NOVEMBER UPDATE – The end of British Summer Time and hello autumn!

Wednesday 3rd November 2021

“It’s the first day of autumn! 
A time of hot chocolatey mornings, and toasty marshmallow evenings, 
and, best of all, leaping into leaves!”
(Winnie The Pooh)

Happy November, and welcome to autumn, which appeared to arrive with a bang on Sunday morning, immediately after the end of British Summer Time, with gales and winds, and a blanket of leaves fluttering to the ground.

Whilst the market appears to have quietened down considerably over the past couple of weeks, there is still no less of an appetite to buy. We have copious numbers of buyers eagerly waiting for good houses (especially in the immediate villages around Winchester and Alresford) and are frustrated by the lack of stock.

If we consider why this is – I suppose common sense would say that it has been fuelled by the ending of the Government’s stamp duty incentive window, which finally closed at the end of September. So many people who were thinking of selling their homes in recent months, rushed to hit the March 2021 deadline, and those who were missing it, were relieved that it was extended to June 2021, and continued to rush to sell before the timeline ran out. Those who missed it, were still able to grab the last embers of the reduced incentives, which finally ran out at the end of September.  So many people took advantage of those stamp duty reductions, and those who were planning to sell and move, have now done so, leaving many excellent buyers still out there, keen to find a home to buy.

Historically, there is usually a new rush of houses coming onto the market in January each year.    Work is often closed during the Christmas period, which gives people time to reflect with their families and make decisions about their housing needs.  These could be to buy a bigger house, or smaller, or a house with room for a grandparent, or to help a family member to buy their first home.  Many decisions are made over this period which is why Rightmove historically has one the busiest days for online traffic on Boxing Day, and estate agents find the first week of January one of the busiest in their calendars.

The one thing we would therefore highlight would be that if you are thinking of buying a new home, please do remember that what you are looking for is likely the sort of house that many other people are also looking for.  If you are in a chain, and not even on the market, you might be at a disadvantage if you come up against other potential buyers who either have a buyer for their property already, or who are in rented accommodation and chain free.

Whilst we totally appreciate that a potential seller knows they have a lovely home, and that it will sell quickly, if they are up against someone in rented accommodation, they will be on the back foot, no matter how beautiful their home might be, and in whatever desirable street and school catchment.

Many a time we have had these conversations with potential sellers, and it is only when we turn the conversation around and ask who they would look to sell their home to if they had multiple offers on their property – someone in rented accommodation; someone who was under offer, or someone who was not yet on the market, albeit in a lovely road … do they finally understand the importance of being ‘proceedable’ if they wish to have the chance of buying their ideal home if/when it comes to market.

We therefore always advise clients to be ‘proceedable’ whenever they seriously start to house-hunt.   

We would also advise that, at this point, you also speak to your mortgage broker. Your personal circumstances might have changed since you took out your last mortgage and/or your lenders’ criteria might also have changed.  To that end, borrowers often have a difficult surprise when they find it hard to borrow even less than their current mortgage is … which might not make sense, but worth checking out beforehand, nonetheless. 

There is also talk of interest rates rising soon, so again worth checking with your broker sooner rather than later, to discuss rates/borrowing/and ideal length of term to fix your new mortgage for.

Back to house selling. 

Our advice is to choose your agent wisely.  Please don’t be swayed purely by the agent who puts the highest value on your home – this isn’t necessarily the right price, and you could end up sitting on the market too long, and reducing your price later, which (when buyers have access to all information online these days) could give the impression that your home is less desirable than others, or has a problem.  Please be guided by your instinct on service levels, results, customer care, recommendations from friends, and their online reviews.  Most of all, your instinct is the strongest guide!  How many times have we all done something and said, when it went wrong, ‘I knew I shouldn’t have gone there or done that, and I don’t know why I did ..’!

Have your photography done, and brochures prepared so that when you wish to go to market, you are ready.  We would also recommend that you then market your home, albeit quietly if necessary, find a buyer who is prepared to wait for you to find the house you wish to buy. So long as your agent is honest with the buyer that you need to find a house to buy, and that the buyer is prepared to wait, you have the best of both worlds.  You are able to go ‘house shopping’ knowing that you have a buyer behind you, and you are then in a great position to offer on a house when you find one, and be taken seriously by the sellers of that property.  What’s the worst that can happen?? Your buyers get bored of waiting for you to find something, so your agent remarkets, and finds another buyer who will wait … simples.

And that will put you in the best position if you are looking to buy a super house, and the sort of house that you know so many other people would also like to buy ….

Have a lovely November!!