Thursday, October 28, 2021

Selling A House? Make Sure You Know the Real Facts… by Ruban Selvanayagam, co-founder of Property Solvers

Understanding the ins and outs of the house sale process is frustrating at the best of times.

Part of the problem is that there’s an over-reliance on estate agents and local ‘expert’ opinions who, by and large, have winning the instruction as a priority as opposed to what’s in the seller’s best interest.

Time and time again, we see over-priced properties lingering on the market for longer that they need to. Sellers miss out on the golden opportunity that exists when a house first goes on the market and end up having to drop their prices to a more realistic level.

On the positive side, these days it’s never been easier to get relevant online data about what’s going on which, in turn, facilitates better informed decisions.

On the main portals like Rightmove and Zoopla, for example, as well as seeing what’s up for sale locally, you can check recently sold property prices within your local neighbourhood and other key pieces of information. Sometimes, you can view the photos and floorplans of previous listings to compare with your own.

The Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) public database shows you the sizes of many houses in your area. You can also have a good look at the surrounding streets using Google and Bing Maps, check the local schools using Ofsted reports and use Police.UK to check crime / safety statistics.

Yet, as professional property buyers and owners of an express sale service, we noticed that there is a distinct lack of information regarding how quickly houses are taking to sell as well as what are the real differences between asking and sold prices.

That’s why we’ve created the monthly updated local house market insights tool.  The free-to-use platform (no registration required) is essentially split into two parts:

(i) How long a house takes to sell in any given UK postcode (over a 12-month period) – we track the moment when properties in any given postcode are initially listed on the UK’s largest portal Rightmove to the point at which they’re marked as sold (and officially registered as such) at HM Land Registry.

It is during this time that the house sale goes through various stages from viewings / open days, negotiations and sale agreement to the whole conveyancing process (survey, searches, enquiries, contract drafting etc.) and finally exchange / completion.

(ii) The difference between asking and sold prices – using Rightmove and HM Land Registry again, we also monitor the average difference between asking and sold prices over a 12-month period.

Our aim with this aspect of the tool is to help sellers understand that there is often a discrepancy between listed house prices at estate agencies and what they really end up selling for.

Note that we are not able to track every property sale. For instance, there are properties where the original listings have been removed from Rightmove meaning it is difficult to ascertain the original asking price. We’re not able to track cash house and auction sales.  There are also a number of sales that are not recorded at the Land Registry and many areas where sales volumes are consistently low.

Nonetheless, we’re confident that this is the most comprehensive database of house sale trends of its kind in the marketplace.

We hope you’ll find it of use.

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