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Can Estate Agents Lie About Offers & How To Spot Them

estate agent lying to customer

Can estate agents lie about offers?

Talking about estate agent lies and how you can spot them

Sell your house in 28 days

WRITTEN BY: tom condon ★ Digital Content Writer

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Can estate agents lie about offers?

Talking about estate agent lies and how you can spot them

Sell your house in 28 days

WRITTEN BY: Tom Condon ★ Digital Content Writer

arrow

Table of Contents

Unethical estate agents may lie about receiving multiple offers to create urgency or push you toward a quick decision. They may also steer you towards a particular buyer from whom they expect a higher commission. 

 

In this article we will discuss whether estate agents lie about offers on houses, why lying is unethical and what the role of The Property Ombudsman is in protecting consumers.

 

Key takeaways:

 

  • Estate agents lying about offers is unethical and against professional standards, but fabricating offers is illegal and punishable by UK law.
  • The Property Ombudsman provides a redress scheme to handle complaints, ensuring estate agents follow a strict code of conduct. 
  • Consumers can report dishonest practices to TPO, which can investigate and impose sanctions on non-compliant estate agents.
  • The Property Selling Company is an honest estate agent, operating under the TPO code of conduct.

Do estate agents lie about offers?

Yes, estate agents can and sometimes do lie about offers on a house. They may do this to create a sense of urgency, boost their commission, or gain an advantage in negotiations. However, there is a difference between lying about an offer and completely fabricating an offer. While both are unethical, fabricating an offer is outright illegal. 

 

In the UK, estate agents are required to be members of an approved redress scheme to handle complaints made by consumers. The Property Ombudsman is one such scheme, but it is not the only one. The two main redress schemes for estate agents are:

 

 

Membership in one of these schemes is mandatory for estate agents operating in the UK. Therefore, while estate agents do not have to be members of The Property Ombudsman specifically, they must be part of either TPO, PRS, or another government-approved redress scheme. This requirement ensures that consumers have a formal process to resolve disputes with estate agents. 

 

If an estate agent is operating without being a member of an approved redress scheme, they are in breach of the law and could be imposed with fines (up to £5,000 per breach) and legal action from Trading Standards. You should not sell your house with an estate agent not part of a Redress Scheme

 

The Property Ombudsman helps to protect customers by regulating estate agents and ensuring they follow strict ethical procedures. TPO provides a redress scheme for homesellers to resolve disputes with estate agents. Membership in the TPO is voluntary but highly regarded within the industry. Here’s how the TPO helps protect consumers:

 

  • Code of conduct: TPO members must follow a strict code of conduct which includes honest and transparent dealings regarding offers on properties. Lying about offers breaches this code. 

 

  • Complaint resolution: Consumers can file complaints with the TPO if they suspect misconduct such as lying or fabricating offers. The Property Ombudsman investigates these complaints thoroughly.

 

  • Disciplinary action: If an estate agent is found to have breached the code of conduct, the TPO can impose sanctions, including warnings, fines or even expulsion from the scheme. 

 

  • Consumer protection: By holding estate agents accountable, the TPO helps maintain trust in the housing market. Even though membership is voluntary, reputable agents often participate to demonstrate their commitment to ethical practices. 

 

While it is possible for estate agents to lie about offers, it is both unethical and against the code of conduct set by regulatory bodies like The Property Ombudsman. The Property Selling Company ensures a transparent process, providing you with an honest house valuation and real offers, helping you to avoid the pitfalls of dishonest estate agents.

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Is it illegal for estate agents to lie about offers?

It is not strictly illegal for estate agents to lie about offers, but it does violate a code of conduct set by The Property Ombudsman that they are expected to follow, especially if they are regulated. Lying about offers can still be misleading and unethical, but the legal repercussions may not be as severe unless it crosses into fraudulent behaviours. 

 

However, if an estate agent fabricates an offer, this is illegal. Under the Fraud Act 2006, fabricating an offer is considered Fraud by False Representation. This occurs when an estate agent:

 

  • Makes a false representation
  • Intends to gain personally or for their company
  • Intends to cause loss to their customer or expose anyone to a risk of loss

 

This constitutes a criminal offence and can result in severe legal consequences, including imprisonment and fines, although the later is more likely.

 

Here at The Property Selling Company, we pride ourselves on our honesty and transparency, ensuring that every offer presented to you is genuine and backed by our commitment to ethical practices, giving you peace of mind and confidence in the sale process.

Can you report estate agents for lying?

Yes, you can report estate agents to The Property Ombudsman if they lie to you about offers on your house. Here’s how you can do it and what you can expect from the process:

Gather all relevant evidence, including communications, emails and any documentation that supports your claim that the estate agent lied about your offers.

You can submit a complaint to the TPO through their website, by email, or by post. Make sure to provide all the necessary details and evidence. TPO will assess your complaint and determine if it falls within their jurisdiction and if the estate agent has breached the code of conduct.

TPO will conduct an initial assessment to understand the nature of your complaint. If required, TPO will conduct a detailed investigation which may involve gathering additional evidence and statements from both parties.

