Spring into action if you’re looking to move house this summer
Summer is typically the most popular season to move house[i] but given the average house move takes months to complete, if you’re hoping to sell, or buy a property in the coming months there’s no time like the present to get the process started.
Charles Mungroo, senior mortgage manager at Yorkshire Building Society, said:
We often see borrowers start the mortgage application process in the spring as people look to finalise their plans and prepare for the remainder of the year – be that wanting to have somewhere with a bigger garden for summer, or being in the right area for schools in September.
For sellers, now can be considered a good time to prepare your house for market and sell-it in the best spring light, meaning for buyers, it can typically be a time when more houses come to the market and potentially offer more choice.
Buying your first home, selling or moving is rarely a speedy process so it helps to plan ahead where possible. Give thought to what you might need to do to your house, or if you’re buying, check with a lender in advance what you can realistically afford to borrow to fund your new home.
Yorkshire Building Society offers tips to help buyers and sellers this spring.
Tips for selling your house
- Give a spacious impression – Put large items of furniture in storage for viewings, or simply re-position what you’ve got to open an area up. For example, create a clear passage from a front door through a living room in a house that doesn’t have a hallway.
- Can you smell success? – It’s an age-old trick, but a nice-smelling home is a welcoming home. It doesn’t mean constantly baking ahead of viewings, even vacuuming, using furniture polish and airing a room can make it smell fresher. Also, ask a friend whether your plug-in air fresheners are overpowering - there’s every chance you’ve just got used to it.
- Light up – You wouldn’t look at yourself in a harshly-lit mirror, so avoid letting people see your home in the same light. Cover bare overhead lightbulbs with shades and use softer bulbs in table and floor lamps to help your room feel warm and inviting.
- Tidy up – An obvious one for many, but double check your cushions, rugs and pictures are straight, put dry dishes away and remove washing from airers and radiators.
- Empathise with your buyer – Just because your home may not be right for you anymore, others may have a different purpose. For example, you may have had children since buying your home but your potential buyers may not. Consider the house they’d like to see and temporarily tidy away any toys to appeal to a wider audience.
- Don’t ignore DIY – Anything unfinished may put potential buyers off. Things you can do now is one less thing the buyer will need to do, which could go in your favour w hen it comes to them making an offer.
- Don’t over-promise and under-deliver - Some estate agents love using a wide-angle lens to make rooms look larger on photos. That may get you more viewings, but as soon as a potential buyer enters your home, their first reaction may be one of disappointment.
- Prepare to answer difficult questions - If there’s something unusual about your home that you know may prompt questions, make sure you (or the estate agent) have an answer ready to hand. Be upfront with any potential buyers, and it’s less likely to lead to problems later on.
- Who is doing the viewings? - Estate agents often show people round your home but if you’re confident why not handle them yourself? Buyers often appreciate meeting the seller, and getting a feel for how easy they may be to interact with during the sale process. Remember, if you’ve loved living in your home, you’re probably better placed to get that enthusiasm across to the buyer than an estate agent.
- Don’t be shy with your agents - You’re the customer. Take advice, but don’t forget that it’s ultimately your decision how best to market your home. For example, if they send a set of photos back that don’t show your home off to its full potential, you’re well within your rights to ask for another set to be taken.
Tips for viewing a house
- Work out your limits – Speak to a lender about how much you can afford to borrow and then only look at houses within your price range. There’s no point viewing a house you love if you can’t afford it.
- What’s that noise? – Check a local map to see what’s near the property you’re viewing so you have an idea before you get there. Then when you’re there listen out for noisy neighbours, potential flightpaths or busy roads.
- Find out important dates – Boilers usually need replacing every 15 years or so, wiring every 25 years and roofs when they get past repair. Find out when they were last replaced in case you need to factor it into your costings, and for boilers, it helps if it’s been serviced annually too.
- Look out for marked walls – Damp, cracks and leaks can all leave a trail so pay close attention to marked walls. Has the seller tried to cover something up with new paint? Don’t be afraid to ask why. Chances are major problems will show up in a survey but the earlier you find out the better.
- Which way does it face? Buyers often crave a south facing garden but remember this could also mean a dark living room. Think carefully about which way the house faces so you can see how the light falls and what you’d prefer to live with.
- Take the tape measure – If you’re planning to take furniture you already own with you, use the viewings to make sure it will fit in the rooms intended. It could save you a small fortune replacing sofas and beds once you move in.
- Consider parking – If you’re likely to need a parking permit, work out the annual costs or consider how easy it would be to convert some existing outside space to off-street parking.
- View again and again – There’s something to be said for looking at a house through different lenses. Each time you visit go with something else in mind to focus on, don’t let your heart rule any decisions that might be costly later.
- Hello… can you hear me? – It’s not a phrase you’ll want to get used to when you move in, so check your mobile has signal when you’re at the property, and in different rooms.
- Choose a reliable or recommended solicitor – There are many legal aspects involved in house-buying and you need to be sure you understand what’s involved. Meet with or discuss your requirements with your conveyancers in advance as you’ll likely need to speak to them a lot once you’ve had an offer accepted.
All information correct at time of publication.
1 Yorkshire Building Society had the most mortgages completions in the summer months of June/July/August in 2018 than any other season.