Selling a house to relocate?
Planning a relocation and need to sell your house fast? Whether you’re relocating due to a new job or just moving to a new area within the UK, there are lots of things to consider
The prospect of relocating can be an exciting one, but it can also leave homeowners in a quandary about what to do with their property.
Some may see keeping the property and letting it out as a simple solution. For others, selling a home and releasing the 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, you may be concerned about how long it will take. Finding the time to market your property, find a buyer and complete on the transaction, all while trying to plan the logistics of your upcoming relocation, 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 pressure to relocate to a new area, selling your home on the open market offers little certainty. 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.
It is normal to worry about what will happen if your house isn’t selling, especially if you are working to a tight deadline. If you find yourself in that situation, it may be time to consider your other options for a quick house sale.
Increase your chances of a quick house sale when relocating
It’s important to make sure your property is in a saleable condition before putting it on the market. Any obvious structural or cosmetic issues will need to be rectified to improve your chances of selling your home quickly.
It could be that all your property needs is a fresh coat of paint, but you should also consider a spring clean and declutter. Moving is a great chance to have a good clear out and sell any unwanted items. It could also help you achieve a quicker house sale, as less cluttered properties are generally more appealing to potential buyers.
Steps to take when selling a house to relocate
There are several ways to sell a property quickly. Some choose the traditional estate agency route, while others who are pressed for time will try to sell their properties at auction. Many will choose a quick and guaranteed house sale from a cash home buying company.
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 and slow house sale.
Your estate agent should also be able to help you price your property fairly. If you are in a hurry to sell and don’t mind accepting a slightly lower offer, pricing it below market value can help attract buyers.
If you choose to list your property below market value, you must be aware that ‘cheaper’ properties available on online portals can put off prospective buyers. They may be concerned that the lower price indicates a flaw. To avoid this misunderstanding amongst potential buyers, it can be useful to include information about your relocation and need for a quick sale within the listing.
It is also important to note that listing your property below market value can 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.
Historical sales and marketing information for properties is readily available online. An auction house or a cash home buyer will look at your property listing history and make a reserve or a cash offer using your previous asking price as their starting point. Remember, you can always reduce your asking price or accept a lower offer, but you can’t increase your asking price once the property is listed!
House not selling on the open market – what to do?
Unfortunately, just because you are in a hurry to sell your house, does not mean you’ll be able to achieve a quick sale.
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 issues are within your control, while others are less so.
The property is priced incorrectly
Price it too high and buyers may not even contemplate your home for a viewing. Price it too low and buyers may assume something is wrong with the property. A common misconception is that you need an estate agent to value your property. In fact, with the right tools, homeowners are more than equipped to value their own properties before bringing it 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:
- Supply and demand
- Seasonality issues – when is the best time to sell a house
- Housing affordability
- Changes to lending criteria
- External political or economic factors
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. This can lead to difficulty securing a sale, and a greater risk of the sales that are agreed, falling through before completion.
The house isn’t saleable
Is the property really ready for market? If you are in a hurry to sell, it could be tempting to cover up any issues and sell it as it is. This is probably a mistake. Seasoned buyers are likely to notice problems during a viewing, and even if they don’t, surveyors will uncover any issues during a home inspection. Trying to hide any required work may significantly increase the chances of your sale falling through at the point of the survey. If you do need to undertake work on your property in order to make it saleable, it’s probably 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 for your next move.
There are a few things you can do 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, you can simply postpone the sale until the market conditions have improved.
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 to approach a house buying company to see how much they would offer. Home buying companies will always offer below market value, but in return, you 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.
You should also consider the 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 agent 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 a relocation
Another option you may consider is holding onto your home and selling after you have moved. This largely depends on your financial circumstances and whether you can afford to purchase or rent a new property while keeping your current home. This may be the case if you are relocating for work and your company is covering the cost of your living accommodation.
How can I gauge how quickly my property will sell?
Unfortunately, there is no major formula to establish how long it will take 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 achieved 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 competing against.