The Property Ombudsman aims to mediate and resolve the dispute between you and the estate agent. They will try to work towards a fair resolution, which often involves making recommendations or instructing the estate agent to take specific actions to rectify the situation.

 

If the estate agent is found to have lied and breached the code of conduct, TPO can impose sanctions. These can include formal warnings, compensation orders, fines or even expulsion from the scheme.

 

TPO’s decisions are binding on member estate agents. If the estate agent fails to comply, they can face further disciplinary actions.

Reporting unethical behaviour helps protect your interests and ensures that you receive fair treatment. By holding estate agents accountable, The Property Ombudsman helps maintain high standards within the housing sector. Reporting dishonest practices can deter other estate agents from engaging in similar behaviour.

 

If you believe an estate agent has lied to you about offers on your house, you have the right to report them to The Property Ombudsman. TPO will investigate your complaint, mediate the dispute and take appropriate actions to ensure a fair resolution.

 

With The Property Selling Company, you can rest assured that our transparent and straightforward approach means you won’t need to worry about dishonest practices or misrepresentation.

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Do estate agents lie about other offers?

Estate agents should not disclose specific details about other offers unless those offers have been rejected as too low, or the agent has explicitly stated that they are sharing this information with all parties involved.

 

Sharing such details selectively is unprofessional and unethical. However, it’s important to remain cautious as not all estate agents strictly follow these standards.

 

If an estate agent does inform you about another offer, approach this information with scepticism. They may be exaggerating or fabricating details to influence your decision. 

 

Unethical estate agents might lie about other offers to create a sense of urgency or to push you into making a higher bid. This can lead to a ‘knee-jerk’ reaction, where buyers panic and bid beyond their means to secure the deal. 

 

We avoid such practices by ensuring that all offers and information shared with you are accurate and verified, helping you make informed decisions without undue pressure. 

Do estate agents have to prove other offers?

Estate agents are not legally required to prove the existence of other offers unless they choose to disclose this information. If they do, they must ensure it is accurate and shared transparently with all parties involved.

 

Under the Estate Agents Act 1979, estate agents must act in the best interests of their clients and treat all parties fairly. They are not allowed to disclose specific details of other offers unless they have obtained permission from the parties involved. If they do share such information, it must be accurate and truthful.  

 

It is illegal for estate agents to provide false or misleading information about property offers or transactions. Doing so can result in regulatory action and penalties under the Estate Agents Act 1979. However, the Act does not specifically mandate the disclosure of specific details about other offers which can sometimes lead to confusion.

 

While the law may not explicitly require estate agents to provide proof of other offers, professional standards set by The Property Ombudsman demand that any information shared must be accurate. Estate agents should not fabricate or misrepresent offers, following ethical guidelines and maintain integrity in their dealings. 

 

Estate agents can discuss other offers without providing proof as long as the information is truthful and not intended to mislead. This approach helps maintain transparency while respecting confidentiality agreements and the privacy of other parties involved.

 

For serious breaches of the Estate Agents Act, the National Trading Standards Estate Agency Team (NTSEAT) can issue prohibition orders, preventing individuals from engaging in estate agency work and effectively ending their careers in the industry. This enforcement makes sure that estate agents operate within the legal framework and maintain high standards of professionalism. 

 

Here at The Property Selling Company, we make sure that all the information about offers is communicated transparently and accurately, giving you a clear and honest view of the market and potential buyers. 

Do agents lie about having offers?

Ethical estate agents typically won’t lie about receiving offers, but they may withhold or present information in a way that encourages potential buyers to act. For instance, they might say “the seller is considering other offers,” even if there is only one offer on the table. This creates a sense of competition without being entirely untruthful.

 

Sometimes, estate agents might even mention that the seller is about to accept sealed bids, prompting you to submit an offer quickly. This strategy is used to speed up the process, but it doesn’t necessarily mean there are multiple offers.

 

Most ethical estate agents avoid outright lies about the existence of offers because they understand the serious repercussions of such actions. Lying about offers can lead to loss of trust, damage to their reputation, and severe legal consequences under laws like the Estate Agents Act 1979 and the Fraud Act 2006. 

 

While they might use certain tactics to create urgency or encourage offers, outright fabrications are generally avoided by professionals who follow the strict guidelines of membership bodies like TPO.

 

The Property Selling Company is a member of The Property Ombudsman and ensures all claims about offers are truthful and verified, allowing you to make decisions based on accurate information. 

Can you ask for proof of another offer on a house in the UK?

Yes, you can ask for proof of another offer on a house. It is advisable to make this request in writing, either via post or email, to ensure you have documented evidence of your request. 

 

When you ask for proof, the estate agent must decide whether they wish to disclose the details of the offer to all parties involved. If the agent chooses to share this information, they must do so transparently and accurately with all potential buyers. 

 

Here at The Property Selling Company we value transparency and honesty. If you request proof of another offer, we will provide you with accurate and verifiable information to ensure you are fully informed throughout the process.

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How to tell if an estate agent is lying?

