Spring has sprung across Edinburgh and the Lothians and the property market is in full bloom. As the first quarter of 2021 closes the Edinburgh Proactive Property Group (EPPG) are seeing average sales prices on the rise as rapidly as average selling times are lowering – whilst this can strike fear in to the hearts of would-be home movers, the EPPG are here to help and advise, as ever, on what’s really happening at the forefront of the property market.
The pandemic has pulled property in to sharp focus for many home owners as they’ve questioned how their property really works for them and their family, and how it will continue to work as we emerge from the pandemic in to a new normal. For many, the answer has simply been that their property is not what it needs to be and that they need to move. Never before have surplus rooms been so in demand as buyers search for space to work or indeed work out from home. Private outside spaces have become more sought after than ever before and the old adage of location, location, location has been at the forefront of mover’s minds as lockdown restricted us to stay within our local council areas.
In this blog we’ll help you set out your priorities and choose what you really want from your move, advise you on the best way of making your property dreams come true and we discuss whether you can have your cake and eat it when it comes to buying and selling at the same time.
SO TELL ME WHAT YOU WANT, WHAT YOU REALLY, REALLY WANT…
First you need to decide what you want, what you need and how long you plan to be there. Is this the move to the “forever home” or is it a 2 year, 5 year, 10 year step on the property ladder? Draw up a list of features you want your property to have and rank them in order of importance: consider the number of rooms you want and how you want them to function? Whether you want a utility room, en-suites, a garage? How much garden space you want and how much time or money you want to spend maintaining it? Is off-street parking essential? Do you need space for additional family to stay short or long term? Perhaps a playroom to close the door on those toys and avoid that painful step on the Lego. Try to decide what you must have for your family home straight away and what could be added in time perhaps by extending or converting a loft space in the future.
NEXT, SPEAK TO THE PROFESSIONALS!
All EPPG firms are the absolute experts in this field, we buy and sell Edinburgh family homes almost every single day and we all offer a free and no obligation initial chat. Please don’t go by anecdotal stories on social media or at the school gates telling you all properties are selling 20% over value within 5 minutes and that you need to buy or sell off market! Selling off-market might seem like a cheap and easy fix but the truth is you will inevitably lose out substantially and the only winner will be the person or company who is inducing you to sell off-market. Get accurate, up to the minute advice from those of us actively dealing with the market. You don’t need to have started looking, or even have completed your list of wants and needs, you just need to have an idea that you would like to move. Your EPPG firm will arrange a free valuation of your existing home and give you house-doctoring advice to optimise your sale. If you’re selling somewhere you’ve outgrown, it could well be advisable to decant some of your belongings in to a storage unit until you’re ready to move. Remember the holy trinity of Declutter, De-personalise & Clean!
We can also point you in the right direction to get the financial advice you need to set your budget for the move. Within your budget, consider the house you want to have as well as the lifestyle you want to have in it. There’s no point saddling yourselves with the biggest mortgage if it means you can’t afford the other things that you’d like too – think of big-ticket items like cars and holidays but also weigh up the costs involved in commuting, treats and nights out. Give thought to redecoration costs and the extra furniture you might need to buy.
Once you know what you want and how much you’ve got to spend then start thinking about location. What areas have the type of property that you’re looking for? School catchment area is often of paramount importance when choosing a family home, with Edinburgh and the Lothians offering a wide choice of schooling in both the public and private sectors. If you’re thinking of choosing private schooling then make sure you factor school fees in to your budget too. Moving further out of Edinburgh can be very tempting when you can get more house for your money, but contemplate what impact a long commute might have on time you’re able to spend with family and friends.
Once you know what you want, where you want it and how much you’ve got to spend you might think that it’s time to start shopping, but there’s another vitally important step when buying a family home and that is to work out your strategy! Which brings us to the all-important question: should I buy or sell first?!
In most situations the best advice is to sell first for two main reasons. One, you will be in a much stronger position as a buyer if your own property is sold or under offer and two, you’ll know exactly what you’ve got to play with financially – and it could be tens of thousands more than you had hoped. Whilst it can seem like a leap of faith to sell your property without knowing where you’re moving to, especially when you have children or other family members to consider, it is something EPPG firms deal with every day and we will guide you carefully through the process, negotiating timescales with those that you’re selling to and with those that you are buying from.
In some scenarios the best strategy is to sell first and move in to rental accommodation. With Private Residential Tenancy Agreements having no fixed term written in to them you don’t need to fear that stepping in to rental property is taking your foot off the property ladder for too long. Whilst it might seem like a hassle to move more than once, weigh up what is more stressful – moving in to a rental or selling your property to a deadline at the risk of losing your dream family home?
In the current market houses are selling significantly faster than flats. Whilst the average selling time across EPPG firms is currently sitting at 13 days for properties listed in 2021, houses are definitely out-performing flats with one firm noting two recent houses sold within 24 hours of advertising! So if you’re selling a flat to buy a house, selling first is certainly the most sensible approach.
Of course there are situations where the timing just doesn’t allow the opportunity to sell first and offering subject to sale is still very possible. We’d recommend getting as ready to sell as you can – perhaps even with photos, floorplans and marketing materials prepared so you’re ready to get on the market quickly, just leaving the Home Report to be put in place. It could save the inconvenience of having to move your family in to temporary accommodation, but it does mean you’re on the back foot if there is a ‘photo-finish’ closing date with other offers coming from buyers who have already sold, are already under offer or can offer cash.
Once you’ve got your strategy planned and found somewhere you’d like to buy, use your expert property buying strategist from the EPPG to pitch your offer. They’ll advise you on details in the Home Report you might otherwise have overlooked and take a look at comparable sales in the area for you. They will help you make an informed decision on what a sensible offer would be and if it’s a closing date, at what level you’ll need to offer to be in with a hope of securing the property. If you’re trying to decide how much to offer for a house that you intend to be your family home for decades to come, the value and asking price are less of a consideration when deciding what to actually offer in a competitive situation. Choose what level you would pay that if someone else offered more you’d be happy to let them have it. The real value in that situation is what the property is worth to you.
If you’ve put a strong offer and your very best offer forwards and you lose out, then don’t lose heart – it wasn’t meant to be! A better house for you will come along. Revisit your expectations, location and budget and keep looking.
Every step of the way the EPPG are here to help, so please don’t hesitate to contact any one of us for personalised help and advice on navigating the Edinburgh family homes market.
VMH Solicitors – “Would happily recommend VMH to others looking to move. Professional, courteous and understanding throughout the entirety of our experience.”
Deans Solicitors and Estate Agents – “If you would like a stress-free sale or help with purchasing I can’t recommend Deans enough. From beginning to end they have enabled me to relax during a process that’s described as one of the most stressful things you ever do. With them it was almost a breeze.”
Neilsons Solicitors and Estate Agents – “I used Neilsons for my purchase and sale and they were absolutely excellent every single step of the way. Kara Marriot acted for me and at every stage of the process she kept me fully up to date and reassured about the progress of the transaction. Kara made a difficult process seem really straightforward and made sure that we got the best possible deal when both buying and selling. I cannot recommend Kara and the team highly enough – they go above and beyond at every single step of the process. An outstanding service at an extremely competitive price. If I could give Kara and the team at Neilsons six stars then I would!”
Watermans Legal – “Thanks so much to the Watermans Legal Team for providing a professional and stress-free service in purchasing our new home. They were a pleasure to deal with and on hand when we needed them. Nothing was too much hassle for them and it really made us feel at ease being in their capable hands!”