Richard Brooks, head of residential at Savills Clifton, gives his top tips on how to make your property stand out on the housing market
The prime housing market has faced its fair share of disruption in recent years. Most of it has been politically induced: a combination of some things taxation and all things Brexit. However, despite the headwinds brought in by heightened political uncertainty and fragile consumer confidence, the market has held up surprisingly well this year.
While some discretionary buyers and sellers are sitting on the sidelines, those who are in the market are serious about it. Indeed, Savills research shows a 14% increase in new buyer applications across the south of the country in the first three months of 2019.
In Bristol this story could not ring truer. Applicants and viewing numbers are high and many of our properties, particularly those in the highest demand – close to good schools, transport links or green spaces – for example, are generating competitive bidding situations. This has been increasingly the case as we move into the property ‘high season’ of late spring, early summer. For vendors, this is hugely encouraging. For motivated buyers, it can be frustrating.
While luck and circumstance undoubtedly factor, if you’re buying in Bristol today, there are a number of things you can do to set yourself apart from the competition.
Preparation and research are both key. Go to your first viewing with a list of questions and with all parties involved, as the ability to act quickly can be imperative in securing a popular property. Make sure you understand the vendors situation; are they are looking for a fast transaction or are they still in the process of finding their next property? If you have questions, ask. Push for answers and give yourself the best chance of making a quick decision on the property.
If you then decide to bid, offer what you think the property is worth. Many of the very best houses are currently selling above the guide price so don’t expect offers to be accepted. If you are unsure of values then speak to the agent, who should have in-depth knowledge of previous sales in the immediate area. Put your best foot forward and if it turns out to be too low, at least you can walk away with no regrets.
Your ability to proceed with the sale will also be important. Make sure your finances are in order, you have a mortgage agreed in principal and a nominated solicitor. This demonstrates that you’re a serious buyer and that you’re in a good position to move forward. If you haven’t bought since the Mortgage Market Review in 2014 you may find that this process has become slower and more complex; instructing a good broker can make all the difference. Vendors looking to move quickly might dismiss a higher offer from a less prepared party.
Finally, be flexible. Don’t argue over minor points, establish that you are happy to progress at the pace of the vendor and create a positive rapport. Buying and selling a house is one of the biggest financial transactions a person will make in their lifetime, enabling it to be as stress free and simple as possible can make a huge difference.
Savills Clifton offers its clients a full appreciation of the market, based on in-depth specialist research and sound local knowledge. If you are thinking of buying or selling in the area, contact our team of experts.
Savills Estate Agents, 20 The Mall, Clifton, Bristol, BS8 4DR