What you need to know right now
Are you buying or selling a home right now? Or planning to? Feeling concerned and anxious about what's going to happen with the housing market over the coming months?
Maybe you're feeling uncertain about what you should be doing and wondering what you can do to mitigate any risk to your financial security.
We are living in unreal times. In this article, I'll explore what this uncertainty means for you and your family, and explain exactly what you can do to best position yourselves when the housing market returns to normal. Whether you're selling, buying, or just want some guidance on what the next few months might mean for the property market in our area, this article will help.
"What should I do if I am selling?"
Viewings on hold - now that property viewings have been suspended, you may be worried about what this means for your moving plans. When people are uncertain of their immediate future, they are reluctant to make decisions and do anything to change their current status quo. Don't worry - the buyers who are really keen, will contact your agent and leave their details, so when this situation ends, you may have viewings straight away. Just check with your estate agent that interested parties contact details are being recorded.
Online interest - with everyone at home right now, you may get a spike of browsers looking at your property online. Most browsers turn into buyers eventually, and this should mean the property market gets a bounce in a few months, so you need to be ready. Now that the Government have slashed the borrowing rate to the lowest in its 325-year history, some buyers may feel there's never been a better time to buy a house.
Cheeky offers - we've certainly had some very low offers on some of our homes from buyers wanting to cash in on this uncertainty. If you really need to move now, and just can't wait, you may be tempted to take a low offer, but if you can wait, you'll undoubtedly get a better price for your home down the line.
Withdrawing from the market - in my opinion, there is currently no real benefit to taking your home off the market right now, so stick with it, but review the situation frequently with your estate agent. We're currently talking to our clients often to make sure they feel supported in whatever decision they make and also to ensure they are ready for a potential influx of viewers when the situation returns to normal, and we can start conducting viewings again.
"What should I do if I am buying?"
Lower competition - now there are less homes on the market, and fewer buyers around to buy them - could this be the perfect time to buy your dream home?
Potentially lower house prices - those sellers who can afford to wait to sell their homes, will do so, relaunching once things are back to normal. However, there are some homeowners who have no choice but to sell and move house in the next couple of months, and these properties could well be discounted to attract a buyer quickly. You could find yourself buying at a reduced price if you are able to move fast, despite the current situation. This could especially be of interest to investors right now, and also cash buyers.
Record low interest rates - great news for buyers using a mortgage to buy a home, now could be your best chance to secure a great deal on a mortgage, potentially saving yourself tens of thousands of pounds over the duration of the mortgage.
Virtual viewings - although all viewings have been postponed, we offer an alternative method - virtual viewing! A myriad of technological marvels mean we can virtually walk you around homes, while you stay comfy and warm on your sofa. Once you are able to view the house in person, you can view a much-reduced shortlist of your very favourite homes.
"What will happen to the property market over the coming months?"
We have 25 million homes in the UK, and each year on average 1.2 million of them sell.
In other words, just under 5% of homes in the UK sell every year.
Gateshead and Newcastle combined, that means there are 9,339 property sales each year - 179 per week.
This means that when this crazy time is over, and things are getting back to normal, there will potentially be hundreds of homes that come onto the market that would otherwise have launched during this 'pause' period.
This will help you to move on. More homes on the market, means more choice for you and your family and more potential buyers for your home.
If I look into my crystal ball, by June we will have some sense of normality, with the economy running at 30-40%. By July and into August, I expect the country to bounce back and begin to spend. As certainty improves, so does market momentum. I think there will be a big resurgence of demand, and buyers wanting to move by Christmas, at the latest.
"What if I have already agreed to buy a house?"
If you are in the middle of buying a house, congratulations! We recommend you proceed as planned, but maybe check to see if you can get better mortgage terms than perhaps you were previously offered. Remember that house prices rise and fall periodically, which means that if you're planning to stay in the property for more than say, a year, any risk is limited.
"We're thinking about moving soon - what should we do?"
Timing is always important when it comes to selling your home for the best price, but over the coming months, it's going to be crucial. If you put your home on the market too soon, before the situation has been resolved, any uncertainty and practical problems with conducting viewings will mean you are unlikely to get the price you need for your home.
But if you wait too long to put your home up for sale, you may find that the housing market is full of competing properties. This means you could miss on the inevitable bounce-back in the housing market. This is something we experienced in the early months of this year, once Brexit was passed - there were more buyers than houses, and some of our sellers were delighted with the prices they achieved.
The right time is difficult to predict. But having a plan is vital if you want to hit the market at precisely the right time to benefit from the bounce-back, when it happens.
In a few weeks, when the situation is safe again, Mr Johnson and Co will allow us to continue doing what we do best - selling homes. We may only get a few days' notice, so we all need to be able to react quickly and decisively. We'll be ready, and we can help you to be ready too.
"Can I help you?"
Perhaps you have a burning question about your moving plans, or you need more clarity on any of the above points - whatever it is. I'm here to help at any time.
Email me personally on firstname.lastname@example.org or call me on 0191 487 8855 if you'd like a confidential chat.
I'll give you clear, actionable advice on what to do in your specific situation - whether waiting or taking action is the best option for you. Please ask - I'd really like to help you, if I can.