If you’re a house seller wondering if your estate agent is lying about offers or any other aspect of your house sale, there are a number of steps you can take to protect yourself:

Request written proof of any offers. This can be as simple as asking the estate agent to email you the details of the offer. You can also ask for a solicitor to verify and sign off on the offer’s authenticity.

 

If the estate agent is reluctant, ask specific questions about the offer, such as the buyer’s financing status, the proposed completion date and any contingencies. Genuine offers will usually have detailed and consistent information. 

 

But, if the estate agent outright refuses, it’s likely that the offer is fabricated.

 

While you sell your house via The Property Selling Company, we will make sure that any offer is handled transparently and efficiently, so you can trust the process without the need for constant verification.

Insist on full disclosure about all offers received. This includes knowing the exact terms and conditions of each offer. Keep all communications in writing, whether through email or formal letters. This creates a paper trail that can be useful if disputes arise. 

 

Transparency is one of our core values, which is why we take pride in ensuring all communications and offer details are clearly and promptly shared with you, making the selling process straightforward and honest.

Check online reviews on Trustpilot or Google, and testimonials about the estate agent. Look for patterns of complaints or praise that might indicate their reliability. If possible, talk to other clients who have worked with the estate agent. They can provide insights into the estate agent’s honesty and professionalism. 

 

Choosing The Property Selling Company means relying on a service with a strong reputation for integrity and positive client feedback, ensuring your experience is trustworthy and reliable.

Try to be present for viewings and interactions between your estate agent and potential buyers. This allows you to observe the estate agent’s behaviour and gauge the level of interest directly. Request feedback from viewers yourself and if your agent claims high interest, see if this matches the feedback you receive.

Estate agents aren’t limited to just lying about offers, here are some other common lies they may tell a seller, so you know what to look out for:

One lie you may hear is that your house is very popular, leading to numerous viewings. In reality the estate agent may be booking viewings back-to-back to create an illusion of high demand. They may even ask their friends to view your house and act interested to make it seem like your house has lots of interest.

To get you on their books in the first place, an estate agent may overvalue your house, especially if they know they’re competing against other estate agents. This can result in your house sitting on the market with little interest, eventually forcing you to lower the house price. Always do your own research and get multiple valuations. 

 

We provide realistic and competitive house valuations to help you achieve a timely and successful house sale, avoiding the issues surrounding overpricing.

An estate agent might claim their in-house mortgage advisor will offer the best deals, without disclosing that they receive a financial incentive for steering you towards their advisor. Always get the advice of a mortgage broker to ensure you get the best deal.

 

The Property Selling Company focuses solely on selling your home, without any hidden agendas or financial incentives, ensuring that your best interests are always our priority.

New estate agents might exaggerate their experience to gain your trust. If you find out they’ve lied about their expertise, it’s best to find a new estate agent as their integrity is questionable. 

 

Our team at The Property Selling Company is composed of experienced professionals of estate agents and property consultants, who provide honest and accurate representations, and have a century of combined industry experience.

Do estate agents have to be honest?

Estate agents are required to act in the best interest of their clients and must not provide false or misleading information. This is mandated by the Estate Agents Act 1979 and enforced by professional standards set by bodies like The Property Ombudsman. While estate agents are not legally obligated to disclose every detail, they must be truthful in their communications and actions. 

 

Estate agents are also obligated to disclose any material information that can affect the seller’s decision making. This includes data on potential buyers, the actual market value of the property, or any other relevant details. They must be transparent and provide accurate information to help sellers make informed decisions.

 

Estate agents must avoid making false representations about the property. Exaggerating its features or downplaying its faults is legally unacceptable. They must provide truthful and accurate descriptions in all communications and advertisements. 

 

Agents often come into possession of confidential information about sellers, such as reasons for selling, financial conditions or future plans. It is their legal duty to ensure this information remains private and not disclose any material information without the seller’s explicit consent.

 

Estate agents must put the seller’s interests first, avoiding any potential conflicts of interest. If representing both the buyer and the seller (dual agency), estate agents must disclose this fact to both parties and ensure transparent, fair dealings. 

 

We wouldn’t have been in business for over six years if we weren’t an honest estate agent. We make sure that we follow The Property Ombudsman’s code of conduct, and we take pride in making sure that you have a positive experience with us. 

 

Our process has been built to protect the rights of house sellers, and to protect the amount of profit and speed we can achieve for you. 

How to outsmart an estate agent?

An estate agent is less likely to ‘pull a fast one’ on a seller since technically they are working for you and their fee will be paid from the sale of your home. However, they may still prioritise their own interests, so be aware of common tricks and know how to deal with the tricks of the trade:

Be proactive and show that you are informed, willing to do your own research, and stay involved throughout the sale process, this can deter dishonest behaviour. 

 

You should try and ensure you and your estate agent have the same priorities, whether it’s getting the best price or selling quickly (with us you can do both). Communicate clearly and choose an estate agent who understands and supports your goals. 

 

At The Property Selling Company, we align our goals with yours, whether it’s securing the best price or achieving a quick sale (or both), ensuring a collaborative and transparent process.

