It has been a hot and sticky summer unless you are an estate agent.
For us the summer has been hot but it’s rarely been sticky where property sales are concerned.
True, there are some homes with specialised appeal that take longer to sell but in general it has been a case of properties finding buyers faster than we can find properties to sell.
It’s an apparently very healthy state to be in but appearances can be deceptive.
Nothing drives prices upward faster than a lack of supply. In the case of houses that means that as we approach autumn people who are still fired up to move will be competing over the few genuinely appealing houses fresh in the market and if anything risks causing a property price bubble it’s this overheated enthusiasm.
Home ownership is a very British aspiration but it’s wrong to regard your home as an investment first and place to live second unless you are one of those individuals with the skills to buy rundown properties, live in them while you modernise, and then sell to realise a profit and move on to the next project.
For most of us the priority has to be the roof over our heads. So short term meteoric rises in home values are not in our interest. The trouble is that over the last 20 to 30 years homeowners have become used to watching the market and expecting their house to maybe earn them £10,000 to £15,000 a year as its value rises.
It’s unearned profit and a situation that can’t continue. Money is finite and, in terms of property buying, restricted in supply by lenders who these days are increasingly wary of funding purchases at inflated prices. Buyers new to the market have to rely on existing earnings to fund their purchase and can’t draw on the cash pot many existing owners have amassed.
So as autumn approaches, and with it the traditional renewed activity in the market, should you hang onto your house waiting for the price to rise or should you sell and move on?
My advice is to get your house on the market while lenders are still enthusiastic and interest rates low, factors that affect your next purchase as much as they affect whoever may buy your property.
An overheating market is in nobody’s interests because it causes unrealistic and unaffordable price spikes and will prompt monetary control from the Bank of England.
If you are serious about moving, I suggest you put your home on the market. At the right price for its location and condition it will attract a buyer who is able to proceed. You then have the ability to get out there in a strong position when it comes to finding your next home.
If everyone waits to sell, nobody gets to buy. That includes current owners. Holding back on your sale in this tight market means that by the time you have found a buyer the house on which you made an offer has been snatched away by someone else who had the forethought to sell first.
Which comes first, the selling or the buying? Neither. It needs to be simultaneous but the process has to start with you being ready to move. Other sellers then take you seriously when you make an offer and you are on your way.
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