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How to sell your home during a property slump

By Simon Nosworthy, head of residential conveyancing at Osbornes Law

Selling your home in a property slump is never easy but a property expert has come up with ten top tips on how to beat the trend and sell your house.

Demand in the UK housing market fell at the fastest pace since the start of the pandemic in October and registered one of the largest drops in more than 20 years as mortgage rates surged, according to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

But Simon Nosworthy, head of residential conveyancing at Osbornes Law, says selling your home can be made a lot easier if you follow a few simple tips.

Simon said: “There is no doubt that the property market is taking a downturn because of recent economic problems but that doesn’t mean selling your property isn’t impossible. You just need to do the right things to make a property sale happen.”

Simon said the biggest issue for sellers is pricing themselves out of the market by asking too much for their home.

He said: “When you are having your property valued have several valuations done and don’t necessarily go for the highest. Go to a number of agents and seek opinions on price. The most common thing I am seeing is sellers thinking they can get the same price they could have six months ago. You can’t and if you put your property on too high then you won’t sell.

“Secondly, if your property needs some renovation don’t just reduce the cost a little. The cost of building materials has soared by 24% in the past year making any renovations a lot more expensive. It used to be okay to reduce the asking price of an ‘adding value’ property by a few thousand but this isn’t enough anymore.”

Simon says that it is now a buyer’s market so sellers should expect to have to drop the price.

He said: “Gazundering, or buyers trying to get money off at the last minute, is very common now and is happening in over half of all property sales. As hard as it may be, my third tip is that sellers should go into the process expecting their buyer to ask for money off at some point before exchange.

“Tip four is try to be as accommodating as possible. It may be tempting to refuse a buyer’s request for you to pay for things like indemnity policies for building works carried out, but you may lose your buyer for the sake of a few hundred pounds if you don’t.”

The state of your property and where it is marketed are crucial.

“It may sound obvious but make your property look the best that it can,” Simon said. “Declutter and decorate to create the best impression. Sometimes the little things can make a difference.

“Tip six is make sure your property is listed on at least one of the major sites like Rightmove or OnTheMarket as they have a much wider reach than individual estate agents.”

Simon added: “Make sure you have all of the title deeds in order and ensure you have the original paper deeds. All too often in the digital age original documents are misplaced and this can hold up a sale. Check if your titles are not with a firm of solicitors that you have used in the past or still with mortgage lenders when you have paid off the money that they lent you. These title deeds could contain plans and deeds that are useful for the sale. They may contain planning permissions that are still needed now as evidence of consent for alterations to your property.

“Also arrange for your gas and electrics to be inspected by the relevant tradespeople. This is something that buyers are increasingly asking for as any survey report that they obtain on the property will not cover this. Having these inspected offers buyers additional peace of mind.

“Think about completing the protocol forms which are the property information form and fittings and contents form as soon as possible once you have started to market the property. This is so they are ready to send out once a buyer has been found and can speed up the process. You will be able to obtain these from your solicitor.

“Finally, if you are selling a leasehold property apply for a management pack, which includes information about ground rent, service charges and major works, as soon as your property goes under offer, as this can normally take two to three weeks to arrive from the managing agent.

“While selling a property in the current market is difficult it’s not impossible if you are realistic with the value of your home, are accommodating to a potential seller and follow the rest of my tips.”