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To Sell Your House Or Stay Put?

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Author: Debbie Morgan


If you are a potential seller waiting to put your house on the market you need to consider your options carefully. Here we go through the issues to help you decide what to do.

Perhaps you were thinking of selling your house and just as you were going to go for it the credit crunch took hold and now you've been watching the housing market crash. Should you sell now before it gets worse or should you wait until things pick up?

It's a tricky one. How long do you want to wait? How much do you want to move? According to Nationwide, house prices rose in June 2009 by 0.9% as demand outstripped supply. Buyers who can obtain a mortgage want to make the most of the low interest rates and fallen house prices. The economy and housing market are no longer in freefall so if you put your house on the market now, then you may have a better prospect of finding a buyer than you would have done six months ago.

If you are tempted to move house, look at the reasons why you want to move house and prioritise them. Take tentative steps to research your options: ask an estate agent to value your house, get their opinion on what you could realistically sell for and whether there are interested buyers on their books. Speak to a mortgage broker to check what mortgage options are open to you. Check how much properties are in the new location. Gather as much information as you can to help you make an informed decision.

If you were thinking of waiting until house prices pick up then let's look at the factors that effect house prices. The credit crunch and subsequent recession has had a major impact on our economy. So far we have seen job losses mainly in manufacturing and banking and unemployment is expected to rise to over 3 million by the end of this year. The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) believe that unemployment will reach 10% in 2010. Based on the recessions from the 1980s and 90s it takes nearly five years after a recession begins for employment to be back at the pre-recession levels, and with employment comes more spending power.

If you are waiting for house prices to rise significantly to get a better price for your home then you need to expect to wait a number of years as it will take this long for the economy to recover and for employment to return. Some economists believe that there could be a v-shape recovery, however others believe there could be a double-dip, or "W" recession, and thirdly that the recovery will be steady but very gradual. The latter two recovery types would have a particularly long lasting effect on employment and therefore spending, and therefore the housing market would also only slowly recover.

So you might want to try to sell before things get any worse! If you can sell quickly, that is in the summer months (avoid the run up to Christmas as this is traditionally the quietest period for estate agents) then you would need to prepare your house to sell and prepare a Home Information Pack at a cost of £250-450. Do you want to pay this much to try and sell your property?

If you are wanting to sell to buy another property in the same area then the fall in prices should be proportionate. If you wish to relocate to another area then you will need to research into the price falls of that area. You could be paying more for the same property or significantly less depending on the location.

There is unlikely to be a sustained recovery in house prices this year. There is a chance that prices could continue to rise in small degrees if demand continues to outstrip supply. Alternatively there will be a levelling out of small gains followed by small falls or most pessimistically, there could be more major price falls as unemployment rises. Next year house prices are likely to increase slightly as the economy begins to slowly recover.

There is very unlikely to be a return to the boom years of double-digit growth in the next few years so if you are waiting for major price growth then prepare to stay put for the medium term and make the most of where you are.


About the author: Debbie Morgan writes for the UK Property Search Engine, http://www.wheresmyproperty.com and http://www.renovatealerts.com, the site that finds property to renovate. Debbie also contributes to http://www.toddlerbedtimetips.com.


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