Watch out for fee quotes without VAT. Fees must be shown inclusive of VAT (currently at 20%). Confirm the fee quoted includes VAT to avoid surprises later. 

 

We offer clear and transparent fee structures, inclusive of all charges, so you know exactly what to expect without any hidden costs – we cover all the house selling costs so you don’t have to.

Ask detailed questions about the actions the estate agent has taken to promote your house and be present for all viewings if possible.

 

One issue some homeowners meet is estate agents suggesting extra advertising at an additional cost if your house isn’t selling. Question why they haven’t already done everything to market your home and whether the extra cost is refundable if no offers come in. 

 

We offer a full estate agency service, which covers a comprehensive marketing strategy, meaning you won’t have to pay a penny when it comes to selling your home.

Check out the estate agents online reviews to gauge the reputation of your estate agent. If the estate agent says they are a member of a regulatory organisation like The Property Ombudsman or the National Association of Estate Agents, check on the bodies website, as they have a verified list. You can also speak to others who have used the same estate agent to learn about their experiences.

 

Our reputation for integrity and excellence is reflected in our positive reviews and memberships in The Property Ombudsman, providing you with peace of mind.

You will need to check the tie-in period in your contract. Four to twelve weeks is standard, anything longer can be unnecessary. Try and negotiate shorter terms if needed and remember you can renew the service if you’re satisfied with the estate agent.

If you remain concerned about an estate agent’s actions, contact The Property Ombudsman for further investigation. If dishonesty persists, consider moving to a different service provider. 

 

Choosing The Property Selling Company means you’re working with a team committed to transparency and honest practices, minimising the need for escalation and ensuring a smooth and trustworthy selling process.

We will cover all your selling fees

Where can you find an honest estate agent?

If you are looking for an ethical and honest estate agent, there are several steps you can take to ensure you find the right one. One of the first things you can do is use Google Maps to search for estate agents in your local area. 

 

Google Maps will provide you with a list of nearby estate agents, and you can easily access their profiles to read reviews. When reading reviews, it’s important to check not only the 5-star reviews but also the 1 and 2 star reviews to identify any recurring issues. 

 

Pay attention to comments about communication, reliability and overall service quality. Red flags to watch out for include frequent complaints about poor communication or accusations of dishonesty, as well as a perfect 5 star rating.

 

Once you have identified some potential estate agents with positive reviews, it is important to evaluate their overall ratings. Aim for estate agents with average ratings between 4 and 4.9 stars. 

 

This range usually indicates a reliable service and shows that the estate agent has managed to resolve issues professionally when they arose. Consistently high ratings, coupled with occasional constructive feedback, can be a good sign of a trustworthy estate agent. 

 

After narrowing down your options based on reviews and ratings, the next step is to check if the estate agents are members of The Property Ombudsman. Membership with The Property Ombudsman indicates that the estate agent follows a strict code of conduct and provides a redress mechanism if any issues arise.

 

This membership is a significant indicator of an estate agent’s commitment to ethical practices and makes sure your rights as a seller are protected. Knowing that an estate agent follows The Property Ombudsman’s standards can give you added peace of mind. 

 

It’s also important to consider the costs associated with selling your house via a local estate agent. Typically, selling with a local estate agent can involve substantial expenses. You might spend upwards of 16 weeks on the market, incur commissions up to 3% +VAT, and pay around £1,500 in solicitor fees. These costs can add up quickly so it’s important to factor them into your decision making process. 

 

As an alternative, you might consider selling with The Property Selling Company, which offers a more seamless and cost-effective process. We can help you sell your house fast in as little as 28 days and aim to achieve 95%+ of your market value. 

 

One of the key benefits of working with us is that we cover all your associated selling costs, including legal fees, making the process far more affordable. Additionally, we are members of The Property Ombudsman, and we follow high ethical standards.

 

With over six years of experience, a century of combined experience and hundreds of positive reviews, The Property Selling Company is part of one of the largest house-selling solutions in the UK, providing a reliable alternative to traditional estate agents.

Sell to an honest estate agent

Frequently Asked Estate Agent Questions

Estate agents are legally and ethically bound to provide accurate information about offers. Exaggerating offers can be considered misleading and is a violation of professional standards. 

 

However, while estate agents are supposed to act in the best interests of their clients, some might still exaggerate interest or the competitiveness of the market to prompt quicker decisions. It’s important to request written proof of offers to ensure transparency.

No, estate agents are not allowed to lie about offers. While it might not be strictly illegal in every instance it is certainly unethical and can violate professional codes of conduct. 

 

Estate agents who are members of professional bodies such as The Property Ombudsman must follow a strict code of conduct. This code requires honest and transparent dealing with clients, including truthful representation of offers.

 

The Property Ombudsman and similar organisations regulate estate agents and enforce these ethical standards. If an estate agent is found to be lying about offers, they can face disciplinary actions from these bodies, including warnings, fines or expulsion.

