Selling advice

GOING NOWHERE: IS YOUR ASKING PRICE OR ESTATE AGENT HOLDING UP YOUR SALE?

If your home has been on the market for a while, something probably needs to change to get your move underway.

The latest government figures show the market performing at about 80% of last year, with transactions in September 2023 around 18% down from September 2022.

So, given that buyers are still buying, why are so many homes not selling? Are the owners getting in their own way of moving, or could they be receiving the wrong advice?

Well, there’s no single answer, but some of the obstacles could be overcome by exploring questions like:

  • What’s really happening with house prices?
  • Could your mindset be blocking your move?
  • Why don’t buyers just make a lower offer?
  • Will waiting cost you more to trade up?
  • Is your agent in the way of you finding a buyer?

That’s quite a lot to unpack, so let’s take a look at why your home might not be getting enough interest, viewings or offers to see if there’s a path to a sale.

WHAT’S REALLY HAPPENING WITH HOUSE PRICES?

It can be difficult to get a clear picture of house prices right now with conflicting stories and a lack of valuable evidence, but here’s a snapshot of the current picture.

  • Nationwide and Halifax have reported annual price falls between 3 and 5% since late 2022, and Zoopla puts growth at -1.1% over the last year. A drop, but not a collapse.
  • However, the trouble with national statistics is that they are meaningless at a local level – even sentiment among buyers varies widely across the country.
  • HM Land Registry is lagging severely behind with publishing sale prices, so it’s quite possible that the real fall in values isn’t yet in the public domain.

Just like everywhere else, property prices in Stourbridge and nearby are affected differently around the neighbourhood, so get in touch if you’d like to know the latest on your road.

IS YOUR MINDSET BLOCKING YOUR MOVE?

Almost nobody sells their home simply because prices are rising, but if they allow a disappointing valuation to overshadow their plans, they may decide to stay put.

That’s a shame, because major life changes around work, relationships and retirement have far more profound and long-lasting effects on happiness than a sale price.

So here are some things to consider when reviewing your next steps:

  • It’s not necessarily true that no buyer will ever pay your asking price – most are more concerned with getting a home they love than getting a bargain.
  • Your asking price is purely to ignite interest, but it can be under, over or the same as the price you expect to get, depending on the best strategy for your home and timescale.
  • If you’re downsizing, remember that while the gap between your selling and buying price might be a bit less than a year ago, it’s been increasing year on year for some time.

For us, we see it as our duty to be totally upfront around important issues like accurate pricing because we want to help you start enjoying the next chapter of your life as soon as possible.

WHY DON’T BUYERS JUST MAKE A LOWER OFFER? 

Something that often comes up from homeowners during a review of their asking price is: “Why don’t people just make a lower offer?” 

It’s a fair enough thing to ask, so let’s look at why that rarely happens.

  • Given that almost every property search starts online, buyers only see homes in the price ranges they select on the property portals to match their budget.
  • If an asking price is 20-25% too much, which some are, the right buyer will never see that listing or know about the owner’s willingness to negotiate.
  • Aside from investors, most buyers aren’t that cheeky and don’t want to appear rude, so they don’t tend to search more than 10% above their budget.

In the most basic terms, a home that’s on the market for a price that’s too high will only be seen by people who expect more for their money, and not by those who would buy it.

WILL WAITING COST YOU MORE TO TRADE UP?

Nobody likes selling their home for less than they’d hoped, but what they often miss is that trading up costs more when prices are rising fast.

And given that most people sell up to buy a more expensive place for reasons like more space, a bigger garden or a location upgrade, it makes sense to do it when prices cool down.

With that in mind, here are some things to consider:

  • Locations or homes that were previously out of your budget could now be within it, meaning you can buy a bigger or better property than you may have thought.
  • If you’re selling at £400k and buying at £600k, a price fall of 10% reduces your sale price by £40k, but your purchase price by £60k, putting £20k more in your pocket.
  • That’s an extra pot of money to slash your stamp duty bill, buy some fabulous furniture, or invest in luxury upgrades.

So, from a purely financial stance (and even forgetting the lifestyle improvements), you’re generally better off upsizing during a price correction – which is good news for most sellers.

IS YOUR AGENT IN THE WAY?

It’s normal to think that when a property isn’t selling, the price must be too high. That could be true, but it isn’t always the case, and other factors could be the problem.

  • Does your price simply need an upward tweak to straddle two price bands on the property portals, like adding £5 to £599,995 to capture “up to” and “from” £600,000?
  • Is there scope for improvement in your photos, description and presentation? Wonky or dark images, lacklustre text and cluttered rooms will never do justice to your home.
  • Is your agent out of ideas or losing their enthusiasm? It can happen after a while, so have an open conversation to see if you want to stay or if it’s time to move on.

Even during the 2020-2022 boom, some homes didn’t sell with the first agent, so a fresh start with a new team could be just the jump start you need.

Is it time to review your selling strategy?

Feeling stuck on the market is frustrating, so perhaps it’s time to explore whether property prices in Stourbridge and nearby have changed, or if something else is stopping you from selling. 

Call us on 01384 958811 or email us at jayson.maver@fineandcountry.com for a chat about your plans – we’d love to help you get back on track.

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