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News and views on the property market – 28 Nov 2008

Market Overview

The number of transactions has decreased by over 50% down compared with 12 months ago due to the combined effect of the global credit crunch, banking crisis and the impact on the mortgage market. It’s impossible to generalise on the decrease in prices and how much more they will fall by. The consensus seems to be that prices may have another 10-15% to fall in 2009, meaning a reduction in up to 30% in some areas since the peak in 2007.

As a result of difficulties experienced in selling their houses, many people have decided to let them and this increase in supply has now pushed rental prices down.

On the positive front, the recent government action with regards to interest rate cuts and the injection of capital into the banking system should mean the mortgage market will improve. Indeed, there has already been a slight increase in the number of first time buyers.  Realistically priced properties are still selling. From our personal experience, we were interested in three properties for a client which within the space of the week all received offers.

It’s obviously very much a buyers’ market at the moment  – particularly so for cash buyers who can act quickly. To get the best possible deal it’s important to understand the vendor’s position and reason for selling.

Some tips for selling your home

Now more than ever it’s vital to consider how best to go about selling your home. Here are some tips:

Think about who your home could appeal to –  Don’t  limit your market, try to broaden the appeal of your property to reach the widest possible audience. For example, if you have a 3 bedroom house that could easily be converted into 4 bedrooms, include an artists’ impression or plans if you have them.

Go with the right agent  –  Check to see if they have sold lots of property similar to yours in the area and ask how they would market your property to best effect. Don’t just go with the agent who offers the highest valuation.

First impressions count – Make sure your house is well presented and tidy. Initial impressions such as the drive and front garden should be good. Clean windows mean the rooms look brighter. De-clutter and ensure everything looks in good order.

Be realistic about pricing – Research the market and find out exactly what buyers are actually paying for property like yours and what they can buy for the price you’re asking (see Land Registry website). It’s vital in this current market to be competitive.

Be prepared –  All properties for sale now need a Home Information Pack (Hip) which include evidence of title, standard searches and an Energy Performance Certificate. These take 7-10 days to prepare.

Be flexible – Consider renting if you haven’t found somewhere suitable to buy. This puts you in a strong position when the right property does come up.

Be patient – Inevitably properties are taking longer to sell in the current climate. According to Hometrack most properties are on the market for an average of eight weeks before a buyer is found.

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