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How to sell your house in 2020 – and why you shouldn’t wait

Which? busts some common myths surrounding the property market

How to sell your house in 2020 – and why you shouldn’t wait

If you’re thinking of moving house, the 2020 property market can look like a daunting place.

A year of political chaos, thwarted Brexit dates and economic uncertainty haven’t done any favours for house prices.

However, much of the doom and gloom surrounding the property market is unwarranted, and there are still buyers out there.

In this article we look at the latest data and explain how to sell your home.

Should you sell your house this year?

Almost 15% less properties were listed for sale in November compared with the year before, according to Rightmove’s House Price Index.

Yet despite there being fewer sellers, the actual number of sales fell by just 2.9%.

Buyers have good reasons to keep on buying, as Glynis Frew, CEO of estate agent Hunters explains: ‘The market keeps on ticking over as life goes on.

‘The family market’s relatively strong performance illustrates that the process of moving house is one that transcends Brexit. People get married, have children and secure new jobs all the time. 

‘While there is little doubt that the market is facing its challenges, there is no amount of politics that can stop the desire for people to find new homes.’

What’s happening to house prices?

Realistically, prices aren’t likely to rise significantly any time soon.

While property prices shift from month to month, and differ by region and even street, the national average asking price of £232,944 in October was just 0.8% higher than the year before, according to Land Registry data.

The average property price has risen since the EU referendum, albeit modestly:

Although far from exciting, the slow growth of house prices suggests there’s little to be gained by waiting to sell.

Did you fail to sell in 2019?

Selling can be a long, drawn-out process. It took 64 days on average to secure a buyer in November, according to Rightmove, although this figure varies depending on where you live:

However, if you’ve been trying to sell for much longer, there may be something wrong.

Your asking price could simply be too high, which is why valuations matter so much, or your property may not be well advertised, with bad pictures and no mention of key features, or missing from online property portals, such as Rightmove and Zoopla. 

Talk to your estate agent about how they’re marketing the property and whether it has any specific characteristics that’ll make it difficult to sell.

You can find more typical selling problems and solutions in our guide.

But what about Brexit?

The prospect of leaving the EU and the political turmoil surrounding has cast a shadow over the housing market.

However, we may be overestimating its effect.

A survey of over 2,000 people by property-buying firm Good Move found that three quarters of Brits overestimate the impact that Brexit has actually had on house prices.

Many of the increases and decreases in house prices and sales volumes associated with Brexit have in fact been caused by seasonal variations.

In general, the advice from the experts is to not rush into a decision, whether it be moving or locking into a long-term fixed-rate mortgage.

Tips for selling your home in 2020

  1. Be strategic on your asking price

Spend time researching how much your house is worth based on recent market activity in your area, and invite three local estate agents round to value your property.

Try not to set an asking price just above a major threshold, ie £505,000, as buyers may use these thresholds as their upper limit when searching for properties online.

  1. Show your home at its best

It might sound obvious, but simple measures like tidying up and mowing the lawn can make a huge difference to your property’s appeal. First impressions really do count, especially when people are browsing listings online.

It could also be worth considering more extensive jobs like repainting your kitchen (far cheaper than replacing it).

  1. Get your documents in order

It usually takes eight to 12 weeks between an offer being accepted and exchange, so don’t give buyers any reason to pull out.

Find a conveyancer who’s not too busy and be clear about your expectations. Be prepared to answer the buyer’s questions honestly.

  1. No luck? Reassess

If your home isn’t getting any offers, talk to your agent about what they think has gone wrong. You may need to lower your price, use a different photo for the online listing’s main image, take your home off the market or even switch estate agent.

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