a ‘push’ and a ‘pull’ of a property sale. In other words, a strong reason for leaving, and an equally compelling motive in the new property.
It could be that you’re living in too large a home for you, and so the ‘push’ is perhaps the amount of maintenance and cost that your current house brings.
Your ‘pull’ is maybe the allure of a smaller home, with less maintenance worries and more money in the bank.
Another scenario could be that you live some distance from your job, or your family, and a motivation for moving might be to regain the cost and time in travel by living closer.
Whatever your ‘push’ and ‘pull’, experience has taught me that you really need both for a successful move. Which brings us to the next question – when is the best time to put your house on the market?
It’s not healthy for your eventual sale price, or for your emotional wellbeing, to have a property languishing on the market for months. Some of our HomeTruths’ clients have been trying to sell their homes for several years, and it can be very demoralising and disheartening indeed.
The time of year you put your house on the market needs to be thought out carefully, as it can be a factor in how quickly you will sell it. While your estate agent may well be chomping at the bit, trying to persuade you to get your sale board erected without delay, it may be wise to plan for the best time to sell, for your buyers.
Different types of buyers like to move at different times of the year, according to their own needs.
Who buys when?
Young couples and singles: First time buyers often begin their first home search very early in the year. Perhaps they have spent one Christmas too many at home with their relatives, and realised it’s time to move out. Their search often starts in earnest in January and February, and their purchases at the lower end of the market – apartments and terraced homes – then supports the second and third time buyer market – semi-detached and detached homes. This, in turn, supports the larger properties, and so the cycle goes on. One thing to remember about young couples and singles, is that they tend to look at lots of different properties, and as they are not in a hurry, their search can go on for months, and even years. So be patient with them, and let them take their time to make up their minds.
Families: Family buyers tend to buy at three distinct times of year: autumn, spring and early summer. Do you recognise the significance of these times? They are term times. Buyers with children don’t usually like to house hunt during the holidays. First, they have better things to do, perhaps going on holiday, and second, it’s a whole lot more stressful viewing a home when you have a bored and whiny child to contend with. Mums and Dads tend to wait until the children are in school, so they can view the house in peace.
Downsizers: Older couples and singles usually prefer to look at homes during the warmer months, so bungalows and retirement homes will often languish on the market over the winter months. Older people don’t want to venture out to look at homes in the rain and snow, and nor do they want to move house in the winter time. For them, summer is the ideal time to sell, and to buy, and this type of buyer tends to look at fewer properties, and make their minds up more quickly.
If you know who you’re most likely to sell your house to, you can plan. Think about when you bought your home, to see you can deduce any clues about when you should re-sell. Remember that the less time your home is on the market, the closer to your asking price you are statistically likely to get, so plan for a quick sale.
Sam Ashdown runs the UK’s largest website dedicated purely to property sellers. She has been featured in the Sunday Times, Bricks and Mortar, The Telegraph, House Beautiful and has also appeared on Homes Under the Hammer and on BBC local radio. For more house selling advice, check out Sam’s Selling Secrets at www.home-truths.co.uk/selling-secrets.
Some information contained herein may have changed since it was first published. PrimeLocation strongly advises you to seek current legal and/or financial advice from a qualified professional.