When dealing with estate agents, avoid disclosing your maximum budget, reasons for selling (such as financial difficulties), or your urgency to sell. Revealing too much can weaken your negotiating position. Keep discussions focused on the house and its value rather than your personal circumstances.

Yes, you can ask an estate agent about offers made on a house. While they may not provide exact details due to confidentiality agreements, they can give you a general idea about the level of interest and competitiveness. However, always request written verification to ensure this information is accurate.

Estate agents might undervalue properties to secure a quick house sale, especially if they have a high volume of listings and want to turn houses over quickly. This practice benefits the estate agent by earning commission faster but can significantly disadvantage the seller. It’s advisable to get multiple house valuations and conduct independent research to understand your property’s true market value.

Yes, estate agents are required to inform you about any offers on your home promptly. They must present all offers fairly and without delay, making sure you have all the necessary information to make an informed decision.

When handling multiple offers, an estate agent should maintain transparency and fairness. They should present all offers to the seller without bias and provide clear information about each other’s terms. The estate agent should not favour any particular offer unless instructed by the seller and must keep all parties informed throughout the process.

Yes, you can escape an estate agent contract but it depends on the terms outlined in the agreement. Most contracts have a tie-in period, usually between four and twelve weeks. If you are unhappy with the service, you should check the contract for any termination clauses and potentially negotiate an early exit. Always read the contract thoroughly before signing to understand your obligations and rights.

A phantom house offer is a fictitious offer made up by an estate agent to create a sense of urgency or competition among potential buyers. This unethical practice is intended to pressure buyers into making higher offers or quick decisions. If you suspect a phantom offer, ask for written proof and consult with other buyers or professionals.

The frequency of chasing your estate agent depends on the activity in the market and the stage of your sale. Generally, checking in once a week is reasonable. However, during critical times, such as when offers are being made or contracts are being exchanged, you might need to contact them more frequently. Open communication is key to ensuring you’re kept informed throughout the process.

Buyers can ask for the exact amounts of other offers, but estate agents are not obligated to disclose this information due to confidentiality and professional standards. Estate agents can provide general information about the level of interest and competitiveness but should maintain the confidentiality of individual offers.

Phantom bids, or fabricated offers, are considered unethical and are not common practice among honest estate agents. However, they can occur in competitive markets. If you suspect phantom offers, request written verification of offers and consider seeking advice from regulatory bodies like The Property Ombudsman.

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Taking a house off the market cause it won’t sell: Yes or no?

Taking a house off the market

Taking a house off the market because it won’t sell

Yes or no?

Tom Condon
Tom Condon ★ Digital Content Writer

Table of Contents

Deciding to take your house off the market can be a challenging and emotional decision, especially when it seems like no potential buyers are showing interest. The process of selling a home is not just a financial transaction but an emotional journey that can leave homeowners feeling stressed and frustrated when things don’t go as planned.

 

When a house sits on the market for an extended period of time without any offers, it can lead to the homeowner feeling exhausted. Luckily, it’s actually relatively easy to take your house off the market, which allows you to readjust or completely overhaul your selling strategy. 

Key takeaways:

  • Taking your house off the market can reset its market perception, allowing you time for repairs or waiting for better conditions to improve sale prospects.
  • Reassess your selling strategies, including price, condition, and agent performance, to enhance market appeal and increase the likelihood of a successful sale.
  • Modern estate agents, like The Property Selling Company, offer flexible, free options and can help you sell your house far faster than traditional agents.

Should I take my house off the market?

Selling your home is often an emotionally charged process. When a house lingers on the market without any bites, it can cause you significant stress and frustration.

 

The emotional toll can include feelings of rejection and disappointment, as each passing day without an offer can make you question the value and appeal of your home. Moreover, the constant need to keep the house in show-ready condition adds to the ongoing stress. 

 

Financially, the costs can be even more severe. The costs of maintaining a property including mortgage payments, property taxes, utilities, and upkeep – continue to mount. For homeowners who have already moved out or who are managing two mortgages, these costs can become overwhelming.

 

Additionally, if you are looking to buy a new home, the delay in selling the current home can disrupt these plans, potentially leading to missed opportunities or higher costs in the new purchase. 

 

If you are thinking about switching your estate agent, using a modern estate agent like The Property Selling Company can help streamline your house selling process. Making it easier to attract buyers quickly through our digital marketing and broader online visibility, reducing the emotional and financial toll of a prolonged sale.

We can help you sell, no matter the market

How easy is it to take my house off the market?

Deciding to take your house off the market is entirely within your rights and can be fairly easy. If you change your mind about selling, or if you want to reassess your marketing strategy, as long as you do it before any contracts are exchanged, you can withdraw your house from the market without significant consequences. 

 

Your estate agent or solicitor might express dissatisfaction or charge a withdrawal fee, but this is usually the extent of their recourse.

 

Although potential buyers may be disappointed, they have no legal grounds for complaint if contracts have not been exchanged. This flexibility can be particularly beneficial if you need to reassess your selling strategy, address any issues with your house, or wait for more favourable market conditions.

