Timing your move: how to choose the perfect moment to sell
Published: 11/02/2021Have you ever wondered how to pick the perfect time to sell your home? It’s probably the question we’re asked the most when talking to people about their move.
But how do you pick your moment with so much conflicting advice? Should you exploit the new year rush, or sell in the spring when the blossom is on the trees? Is it better to get in before the summer holidays, or wait till the kids have gone back to school in September, or join the Boxing Day Bounce?
You’re certainly not alone if you’re a little confused, but there’s more to selling your home than picking the time of year. And while it’s not a scientific formula, there are elements worth considering when choosing when to move.
We are always happy to discuss your moving plans. If you’re considering selling your property and would like to talk about timescales, current demand or anything else you’re unsure of, our sales teams are here to help.
Meanwhile, let’s take a look at how you can choose a moment to sell that fits with your plans and finds you the perfect buyer. What you’ll discover is that it’s not just a matter of when you sell, but why and how you do it.
NEEDING MORE SPACE
The reason why most people move is outgrowing their existing home. That could be from accumulating stuff, to moving in with a partner, to starting or growing a family.
Perhaps the first question to ask is whether moving is your preference. If your current home offers you the potential to extend, would you rather stay where you are? Extending can save you all the costs of buying and selling; money you can spend on your building works instead.
But if moving is the more realistic option – or you’re excited about the prospect of living somewhere new – here are some things to consider.
If you’re expecting an addition to the family, you’ll want to avoid a move around the time of birth. Your best option is to aim to be in your new home a couple of months early, giving you plenty of time for settling in and preparing for your new arrival. Alternatively, wait until a few months after your baby is born when you’ve got your energy back.
Where older children are involved, and assuming no change of school, you’re free to move whenever you want. But look a bit further down the line from the move you’re considering now.
If you need an extra bedroom to give a teenager their own space, will you need to do the same again in another few years? If that’s the case, consider finding a house that your family can grow into. And if that’s too much of a jump, look for somewhere with potential to extend later on: a good-size loft, or space to the side, could give you extra bedrooms when you need them, as well as a longer-term family home.
Getting your children the best education could well mean moving to the catchment area of the school of your choice, or at least closer to it.
Everyone’s preference - from teachers, to parents, to children - is to avoid disrupting the school year, which means moving in the summer holidays between the end of July and the beginning of September.
The current average house move takes between 15 and 25 weeks: that’s from the first day on the market to the day of completion, so you’re looking at a 4-6 month timeframe. To be settled in nicely for the new school year, March is a sensible moment to put your home on the market.
Don’t worry about feeling you’ll need to move too soon. It’s far easier to agree a delayed completion when you give yourself the time to find the right buyer, than it is to be desperate for a fast mover if you leave things a little too late.
RELOCATING FOR WORK
An unexpected work opportunity may spring out of nowhere, leaving you feeling it’s a chance you shouldn’t pass up. But relocation is about so much more than career and salary. You’ll be saying goodbye to your current life – friends, neighbours and favourite places – so it really needs to be a move worth making, particularly if you’re happy in your home right now.
To get a real feeling of where you’d be moving to, spend a weekend there exploring and researching. Alongside practicalities like schools, shops and transport, make sure your free time will be fun and fulfilling. Do you like a lively cafe for weekend coffee and breakfast; do you want great local pubs with Sunday roasts and beer gardens; do you like to exercise in the great outdoors, or simply enjoy parks and green space? Think about the things in life you enjoy.
Your timing to sell will depend on when you take up a new position. If you’re looking to start very soon, renting out your home first could be your best option, with a view to selling later when you’re settled: this may also give you comfort if you feel you might return. Alternatively, a relocation package that includes out-of-pocket costs like rent, mortgage and fees, could make selling your home now a sound financial proposal.
You’ll have plenty to juggle, so speak to your estate agent about your preferred timescales and the current demand for homes like yours to decide whether selling or renting is right.
A house that’s become too large will be full of memories, and this can make the idea of moving a difficult thing to consider.
Perhaps now is a good moment to say that memories will follow you wherever you go; they don’t get left behind when you change your address and they can be even more joyous when free of those unused rooms filled with furniture and belongings.
If you’re already thinking about downsizing, it’s a sign that your home has become too much to manage, or no longer reflects your lifestyle. Nonetheless, it’s a big decision to sell.
A good way to know if it's right for you is to think about your future. Have you thought about moving to a cottage near the sea, or swapping a big old house for a modern apartment opposite a park or river? By concentrating your thoughts on new possibilities, you can see if they warm your heart. Perhaps you’ll see change in a different light.
Talking to an estate agent about the value of your current home, followed by a just-for-fun browse of what’s available in your dream location, will give you the knowledge and inspiration to choose your next step.
ON A WHIM
There you are on a Tuesday evening, casually scrolling through your favourite portal with Netflix on in the background, and suddenly there it is! The home of your dreams drifts onto your phone screen and, even though you weren’t really thinking about moving, that photo has got you hooked. There’s nothing else to be said; that’s where you want to live.
It’s not as rare or fantastical as it might seem, and while it might not fit with your estate agent’s advice – find a buyer for your current home before setting your heart on your next one – life has a habit of presenting opportunities in the moments we least expect them.
So you go to see the property, and it’s as wonderful and perfect as you’d hoped. You get on really well with the estate agent and the owners, you agree on a price, and they even give you some breathing space to get your property sold.
Now it’s time to get onto your estate agent and get your home on the market straight away. You’ll need to keep the people you’re buying from onside and patient, so this isn’t an occasion for being overly ambitious on price. When their estate agent phones your estate agent, they’ll want to hear confidence and realism to stick with your offer.
It can be easy and very tempting to over-strategise about the month, season or market conditions when it comes to selling your home, but the best guide to when the time is right is when it feels right for you. It’s your circumstances and your lifestyle that should always be the driving factors behind your move, and even though it could well be the largest financial transaction you ever make, moving home is about so much more than money.
If you’re looking to sell in 2021, we’d love to hear from you. You’ll always find an expert and friendly ear who’s happy to listen to your plans, and to help you find the right path.
Tring office: 01442 820420
Berkhamsted office: 01442 863000