Fri 20 Jul 2018 View all news articles
As we head towards the summer break with school holidays just around the corner, it’s tempting for many would-be vendors to think that it may be better to hold off and list their home for sale in September, fearing that the next eight weeks or so will see a lull in the market. But did you know that July and August are amongst the busier months of the year for sales to be agreed?
The truth is that in many areas of the UK, the ‘summer silly season’ doesn’t actually exist, with virtually the same number of sales agreed as other periods in the year. And this isn’t just hyperbole, we can actually see from official data, such as HMRC, how many completed transactions there are each month.
Bearing in mind then, that the average transaction time from when the property is first advertised to the day the sale completes stands at approximately sixteen weeks, we can review completed sales figures in October and November to provide empirical evidence of how busy the market was in July and August.
In other words, if there was an annual dip in the fourth quarter in the year in terms of the number of completed property transactions, it would stand to reason that things were slow over the preceding summer.
However, looking back over the last three years, that’s not been the case at all, with completed transaction levels in October and November consistently as high, if not higher, than other points of the year.
As Jeremy Leaf, former RICS Residential Chairman observed: “The best time of year for selling houses and flats is usually when the weather improves. Well-tended gardens can almost count as an extra room so not only make a property look more welcoming but can have a significant influence on buyers.”
But what about inside your home? What can you do to make it more welcoming to buyers if you’re selling over the summer?
Russell Quirk, CEO of online estate agency Emoov suggested: “Particularly in the current warmer weather it helps to ensure your house is as cool as possible.
“The last thing you want is those viewing to rush around to escape the sauna-like conditions and not take the time to properly consider your property.”
Of course, if you’re selling at any time of the year, the usual rules apply. Many potential buyers will do a drive-by of a property before their booked viewing, and if they don’t like what they see from the outside, they simply won’t bother to take a proper look inside. That’s why the industry term ‘kerb appeal’ is so important.
That’s why it’s so important to make sure that the front of your home works like a tempting shop-window for the rest of the property, and little things such as keeping your front garden tidy, as well as popping wheelie-bins out of sight for the time that you’re marketing your home to sell, really do make a big difference.
When it comes to the interior of your property, Jeremy Leaf advised: “Remember the basics – clean windows, curtains, floor coverings, oven, hob, kitchen cupboards and bathrooms. Replace dead light bulbs, arrange rooms to their best advantage and declutter ruthlessly putting surplus contents in a loft, shed or even your car.”
However, whilst it’s tempting to think that you need to spend a fortune redecorating your property before you sell it, Jeremy takes a slightly different view, and said: “Should you paint the front door, window frames and unusually decorated rooms or replace kitchen, bathroom and light fittings?
“Good agents with suitable knowledge and experience can advise where money needs to be spent and where to save it before going on the market.”
Regardless of your décor, light in a property is a very appealing factor, therefore it’s always important to make sure that any window treatments such as blinds or curtains don’t block out the sunshine.
Another top tip for summer viewings is to ensure your property is well aired prior to the viewing to ensure it’s not stuffy or musty, so get those windows open to let the lovely fresh summer breeze in.
On a similar note, if you have patio doors, make sure that as well as being sparkling clean, you leave them unlocked or give the estate agent the key – if you’re absenting yourself for the viewing – or opening them if you’ll be at home so that potential buyers can see how they tie inside and outside space together to create an exterior living zone.
Once your property is prepped for buyers, what else can you do to help your sale swim through quickly over the summer months? Another thing that savvy sellers realise is that if they want a transaction to conclude quickly, it helps to have your paperwork ready to go before you receive an offer.
This means selecting your solicitor or conveyancer at the same time you choose your estate agent and asking them to start work on your Sales Pack as soon as possible.
As Brian Murphy, Head of Lending for Mortgage Advice Bureau explained: “It can take around a month to prepare the sales pack for a freehold property, longer even for a leasehold property, so it pays to get started on this as soon as you possibly can.
“That way, your solicitor or conveyancer can get the necessary paperwork to your buyer’s lawyers very quickly once a sale price is agreed. If you only start on the sales pack once you’ve found a buyer, you’ve already built a four to six-week delay into the process before you’ve even started.”
So, rather than being put off by the thought of hot weather and holidays, if you are thinking about moving, embrace the summer and get your home on the market.
Estate agents often say ‘sunshine sells houses’, and this year is no exception, even if conditions are a little tougher than normal in some parts of the country.
As Jeremy Leaf summarised: “Most buying decisions are made within a few minutes of arrival and it’s well known you never get a second chance to make a first impression.
“Better presented homes tend to sell quicker and for a higher price - irrespective of market conditions and Brexit uncertainty.”
Are you thinking of seeling? To arrange a free market valuation, simply click here.
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