Sometimes buyers don’t want to put their house on the market until they’ve found the perfect house to move to. However most sellers only want proceedable* buyers to view their home. This can leave buyers feeling as though they’re in a ‘chicken and egg’ situation.
How long will it take to sell your home?
While unproceedable buyers may feel confident that their own home will sell in days, in reality it can take weeks or months. In the meantime the house of their dreams will likely sell to a proceedable buyer. One way around this is to buy before you sell (possibly with a bridging loan), though few buyers choose this path.
There is another solution and that’s to fine-tune your property search while your house is on the market, or before, so by the time your house is under offer you know exactly what you want, with a short list of properties to view.
1. Define your requirements
Think carefully about what you want to achieve from your move. Is it extra space or a change in lifestyle, or both? This should include things you do and don’t want from your next property.
Create a ‘wish list’ of your requirements:
- Size (beds, baths, receptions)
- Outside space (garden, garage)
- Style (period, contemporary)
- Condition (no work required, cosmetic update required, complete renovation)
- Situation (rural, semi-rural, views)
- Facilities (walking distance of school, train station, shops)
Start your property search online using the property portals, e.g. Rightmove.
- Set your search criteria according to your wish list
- If you can’t find what you want in your chosen area try expanding your search +1 mile or +3 miles
- Maybe you need to increase your budget to get what you need, in which case speak to your mortgage advisor. This doesn’t necessarily mean paying more – a great mortgage advisor can get you the best rates which can mean securing a lower interest rate which means you can borrow more without paying more
- For properties that catch your eye, look at virtual viewings, property videos and floorplans
- Save properties you’re interested in (you’ll need to create an account on the portal to do this)
- Familiarise yourself with the road and neighbourhood by driving by or using Google Street View
Top Tip: Reading the market
During this process you’ll get a good feel for the market. Properties on your short list will go under offer, some will reduce in price, new properties will come onto the market for you to add to your shortlist. This will give you a feel for the speed and pricing in the market for your target properties.
3. Fine-tune your wish list
By now you will have a feel for what is available and where within budget. Often buyers end up buying a house different from their original wish list because they find a house that just has the X factor.
Perhaps properties on your wish list don’t have as many bedrooms as you originally wanted but have the most amazing view or potential to extend. Amend your property search in line with your new wish list.
View properties on your shortlist
Once under offer, book viewings for the properties on your shortlist. This should be no more than 10.
Take a copy of your wish list and mark each requirement out of 10 for the properties you view, including a column for ‘X factor’. The results may surprise you and will certainly help you identify which houses best meet your needs and feel right for you.
Does it work?
Yes! I personally have chosen all my properties using the above process. I’ve viewed between 4 and 7 properties in one day before picking one, knowing that my shortlist is the best match in the market for me.
I also have clients who bought a house I was representing for sale, it was the first one they’d seen. This was their second property purchase, their first property was also the only one they viewed. Peter explains how they achieved this:
“When we have started our property searches we were clear in our minds what we were looking for. The time spent was looking online and rating properties on their suitability, so there was no need to expend an enormous amount of time looking at 10 properties.
“Looking at properties online we first embrace then remove the subjectivity. We’ll look at properties that appeal to us, then turn them into a spreadsheet number – numbers don’t lie!
“We start with 3 categories; inside, outside, location and agree how to score properties based on compromise; while one of us values décor more than layout, the other is vice versa. An agreed scoring system gave us something tangible to work with.
“We then score each property on factors within these categories that are important to us; layout, usability of the space, degree of modernisation, size of garden, how appealing the local area is etc. Each element is given a mark out of 10 to create a price comparison, according to the value the property has to us. We use the price per square footage of the house, then attribute a value per acre – we had a minimum and maximum amount of land we wanted, so anything under or over our criteria started to score down. If any element scored 6/10 it wasn’t great for us, anything that was 8/10 or above increased the appeal and value.
“We arranged a viewing of the property at the top of our list to see if it ticked the right boxes in reality, which it did, so we were confident our analysis was right.
“Since having our offer accepted we’ve only become more confident in our decision. We can’t wait to move in!”
For further advice don’t hesitate to contact us. Happy house hunting!
Kai Carter Estates
* Proceedable: Able to start the sales process immediately, either by being a cash buyer or having their house under offer