 

If, when you take your house off the market, you decide to switch agents, using a modern online estate agent can further simplify this process. These estate agents often provide greater flexibility for listing and delisting your home, allowing you to manage your sale with less hassle and more control.

 

Additionally, if you sold your house with The Property Selling Company, you would face no legal or marketing fees, as we cover these for you. So although you may have fees from your last estate agents, you won’t face any when you sell your house with us. 

 

How do you take your house off the market?

Taking your house off the market is generally fairly straightforward, but it’s important that you communicate effectively with your estate agent and fulfil any contractual obligations. Here is a step by step guide on how to take your house off the market:

1. Review your contract:

 

Carefully review your contract with your estate agent to understand any terms and conditions related to withdrawing your property from the market. Look for clauses about fixed contract periods, withdrawal fees, or notice periods.

 

Determine if there are any obligations or penalties for taking your house off the market early. This could include early termination fees or non-refundable marketing costs. 

2. Communicate with your estate agent:

 

You will need to provide a written notice to your estate agent, informing them of your decision to take your house off the market. This can be done via email or a formal letter.

 

It can be helpful to explain your reasons for withdrawing your property, whether it’s due to market conditions, personal circumstances, or dissatisfaction with the estate agent’s performance. 

3. Confirm withdrawal fees:

 

Ask your estate agent to clarify any fees associated with taking your house off the market.

 

Ensure you understand the total cost and any additional charges that may apply.

 

In some cases, you might be able to negotiate a reduction in withdrawal fees, especially if you plan to relist with the same estate agent in the future. 

 

4. Update listings:

 

Ensure that all online listings of your property are removed. This includes property portals like Rightmove and Zoopla, the estate agent’s website, any online email marketing lists, and any other platforms where your house is advertised. 

 

Double-check that your house has been removed from all listings to avoid confusion or continued inquiries from potential buyers.

 

5. Inform potential buyers:

 

If there are any interested buyers who have viewed your property or made inquiries, inform them through your estate agent that the property is no longer on the market. 

 

Providing a brief reason for the withdrawal can help maintain a positive relationship with potential buyers for future opportunities. 

 

6. Plan your next steps:

 

Take the time to reassess market conditions and determine the best time to relist your house if you plan to sell in the future. Consider making any necessary repairs or updates to your house to increase its marketability when you decide to relist.

 

If you were dissatisfied with your previous estate agent, consider consulting with other professionals, like The Property Selling Company, to find one that better suits your needs.

 

7. Use a modern estate agent:

 

Modern estate agents provide more flexibility and transparent contract terms, often with lower withdrawal fees, making it less costly to take your house off the market. However, with The Property Selling Company, you likely won’t need to worry about withdrawing your listing, as we can help your house sell in as little as 28 days.

Sell your house in as little as 28 days, for free

Why should a house be taken off the market?

If your home isn’t selling, taking your house off the market is an option, but it should not be a decision made lightly. There are a few situations where this might be beneficial:

If your home has been on the market for over three months with little to no interest, it might be time to rethink your listing. Prospective buyers may think something is wrong with the property, making it less likely to achieve the full asking price. Removing your house and re-listing it at a later date might actually help your sale.

 

A modern estate agent like The Property Selling Company can provide you with real-time market analytics and data-driven insights, helping you re-list your home at the best time to attract serious buyers quickly.

If buyers have been concerned by major structural work, you have two main options; reduce the price substantially or complete the work yourself. Structural issues are common reasons for house sales falling through, so taking your house off the market to address these issues could be wise. 

 

Here at The Property Sourcing Company, we have a multitude of pre-vetted buyers, some of which are cash buyers and investors looking to renovate homes themselves. This means that you could sell the house “as-is”, without having to renovate yourself.

If your house sale is stagnating, it might be sensible to adjust your asking price. Most enquiries and viewings take place in the first few weeks of a listing, so starting with a realistic asking price is key. Compare with similar listings in your neighbourhood and consult with your estate agent on the appropriate price for your property.

With advanced pricing tools and a team of underwriting experts, our estate agents can help you set a competitive and attractive price right from the start, increasing the chances of a quicker sale.

If you’re unhappy with your estate agent due to poor listings, communication or professionalism, it might be time to search for new representation. Make sure you have discussed your concerns with your estate agent first, but if issues persist, switching estate agents could be beneficial.

 

Because we are part of one of the UK’s leading house selling solutions, we put great pride into dealing with our customers, which is why you should experience better communication, and easier processes.

If there are more homes on the market than interested buyers, you could be in a buyer’s market. It might be worth pausing your sale and relisting when conditions are more favourable. Pay attention to larger market factors, as these can significantly impact the amount of property transactions completed.

If your house is not comparable to others at a similar price point, you may need to update important areas like the kitchen or bathroom. Taking your house off the market can give you the time and space to make improvements. Consult with your estate agent about feedback from viewings and what buyers are looking for in your area.

 

Alternatively, you can sell your home as-is through our database of pre-vetted buyers who can buy your house with cash, bridge finance or pre-approved mortgages, in much faster timelines than traditional buyers.

What market conditions might influence your decisions?

