Traditionally the housing market gears up for its busiest time of year about now. Once the Easter holidays are over then many people list their homes for sale to catch the Spring rush in the market. Estate agents have relied on this trend for many years, even through the difficult years while we were waiting for a Brexit decision, Spring April, May and June have been the hottest months in the housing market.

2020 was shaping up to be the best year to move for a long time. The market had been so slow with an uncertain political climate since the EU Referendum in 2016 but there was a significant ‘Boris Bounce’ early this year post-election result. Listings were up, the Rightmove House price Index reported a 26% increase in new listings in January compared to the same month a year ago, and there was a lot of optimism around. And then – STOP! The whole market, along with the rest of the country has come to an abrupt halt. Of course there is no guarantee about what will happen next and we can’t promise that the market will be buoyant by the end of the year although a lot of the property pundits are suggesting that quarter 3, the autumn, will be much better, particularly if the RICS succeed in influencing a stamp duty holiday.

If you have been waiting to sell for a long time, or even if you have decided during lockdown that you need a new home, then it is still well worth getting ready so that you are on the market as soon as the restrictions lift. Many estate agents still have office cover. Transactions which were in progress are allowed to continue and agents play a role in pushing those through so they are maintaining at least some staff working. If you call an estate agent now most have switched to having the ability to conduct online valuations. You may be asked to walk them through your home on a video call and they will be able to video call you to talk through what you need almost as though they were able to sit and discuss your sale in your own kitchen. One of the key strands of your marketing strategy will be the presentation of your home.

Jon Handford of Fine and Country in Leamington Spa says;

“For anyone thinking of selling you can do some preparation work now. With a video call an agent can do a digital valuation but they will be breaking government guidelines if they physically visit your property. The same goes for buyers and viewing appointments. Although there are instances where sales have been brokered with virtual viewings they are rare and it is unlikely it will achieve the best result for the seller. As an alternative use the time to maintain the property so it is looking its best for the valuation and viewings. Build a folder of certificates, warranties, permissions and receipts ready to pass on to the solicitor as these will be needed for preparing the draft contract”.

The message then is that even if you can do nothing else about selling for the moment you can certainly start thinking about how best to present your home for market and tackling any of the jobs that may need doing. You can also be getting all your paperwork in order so you are ready to go as soon as you possibly can be.

There is a lot of advice and top tips around on social media at the moment about the house jobs to tackle ahead of a sale, we blog and put tips on all our platforms regularly as do other home stagers. We use our unique 7-step ADDRESS system to help you get ready and this is something you can begin before we are able to visit to help you in person. We’ll be blogging the steps each week from the 15th April. Get in touch now if can’t wait that long!