In recent weeks, you could have been forgiven for thinking that you’re not actually in the UK. Flash floods aside, the weather has been surprisingly good and even for us normally pessimistic Brits, the sun has brought an upbeat tone to us all…or maybe that’s just because we haven’t had to deal with a general election or referendum as has been the case in recent years!
Of course, we’re only in June so whether this weather sticks around until September remains to be seen. Personally speaking, I’m hoping it does as it’ll allow me time to spend precious time with the children and tinker with my other passion – classic cars!
However, in spite of the consensus often pointing towards high summer being no time for selling homes, I certainly won’t be checking out of the day job.
Search the internet for the best time to sell a property and there’s overwhelming pointers towards July and August experiencing a slump due to people being either away or busy juggling childcare over the school holidays. But by choosing to look at it that way, you’re disregarding eight weeks of the year or over 15% of total marketing time – in my mind, that’s madness!
Look again at the wise words of the internet; spring is almost universally heralded as a prime time to market a property. Gardens are in bloom, there is plenty of natural light which helps with impactful photography and family purchasers keen to complete before the return to school in September are in abundance.
I don’t believe, though, that those factors disappear in the high summer months. Whilst there may be an ebbing off of interested purchasers, there is still much to be gained by those wishing to sell a property before the autumn.
What those of us in the industry need to remember, is that the summer is an excellent time to have conversations with customers so that the property is correctly prepared for sale and offers are forthcoming by September. The fact remains that once schools return, attention switches to a completion before Christmas and with it taking an average of 16 weeks to complete a sale from offer, the summer is, in fact, THE time to crack on with it.
Price remains king in the current market and anyone looking to market a property in the summer months in particular needs to be mindful of this. That means that as agents, we need to ensure that a property placed on the market in the coming weeks is valued realistically if an offer is to be secured for August.
We should be seeking to fully understand the motivations of our clients – what are their reasons for selling; do they have strict timeframes in place; is achieving a certain price critical to their onwards plans?
Indeed, this is how we should always operate. A realistically valued property marketed well will, in most cases, receive offers quickly. An overpriced property with shoddy marketing, often wont – unless it’s located in a particularly sought-after area where other factors will play a significant role.
So yes, whilst the sun is out, it’s easy to turn attentions to afternoons spent in the garden, on the beach or in a pleasant pub garden and I hope we’ll all find time to enjoy these pleasures. But I for one, won’t be allowing them to detract from what I believe is a critical time in the property world.
To believe the summer offers us some respite is a dangerous position to assume.
*David Westgate is Group Chief Executive of Andrews Property Group