Market conditions can significantly influence the decision to take your house off the market. One important factor is whether you are in a buyer’s or seller’s market. In a buyer’s market, there are more homes available for sale than there are buyers. This oversupply can lead to longer listing times and lower offers, making it wise to consider taking your house off the market and waiting for conditions to improve. 

 

Conversely, in a seller’s market, where there are more buyers than available homes, prices can be driven up, and the time your house stays on the market can be reduced. If you initially listed your home in a less favourable market, waiting for a shift to a seller’s market might yield better results.

 

Economic conditions also play a significant role. During a recession, potential buyers may be more hesitant to purchase homes due to economic uncertainty, leading to slower sales. On the other hand, in a booming economy, there might be more buyers with the financial means to purchase a home, increasing demand.

 

Similarly, changes in interest rates can affect buyer affordability. Higher interest rates can lead to higher mortgage payments, reducing the number of qualified buyers, while lower interest rates can increase buyer affordability and demand, potentially making it a better time to list your home.

 

Because our estate agents have access to real time data on market trends and economic conditions, we can help your house sell, no matter the time of year. We have a multitude of selling options available, some of which can help you sell your house in as little as 7 days. If you want to find out more, get in touch with us!

We have pre-vetted buyers, who will buy when you’re ready

What happens if I take my house off the market?

When you take your house off the market, you may temporarily lose buyer visibility but this allows you to regroup and strengthen your market perception. By taking a break, you can address any issues and make necessary improvements. When you relist your home later, you can do so with renewed commitment and a stronger, more attracting listing:

In the short term

Removing your house from the market can provide immediate relief from the stress and pressure of trying to sell. You no longer have to keep your home in show-ready condition or accommodate viewings.

This pause allows you to step back and assess your selling strategy, while giving you the opportunity to analyse why your home hasn’t sold and what changes may be necessary.

Taking your home off the market for a period can help reset its market perception. When you eventually relist, it can appear as a fresh listing to potential buyers, free from the stigma of a property that has been on the market too long.

In the long term

The longer your home remains unsold, the more financial obligations you continue to bear, including mortgage payments, property taxes, insurance and maintenance costs. Holding onto the property longer can strain your finances, especially if you have already moved into a new home or are carrying two mortgages.

Market conditions might improve over time. By waiting, you might be able to sell in a more favourable market, potentially securing a better price and faster sale. 

Use the time to invest in necessary repairs and upgrades that can increase your home’s property value. This may lead to a higher selling price and more interest when you relist.

Do estate agents charge if you take property off the market?

When you sign a contract with an estate agent to sell your home, it’s important to understand the terms related to taking your house off the market. These contracts usually include clauses that outline the obligations of both the seller and the estate agent. Some top points to consider include:

Fixed contract period

Many estate agents will have a fixed contract period during which they have exclusive rights to market your property. This period can vary but it is usually between 8 and 16 weeks. During this time, taking your house off the market may be restricted or you may incur fees. 

 

If you decide to take your house off the market before the fixed contract period ends, you may be required to pay an early termination fee. This fee compensated the estate agent for the time and resources spent marketing your home. 

Exclusive selling rights

Some contracts give the estate agent the exclusive selling rights, meaning that even if you find a buyer independently, you still owe the estate agent their commission. This clause often impacts whether you can take the property off the market without penalties. 

Notice period

Contracts often specify a notice period (e.g. two weeks) required to terminate the agreement. During this notice period, you are obligated to continue marketing the property with the estate agent.

Marketing costs

Some estate agents charge upfront fees for marketing your property, like professional photography, online listings, and brochures. If you withdraw your house from the market, you may not be refunded these costs.

Commission fees

If your contract includes a clause for exclusive selling rights, you might still owe the estate agent their commission if you take the property off the market and then sell it privately within a certain period.

What are your options when house taken off the market because it won’t sell?

If you’ve decided to take your house off the market because it isn’t selling, you still have several options to explore, from renting out the property, to increasing its marketability and switching estate agents, or even house selling method.

Rent out the property

Renting out your home can provide a steady income stream while you wait for market conditions to improve. This approach can help you cover mortgage payments, property taxes and maintenance costs, reducing your financial strain.

 

But, becoming a landlord comes with responsibilities, such as maintaining tenants, maintaining a property, and complying with rental laws. You may also want to consider hiring a letting’s company to handle these tasks if you prefer a hands-off approach.

Make repairs & relist

By addressing structural issues, updating rooms like kitchens and bathrooms, and enhancing curb appeal, you can make your house feel more attractive to buyers. High-quality renovations can also justify a higher asking price. 

 

Before undertaking major renovations or upgrades, you will need to assess the costs and ensure they are financially viable. Focus on improvements that offer the highest return on investment, and try not splash unnecessary cash.

 

Relisting your house when market conditions are more favourable can increase the likelihood for a quick sale at a better price. For example, Spring and early Summer are typical peak seasons for housing, with more active buyers. 

 

When you do relist the property, it can appear as a new listing, attracting fresh interest from buyers. Updating your listing with new, high-quality photos and a compelling description can make a significant difference. 

