House buying and selling: fence-sitting and the deals passing you by

26 Nov 2013

There will always be those people who need to buy and sell houses. For example job relocation, retirement/downsizing, death, and divorce. But for those who do not have to move, many will fence-sit, many have been fence-sitting, and yet deals have been passing by – even during the last 5 years’ downturn in the market – in their tens of thousands despite the media doom and gloom stories. Monthly mortgage approvals bear witness to this fact.

Fence-sitting can of course have its place. Job security, certainly in the last five years has been a major factor. Redundancies have not escaped even the most high profile high street retail employees. From large to small companies, the risk has remained for many of us, even those within the home moving process itself (i.e estate agents, mortgage advisers, surveyors, and conveyancers).

As a result, employees have stayed put, as have those who actually had no reason to sell or buy, many watching as house prices fell only to conclude “I’ll wait for house prices to go back up as I bought at the 2007 peak and that is the price I want to sell for.”

However, positive media coverage alone has improved dramatically over the last 8 months, Government initiatives such as the Help to Buy scheme are being lauded as a success, and many estate agents and conveyancing firms are reporting record numbers of transactions.

Part of the recent downturn in the property market has been the perceived dip in house prices and the feeling that “well I paid £xk for my house, so I want back the same when I sell or I will stay put”. Even “But I need to sell for the same I bought for, as I am buying onwards”. Or still further “I will wait for house prices to fall even further before I buy. Get the house at it’s lowest price”. Though of course the latter attitude can mean you miss out on a property by waiting too long, as prices never bottom out on a set date, and the lower they go, the more competition you will then face for that same property.

However, many estate agents would agree that actually, taking less for your house is relative when buying onwards. If you take a reduction in price in your property, you will do the same on your own purchase. Indeed, and not a lot of people realise this, or make use of it, but your own estate agent can help you negotiate a price on your onward attempt at purchase.

Home movers have realised the fallacy in certain stances which have kept them on the  fence while deals have been concluded. Visit an estate agent, talk with them about your circumstances, as many dynamic estate agents are able to offer practical advice both to buyer and seller. Deals at great prices, sales at best prices – both are being achieved in the market right now. You’ll be surprised.