Having worked in estate agency for twenty years I’ve been around long enough to have seen most types of market. From my outset in 1999 until the banking crisis in 2008, I only really knew a rising market with lots of sellers and buyers. Looking back it was a vey good time to be an estate agent. I was fortunate to build a career off the back of a good market. However it was 2008 that I first experienced a large and sustained drop in prices, and it was also 2008 that I had my best ever year in terms of sales figures.
I learned a very quick lesson that being candid and honest with people from the outset was crucial, I also realised very quickly that the ten to twenty percent drop in prices that we saw that year was not actually, for most people, a bad thing. House prices are relative and therefore yours going down isn’t an issue as long as everything else goes down at the same rate. I realised that year the importance of seeing people face to face at an early stage and that giving them the reality of the situation was the most important way I could spend my time. Often, this was news people didn’t initially want to hear but once they realised they were going to be no worse off, it was always accepted by motivated sellers.
I cannot tell you the number of times people thanked me that year for having those difficult conversations with them. If we hadn’t discussed it, many of those people would not have been able to move at that time and would have been left sat on the market waiting for the recovery.
That was certainly a defining year for me and ever since I have always been proactive in terms of telling people what I believe to be true.
As we now go through another fairly difficult market I am reminded of 2008, whilst house prices are not dropping at an alarming rate they are gently decreasing. However, there are still plenty of buyers around. The biggest issue at the moment is people choosing not to go onto the market to try and sell. New instructions this year are lower than in previous and that in itself is helping support prices due to a lack of supply.
Over the next few months the political situation will play out and things will soon get back to normal as it always does. We have had many press hyped situations in the last ten years and each one causes people to question if now is a good time to sell which brings me on to my main message of this blog. It is the fear of an event that causes the market to slow far more than the event itself. If you are thinking of selling don’t wait and see. Yes you will sell for a little less now than you would have a year ago but you will buy for less too and be no worse off. In fact if you are moving up the ladder you will be better off than if you wait for a rising market.
I often describe the housing market as being recession proof, house prices will change and maybe fall but there are always people who need to move. Whilst there maybe fewer transactions there are always buyers ready and waiting and as long as the prices remain relative there is no such thing as a good or bad time to sell.