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It is a question pondered by many property owners: when is the best time to sell? In reality the question usually has a bit missing – when is the best time to sell to get the best price?

How to maximise the sale price – that is the real question.

1. The simple answer

Here is the simple answer: 

“The best time to sell is when you can get the best price – once you have made the decision to sell based on your goals and priorities”.

However, sometimes you will not have the luxury of deciding when to sell. You may be compelled to sell fast for any number of reasons, including:

  • Marriage or relationship breakdown
  • Loss of employment
  • Ill-health
  • Money or debt problems
  • Unmanageable mortgage arrears
  • Strong risk of eviction by (a) your lender following possession proceedings or (b) a creditor who has obtained a judgment and a charging order against you.


2. Where you have control of timing

Where you are in the fortunate position to have control of timing, you should look to put your property on the market when prices are rising at their strongest and are expected to continue rising.

In such a situation, buyers will be in strong supply and competition between them will maximise the sale price you can achieve.

If the market is rampant, most properties will sell fairly quickly even if they have some or other defect or issue which would normally cause buyers to think twice, such as:

  • Short lease
  • Small rooms
  • Poor design or layout
  • Poor state of decoration or repair
  • Second rate location
  • Poor transport links.

Where the market is such that you and your estate agent will need to put in some graft to achieve a sale, it is important to ensure that your property is in a state, repair or condition which will get you the best price.

3. Adding value to your property

You will clearly have a better chance of securing the highest price attainable if you add as much value to your property as possible before putting it on the market.

You should aim to add value even if you need to sell fast due to adverse circumstances – such as the likelihood of repossession by your lender or a creditor.

The more value you can add, the higher your sale proceeds, the more money you have to move forward with.

If you are looking to buy a replacement property at a certain price or in a certain price range, it may be essential for you to achieve a minimum sale price.

There are at least 8 fab ways to add value to your home.

Where you have plenty of time, you can do something major such as adding an extension or converting a loft or cellar space.

If time is short, you may be able to add a conservatory, put in a new kitchen or bathroom or declutter and redecorate.


4. Best time of year to sell

Assuming you can choose when to put your property on the market, the general consensus seems to be that Spring is the best time to sell, coming as it does after Winter, when the weather is at its worse and does not always put properties in the best light – literally and metaphorically.

The summer period is relatively quiet due to it being the main holiday season for most people – especially those with children.   

Autumn is often a good period as buyers try to get into their new homes for Christmas.

5 smart steps to sell your home fast (simple practical steps to speed up selling)
Moving out checklist (things to check when moving out of a property)

5. Do your research

When settling on the price to market your property, it is easy to rely on the selling agent as the expert on valuation.

However, these days, thanks to the enormous amount of price information to be found on property portals such as Rightmove, Zoopla, OnTheMarket and Mouseprice, it makes sense to do your own research on the price of your property before agreeing a sale figure with the agent.

On the same theme, you should be sure of the integrity, practices and reputation of your agent. 

Some agents have the reputation for unrealistically hyping asking prices as a way of getting clients to instruct them.  These are agents you want to avoid as they will be suggesting you reduce your asking price in no time at all after winning your instructions.

Similarly, if you are forced into selling and the market is weak, you want to avoid agents with a reputation for achieving sales by excessively reducing the asking price; great for getting in their commission fast, but not so good at getting you the best price at the precise time you need it.


6. When prices are falling

Achieving the best price when property prices are known to be falling is extremely difficult – especially if they are falling fast.

You want your property on the market for long enough for sufficient buyers to see it  – for the best price to be achieved. However if prices are falling, delay in agreeing a sale will push you into lower price territory.

It is a difficult balancing act. You don’t want to be bounced into grabbing any price out of fear or desperation – but at the same time you need to be realistic in your expectations.

In such circumstances, a good quality agent with local knowledge and integrity will be invaluable to you – helping you to make a difficult decision.

7. The best price is not always the priority

Attaining the best price is not always going to be your number one priority.

Sometimes speed of sale is paramount. Where, for instance, you are faced with the probability of bailiffs turning up and evicting you, achieving a quick sale is likely to be in your best interest. 

In such cases, the best time to sell is usually “as soon as possible” and you probably shouldn’t delay in the hope of getting a better price.

Have you sold a property recently? Was it the best time to sell? Do you think you obtained the best price? Please leave your comments below. Other readers may benefit from your experiences.

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Dalton Barrett
Rebel Property Coach

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