Selling a house to relocate?

Planning to relocate and need to sell your house? Whether you’re relocating due to a new job or just moving to a new area within the UK, there’s lots to consider

Whether it be voluntary or a move to pursue a new job, selling a house and relocating can be an exciting opportunity.

However, relocating can leave homeowners in a quandary about what to do with their property. For some, retaining the property and letting it out is a simple solution. For others, selling a home and releasing any money tied up to use towards the move and/or a new home at the other end is vital.

I need to relocate and my house won’t sell – what do I do?

If you need to sell a property in order to relocate, finding the resources and time needed to market your property, find a buyer and complete on the transaction, all while trying to plan the logistics of your upcoming house move, can be incredibly stressful.

Even with the smoothest of house sales, the average time to sell a house on the UK’s open property market is 295 days. If you are under time pressures to relocate to a new area, selling your home using this method will add to your stress. If you aren’t successful in finding a buyer in the timescales you are working to, your opportunity to move could be put in jeopardy altogether.

It is normal to worry about what happens if you are unable to sell your home, especially if you are working to tight relocation deadlines, but there are always alternative options available to achieve a quick house sale.

Increase your chances of a quick house sale when relocating

If you are firm in your decision about selling a house to move abroad or to relocate elsewhere in the UK, it’s advisable to make sure your property is in a saleable condition before taking to market. Any obvious structural and cosmetic issues will need to be rectified to improve your chances of selling your home quickly.
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It could be that all that is needed is a fresh coat of paint or a spring clean to get rid of clutter. It’s not until you move house that you realise how much clutter you’ve accumulated, so moving is a great chance to have a good clear out, selling unwanted items (or placing in storage), and beginning the process of packing up altogether; this can help you to achieve a quicker house sale too, as the less cluttered your house the more appealing it will be to potential buyers.

Steps to take when selling a house to relocate

There are many ways to sell a property. Some choose the traditional estate agency route, while others who are pressed for time opt to sell their properties fast through auctions houses or cash home buying companies to ensure a fast house sale is achieved.

You’ll need to research your options and decide which is the right house sale method for your situation, making sure you take into account your available time, financial situation and moving date deadlines.

For those who decide to sell their homes through traditional methods; choosing the right estate agents could be the difference between a quick or a slow house sale. Don’t forget it is possible to negotiate with an estate agent to ensure you get the terms you want and need.

Your estate agent should also be able to help you price your property at fair market value. If you are in a hurry to sell and don’t mind accepting a slightly lower offer, pricing it below market value in a bid for a quick house sale can help attract buyers. If you do choose to list your property below market value, you must be aware that ‘cheaper’ properties available on online portals can put off prospective buyers, as lower priced properties can indicate a flaw. To avoid this misunderstanding amongst buyers, include the reason behind your quick sale within the listing.

Listing your property below market value can also hinder your chances of selling via an auction house or directly to a cash home buyer if you don’t successfully sell your home on the open market. Nowadays, we live in a digital world, therefore all historical sales information on your property is available for everyone to see. An auction house or a cash home buyer, would look at your property listing history and make a reserve or a cash offer from that point. Remember, you can always accept less, but you can’t ask for more once the price is listed!

House not selling on the open market – what to do?

Unfortunately, just because you are in a hurry to sell your house, that doesn’t necessarily mean people will be lining up to buy.

Reasons your home isn’t selling on the open market
There can be a number of reasons why your home isn’t attracting attention from potential buyers, some of which are within your control, while others are less so:

  • The property is priced incorrectly
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    Price it too high and buyers may not even contemplate your home for a viewing. If the property is vastly below market expectations, buyers may assume something is wrong with the property.A common misconception is that you need an estate agent to value your property, in actual fact, with the right tools, home owners are more than equip to value their own properties before bringing to market.
  • The market is slow
    If you are trying to sell in a buyer’s market, you could encounter difficulty. There are a number of reasons the property market can slow down, most of which are beyond the controls of both the sellers and buyers:

  • The economy is in crisis
    In times of economic and/or political uncertainty, it’s not unusual for the housing market to grind to a halt while people await the outcome. If you are trying to sell around the time of an election or referendum, or during a period of economic decline, you may struggle to find buyers who are willing to commit, which can lead to sales falling through and a huge amount of stress being incurred.
  • The house isn’t saleable
    Is the property really ready for market? If you are in a hurry to sell to pursue your new life in your new location, it could be tempting to cover up issues and present it as is. However, seasoned buyers will notice problems during a viewing, while surveyors may uncover issues during a home inspection that can cause a sale to fall through. If you do need to undertake work on your property in order to make it saleable, it might be worth doing so.

How to get rid of a house that won’t sell

Not being able to sell your home can be an incredibly upsetting and frustrating scenario, especially if you are dependent on the profits from your house sale to fulfil your next move.

There are a few things you can do in if your house isn’t selling on the open market:

Wait to sell

If you are financially able to buy or rent your next home without relying on the sale of your current property to do so, then you can simply postpone the sale until the market conditions have improved. Houses left vacant are often be at risk of squatters, arson and vandalism. There are a number of steps you can make to reduce this risk.

Sell to a cash home buyer

A genuine cash home buyer will have funds readily available to directly purchase your property. If you aren’t having luck on the open market you may wish you approach a house buying company to see how much they would offer. Home buying companies will always offer below market value, but in return to get a guaranteed, fast house sale. For some this compromise is worth making! If you decide to sell your house via this route, it’s important to make sure you are dealing with a genuine cash buyer and not a broker, who will just sell your details on or tie you into a contract.

Sell a property at auction

If you’re looking for a quick house sale and you have been unlucky on the open market, selling a property at auction might seem like the next obvious choice. However, selling your property at auction gives you no more guarantees of achieving a sale than on the open market. There are fees associated with selling a house at auction. Typically, you can expect to pay the auction house around 1.5-2.5% commission on a successful house sale, which is similar to the percentages an estate agents would charge. Additionally, you have to pay a flat administration fee to put your property to auction. This fee covers advertising costs to entice people to the auction. It is important to be aware that you will be expected to pay an administrative charge to the auction company whether your property sells or not!

Should I sell my house after relocating

Another option you may consider is holding onto your home, and selling after you have moved. This largely depends on your financial circumstances, if you can afford to purchase or rent in your new home while keeping your current home. This can often be the case if you are relocating for work and your company is covering the cost of your living accommodation.

Should I sell my house before or after I leave?

This ultimately depends on your own personal circumstances, along with how comfortable you are with risk.

How can I gauge how quickly my property will sell?

Unfortunately, there is no major formula to establish how long it will take you to sell your property on the open market. However, you can make an educated guess based on the information freely available with property portals like Rightmove and Zoopla. Using these resources, you can check what has sold in your local area, what prices have been achieve and how long they have spent on the market. Also have a look at similar properties on the market, this will give you an indication of what you are completing against.