If you are selling your home in the UK this year, there is one thing affecting the market that you will be all too aware of: the 2015 general election.
Uncertainty always surrounds an upcoming vote, as any new party could introduce a drastic new policy that could change the property market or economy significantly. This year, with housing a hot issue in the political debate, the impact upon real estate is set to be stronger than ever.
According to research by Jeffries, house prices in the year before an election tend to fall by around 5 per cent before climbing an average of 8 per cent in the year following. Sales also slip in the four months leading up to the vote, by as much as 8 per cent on average.
Nonetheless, the week of the election is a busy time, as buyers and sellers prepare for the post-polling day boost, with transactions far higher on the actual day, as pent-up demand from cautious buyers is unleashed.
The temptation, therefore, is to hang on and wait until after May to put your property on the market. What if you need to sell before then? What if you already have your home up for sale? Here are six steps to beat the general election nerves and get the possible price for your property:
1. Lower your price
If you are trying to fetch the best possible price for your property, why would you lower it? It may sound illogical, but the best possible price may not be the highest. The key is not discounting your price tag, but being realistic. This will help to attract a potential buyer, who can then negotiate the final sales amount.
2. Consider another agent
If you have been using an estate agent for a long time, why not consider changing to another? With OnTheMarket now affecting which portals which agencies advertise on, it is important to check where your property will be displayed. As well as the national - or international - market, offered by the big portals, do not forgot local estate agents, which can help you reach buyers nearby, who may be more interested in or relevant to your property.
3. Check your decor
Is your home as welcoming as it could be for potential buyers? If you have a room painted bright red or jet black, consider altering your decor to be more neutral: your living room may not appear as stylish, but it may avoid deterring curious house-hunters.
4. Analyse your listing
Your listing is the first point of contact with buyers: it needs to be perfect. Are the pictures as bright or attractive as they can be? Are there spelling mistakes in your description? Can you make the writing punchier or place greater emphasis on your property's best features? As well as the content, analyse the traffic your listing has generated: find out from your agency, or the portals you have signed up with directly, how many people have seen your property. Where are they from? How of those have gone on to make an enquiry? If the percentage is low, does that mean your home is too expensive, or your photos may have turned them off?
5. Ignore statistics - focus on sales
Pre-election jitters can cause house prices and sales to fall. At the same time, Zoopla's latest sentiment survey found that homeowners think house prices will rise by 7 per cent in the first six months of this year. Rather than distract yourself with the figures, contradictory or otherwise, focus on selling your home: if you are aiming to sell now, do not try to time your listing for a market that exists in six months' time.
6. Make the most of buyers
When you do receive an enquiry, or even an offer, do not wait to get back to them: act immediately to make the most of their interest and be open to negotiation.