Emmersons Solicitors - Newcastle and Sunderland
At last... some good news for property sellers?
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At last... some good news for property sellers?

Not the sort of headline you see every day. However, at Emmersons Solicitors we have seen the middle market picking up this year.

It is well-known that after the credit crunch banks veered away from the, perhaps, irresponsible mortgage lending that had gone on before. Unfortunately, many mortgage lenders seemed to almost shut up shop and refused to lend to a large number of homebuyers.

This had a very negative effect on the property market. Although first-time buyers (often with the help of parents) and people looking to invest in the buy-to-let market continued to purchase properties at the lower end of the scale and luxury properties with high values continued to sell, a lot of houses of average value did not sell because the lack of mortgage lending led to a shortage of buyers

It seems strange to talk about green shoots of recovery in the property market when all you may hear in the news is talk of austerity and recession. However, there are real reasons to be positive.

Judging from the type of properties and mortgages that Emmersons Solicitors Property Department are dealing with, a greater proportion of properties in the middle price-range are being bought and sold. While it seems unlikely that mortgage lenders will return to lending as freely as before the credit crunch, it is possible that they might have started to lend more readily, having realised that in order to make money they need to lend money.

This is good news as it means that a wide range of people, from professionals and families wanting to upgrade their home to older people who might wish to downsize, have a greater chance of being able to buy and sell more easily. Also, those people who thought they might be stuck in their current home might want to think again.

Tips for sellers

It is still a buyer’s market, so anyone selling a house might wish to consider the following:

Price is all-important. An unscrupulous estate agent might try to obtain your business by giving you an inflated valuation of your property. If you place your property on the market at an overly-inflated price, it will be less attractive to potential buyers and probably take longer to sell. It is important that you get a realistic idea of how much your property is worth. You might like to consult a few estate agents to obtain valuations before you place your house on the market.

If you are selling a property and you receive an offer that is substantially below the asking price, there is a difficult balance to be struck. You may not want to reject the offer on the basis that you cannot be sure if a better one will be received. However, you would not want to be left unnecessarily out-of-pocket.

In addition, a seller might want to be wary of taking advice on whether to accept a very low offer from an agent who will receive a fee calculated on a percentage of the sale price. The reason for this can be explained with following example:

A house is on the market for £220,000. An offer to buy the property for £200,000 is received. The difference between 1% of £200,000 and 1% of £220,000 is only £200. Some agents would much rather secure their fee than be concerned with losing £200. However, the seller would stand to lose £20,000 - a great deal of money.

Recent studies in America show that when real estate agents sell their own properties, the properties remain on the market for a longer than average period of time and achieve prices closer to the asking price than on average.

So, to entice those buyers who are back in the market why not make sure your other half tidies the garden or bakes a cake to make the house smell nice?

Jacqueline Emmerson
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