Having seen the years roll in and out as a Sussex Estate agent for the past quarter of a century, I always find myself reflecting on the fortunes , good or bad, of the year in order to plan effectively for the year ahead.

2012 saw the UK at it’s best with Jubilee celebrations and the impeccably planned Olympic Games, we all felt rather proud to be British again. 

Meanwhile, the austerity measures continued and still do with the recession biting hard into businesses and households across the land with access to mortgage funds being a major issue for many buyers and sellers.

The beginning of 2012 started full of promise, with agents returning  to work ‘hitting the ground running’; but, before long a growing stalemate was formed  with many sellers keen to hear inflated prices signing up with agents who were even keener to keep property stock levels up.  Ultimately,  this approach delivered little in the way of sales.    Sellers, who were less pressed for time, opted to search for a purchase prior to committing to selling but with very little out there, there was frustration for all.  The exception perhaps, being landlords who have benefited from a stronger rental market throughout.

As  autumn has progressed into winter, we now find that there are signs of some encouraging activity. A good proportion of sellers have been taking heed of the prevailing market and economic conditions and are pitching prices accordingly, which has enabled them to agree a sale far more quickly.  This in turn has got them off the starting blocks and placed them in a stronger position to negotiate effectively on a purchase.   It’s easy really, if you want to move, get your home on the market at a realistic price and the rest of the process usually follows on a lot more easily.  If you wait until you find the ideal property, the chances are you will be disappointed and frustrated at not being able to make an offer immediately because you have to ‘fire fight’ with the mechanics of getting your own property onto the market quickly.

Interestingly, some of our own ‘winners’ this year were  a number of clients who opted to be more competitive with their pricing structures, they were often rewarded with an offer significantly above the quoted price guide, - over 10% in some instances.  This can understandably be a ‘leap of faith’ but is an excellent way to ensure that your price is moving in an upward direction rather than down.  Our continuing adoption of the American style ‘Open House’ viewings has also contributed greatly, in my view, to these successes.

 As 2013 beckons and property trading is gradually gaining momentum, the message is becoming clear. 

  • Be realistic with your asking price, buyers are more educated than ever with the tools which are available on the internet and will not even arrange to  view a property which they believe to be overpriced.
  • Ask your potential estate agent questions, signing up with the cheapest agent or one who gives the highest valuation may not achieve the best results for your particular situation.  Ask them how they set out to achieve the best price for their clients.  You can then make an informed choice and decide whether it is better perhaps to pay a slightly higher fee with a view to achieving a better selling price for your home.
  • Prepare your home for the market, an uncluttered well maintained home creates the best first impression.
  • Do check your mortgage arrangements and be clear about what you may be able to borrow as this will help you to budget correctly for your new home.
  • Make sure you have any relevant paperwork for your property. Items such as Fensa certificates for replacement double glazing, boiler servicing records, planning permissions and building regulations for any building or extension work.  This will save time and money later down the line when you have secured a sale, nobody likes unpleasant surprises!
  • If you are thinking of moving in 2013, start preparing NOW!