Photo of Ian Preston By Ian Preston

To Sell Or Not To Sell In 2012

Posted 09/01/2012

If you are currently considering the question of whether to sell your home in 2012 then you are not alone. We have had nearly five years of a subdued market, and if your family circumstances have meant that if the market had been better, you would have moved then things are probably coming to a head.

The first key point is that we buy and sell in the same market. A ‘good’ market is generally thought to be one where houses sell quickly, but some of the downsides of a ‘good’ market include gazumping, where a higher offer is accepted after the seller commits to your offer. Other downsides include rushed decisions to buy due to perceived competition for property and having to pay over the odds to get the property you want.

However, those downsides clearly fall away when confronted with the frustrations of selling in a down turning market. When the initial advice and promises given by your agent turn out to be false and the only phone call you get is to ask you to yet again, reduce the price of your property. This scenario has been the staple story to me on valuations, time and time again.

So my first piece of advice is that if you wish to move in 2012, be realistic – look at the facts, not the vague reassurances of an over optimistic estate agent. Looking at the facts means looking at what similar houses around yours have sold for. Were they in better condition? Be honest with yourself because buyers will be brutally honest.

There are lots of good websites that offer you information on what properties actually sold for including and many others. Whichever estate agent you ask to your property ask to see the research they have done into the local market and the property that both they, and their competitors have sold. Our property valuers are highly experienced and have excellent market knowledge, but we still research every valuation to make sure that we have as much evidence as we can.

If you are still unsure about selling now, why not ask Preston Baker for a free valuation – there is no obligation and we often keep in touch with people for months or even years, until they are ready to move.

I am sure you will have thought of most of these but here are some pro’s and con’s to moving now, or later:

1) Market your home now


  • This year has started strongly and we had record sales in December. If you market in January, there are the fewest number of houses to compete against for the entire year.
  • First time buyers in particular start looking in January. If you have a property under £250k, current indications are that the government will lower the level at which stamp duty is paid for first time buyers from £250,000 to £125,000 in the Spring. As ever this is subject to a last minute change by the government. This should mean that first time buyers will make a saving in the thousands of pounds, by completing in the next few months.
  • Con’s
  • Buyer numbers are relatively low
  • Viewings may be more challenging in evenings with your house not being shown to its full potential with the darker nights
  • Wait for the Spring



  • The Spring is the time of year that we would expect most new buyers to register
  • Longer days allow for more viewings
  • In the first few months of the year the lesser priced property is selling. First time sellers then have buyers for their property allowing them to purchase in the mid-market with having a buyer in place for their property



  • You will be competing against more property for the interest of would be buyers. Lots of other sellers will be entering the market meaning that your estate agents workload will also be peaking at this point#
  • The market is an uncertain place. It is widely predicted that Spring / Summer is precisely the point that the UK economy will hit technical recession (two consecutive quarters of negative growth). With this in mind it could erode the confidence of buyers

Let, rather than sell


  • The rental market is very buoyant and you will get a quick resolution
  • If house prices are lower than wish to accept you can take the long view and wait for them to rise. Most commentators would suggest that you need to be thinking about a 5 year view as a minimum.


  • Lettings is more complex than you might think. If you have a mortgage you will need the consent of your lender in the first instance. When you do let your property you will need specialist advice to keep you on the right side of the law. Opt for a fully managed service. Make sure your agent is qualified with ARLA or another suitable body. Contact Preston Baker for more advice.

Extend your current home



  • This is obviously only an option for those wishing to upsize
  • You can keep the location you love and your neighbours
  • You can design the space yourself to meet your families needs



  • You will need either cash or funding to do it, which is not always straight forward
  • You need the land / space to do it
  • You will need to apply for planning permission and negotiate with neighbours

It is rare that an extension adds the value to a home that is more than the cost. There are exceptions, but really this option is not for those looking to make huge sums of money, but for those who want the accommodation the way they want it

Tagged Market Insights; Posted 8 years ago

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