One of the great triggers in the property year is the beginning of the autumn school term. Once the children are back to school there is more time for house hunting and just enough time to be in a new home by Christmas.
But just as the children are learning new things there are new things to be learnt in buying and selling property. Even to those who have bought and sold several times before, this is a new market. The property market is always in flux. Even experienced estate agents won’t say they have seen it all before. But they have seen more than anyone else.
So here are some lessons that you might like to bear in mind if you are coming into the market this autumn.
The media hype in newspapers and on the TV and radio about a buying frenzy across the UK is far from reality. Certainly there are hotspots like central London and certain towns and cities where the market has surged ahead. But that doesn’t mean it is surging everywhere. In many locations values haven’t reached their pre-2007 levels. The market still remains a price sensitive one.
In fact many agents now think that the heat is coming out of the market even in the hotspot areas as buyers are beginning to resist what they believe are overblown prices.
Confidence is a crucial factor in the property market, and while confidence in the economy is better now than it has been for many years there are factors that do have an opposing effect. The mortgage lenders are working on stricter lending criteria. At the upper end of the market there is uncertainty and fear about a mansion tax being levied in the future. In Scotland many are waiting the result of the referendum that will be held on 18th September. In the rest of the UK it won’t be very long before we are at the business end of a general election campaign with all the uncertainty that brings.
So some things about the market never remain the same. But some do. Buyers always like to purchase well and sellers always like to sell well – a recipe for conflict. So the big lesson for anyone entering the property market this autumn is compromise. With compromise come deals. Without compromise there is little but frustration and no move before Christmas.
So talk to those who have seen a great deal before. Take advice from mature and experienced estate agents. They are not there to take advantage of you – despite what the media likes to say. They are there to get the best deal for you. Don’t demand too much or accept too little. Be flexible. Understand the market conditions which apply today and not in the past – nor what you hope they may be in the future. And there the lesson ends.