2018 has been a tough year for house hunters. A slow moving London market has seen clients being forced to take a lower offer on their properties than they’d like. Then, when they’ve headed down the A3 ready to buy their family home, there seems to be a scarcity of ‘good’ properties to buy.
We’d like to reassure you that this shouldn’t mean the death nail to your country living dream. It’s not a perfect market but then when is, really? With a bit of groundwork and some open-mindedness, we believe that as house prices drop in the countryside too, it could be a ‘win win’ for buyers who are willing to put in the hard graft (or get us to do it for them!)
So, how can you make this move happen when it all seems stacked against you?
- Relationships with estate agents. This is crucial. It might sound completely obvious but this is group of people that you really need on your side. If you are continually late for appointments, mess them about, aren’t transparent about your finacial situation, speak to them in an aggressive way, or are unintentionally rude to the home owners on a viewing, naturally you are not going to be the first person they call when a good house comes on their radar. You’d be surprised how often people don’t treat them with the respect they deserve. This works two ways, if you are polite and honest with them, they will not only give you tip offs about oncoming houses but they will support your case when it comes to the sale end of the deal.
- Be as objective as possible. All the estate agencies are producing glossy, lifestyle shots of the homes they are selling. This is easy to do on a modernised property, not so easy if the house lacks wow factor or hasn’t been decorated since 1945. We are so bombarded with ‘insta’ ready images that it is all too easy to dismiss a house in the right area, in your budget as ‘ugly’ or not the style you had envisaged, with the click of the mouse. I don’t think we’ve had a client yet who hasn’t said to us that they had dismissed a property we’ve encouraged them to see and subsequently loved because they hadn’t liked it from the pictures online. If you are nervous about knowing what can be done, ask the agent for tips – they pick up quite a lot from just hearing what the previous viewings have thrown up suggestion wise. Plus you’d be amazed at what simply replacing windows, adding a porch or recladding can do, to give a house a much needed facelift.
- Know that this is a journey; there may be many twists and turns. When we get the brief from a client, we always give them the caveat that what they think they want and what they end up with will probably be different but better than they would have hoped. Our experience means we view everything with an eye on its potential. You must do this too, or you may miss a house that has it all, just not quite yet. We know that this can also require money. So don’t be afraid to look at things much lower than you can afford with the view that the cash is then there to do the work you’d require.
- There is no such thing as the perfect house. We are privileged to work for clients of all budgets and there is always a compromise. This can be location, the commute or proximity to a school. Life changes, as do these lifestyle demands. So focus on what are the most important factors to you and your family and work out what is going to ‘give’. Is it the size of house? Size of garden? Distance from station? Amount of work needed doing? Or that the house is not beautiful?
- Never house hunt until you are financially ready to put an offer on a house and prove you can pay for it. We must tell this to every single client (and our friends) this piece of advice. Somewhere amongst the excitement of making the decision that you are going to move and the ‘I just want to see what is on the market at the moment’ we see the same result, heartache, and frustration and then stress follows. If you are a cash buyer or are able to bridge, by all means get out there but if your purchase is dependent on your sale, STOP! The moment your current home is under offer you will be able to find something and worst case scenario rent. Selling houses, as the moment is so unpredictable, if you are lucky you will be under offer in weeks, or could be 20 months (yes really this happens). There will be houses out there when you are ready and guess what? When you put that offer in and you can demonstrate your finances, you have a good chance of getting that dream home even in a competitive position.
Stick to these rules and whatever humps and bumps along the way, you and your family will have made the momentous move to start your life in the countryside by the end of the year.
All houses featured are currently on the market as of (7/6/2018). Prices may vary over time.