 

Change estate agents

Sometimes, a fresh perspective from a different estate agent can make a significant difference. A new estate agent might have different marketing strategies, a broader network or a better understanding of current market trends. 

 

Before switching estate agents, review your current contract to understand any termination fees or obligations. Research new estate agents thoroughly, looking for those with a strong track record in your area.

 

Switch selling method

If traditional estate agents haven’t worked, consider alternative selling methods. These include selling to cash house buyers or through house auctions. 

 

Cash house buyers can offer a quick and hassle-free sale often completing the purchase within a few weeks. This can be ideal if you need to sell urgently or want to avoid the lengthy process of a traditional sale. 

 

Cash offers are usually lower than market value, as buyers factor in the speed and convenience of the transaction. Ensure you deal with reputable companies to avoid scams. 

 

Selling your house at an auction on the other hand can be a fast and transparent process. Auctions attract serious buyers who are ready to buy quickly, and there’s often a sense of urgency that can drive up the price.

 

There is a risk that your house might sell for less than expected. Auction fees can also be higher compared to traditional sales methods. Make sure to set a reserve price to avoid underselling your home. 

 

Taking your house off the market doesn’t mean the end of your selling journey. Instead, it provides an opportunity to reassess and implement strategies that can enhance your chances of a successful sale in the future.

What are you waiting for? Sell the easy way…

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Will the Spring Budget 2024 help me sell my house?

Houses of Parliament

Will the Spring Budget 2024 help me sell my house?

Jeremy Hunt has announced the Spring Budget 2024, but what does it mean for house sellers?

Tom Condon
Tom Condon ★ Digital Content Writer

Table of Contents

The Spring Budget 2024 aimed to stimulate the economy through various measures, but its impact on the housing market and your ability to sell your house is complex and depends on your specific situation.

 

While some aspects might benefit sellers, others could pose challenges, especially depending on your specific property types and locations. 

 

In this article we will cover the advantages and disadvantages of the budget for home sellers, and also dive into the broader economic landscape to help you understand whether the budget might contribute to a faster economic recovery and potentially benefit households in the long run.

What things do you need to know from the Spring Budget 2024?

The Spring Budget focused on stimulating economic growth by reducing taxes, freezing fuel duty and supporting specific sectors like finance and the NHS, helping to digitalise them into the 21st century. 

 

The Spring Budget aimed to reduce taxes primarily through the National Insurance cut, changes to Capital Gains Tax, freezing fuel duty which aims to ease cost pressures faced by individuals and businesses and support the new British ISA and continued funding for green energy projects. 

 

While the Spring Budget 2024 announced many changes to the broader economic landscape of the UK, here are some key announcements which stood out:

For individuals:

  • National Insurance Cut: A further 2p cut in National Insurance, reducing it from 10% to 8% for employees and from 8% to 6% for the self-employed, aiming to put more money in people’s pockets.
  • Changes to child benefits: Increased threshold for claiming full or partial child benefits, potentially benefiting up to 500,000 families with children.
  • Fuel duty freeze extended: Continued freeze on fuel duty until March 2025, offering some relief for motorists facing rising fuel costs. 
  • New British ISA launched: Introduction of a new ISA with a £5,000 annual allowance specifically for investing in UK assets, offering tax-free returns.

For businesses:

  • Higher rate of Capital Gains Tax on property sales reduced: Reduction from 28% to 24%, potentially benefiting higher-rate taxpayers selling property.

     

  • Scrapped tax benefits for holiday lets: Abolition of tax breaks for those renting out properties to tourists, potentially impacting the holiday rental market. 

     

  • Threshold for VAT registration raised: Increased from £85,000 to £90,000, offering some relief for small businesses.

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Was the Spring Budget 2024 a good thing?

The reality of the 2024 Spring Budget is that it is a mixed bag, as the budget aims to stimulate economic recovery and offers some relief to households, which could be beneficial in the short term. But critics argue it doesn’t address long-term challenges like public services, fiscal sustainability, and tax reform, which are vital for long-term economic health.

 

If you prioritise immediate economic recovery and household relief, you might see this budget announcement as a positive step. But if you prioritise addressing underlying economic issues like public service performance and fiscal sustainability, you might see it as lacking in that regard.

Is the economy recovering?

The OBR’s revised growth forecast suggests the Spring Budget might contribute to a faster economic recovery from the recent recession, benefiting businesses and employment. With measures like the reduced Capital Gains Tax and adjustments to First Time Buyers’ relief putting more money in the pockets of individuals and families, boosting consumer spending and confidence.

 

The budget also aims to increase the housing supply in the long run through its various investment zones which could benefit the housing market in the future.

 

However, The impact of so many measures, particularly those related to housing, is uncertain and might have both positive and negative consequences depending on what economic landslide decides to hit us next. 

 

Critics argue that the budget doesn’t adequately address long-term challenges like public services and fiscal sustainability which are important for long-term economic health. They even argue that measures like the reduced CGT rate will only benefit wealthier individuals, which exacerbates existing inequalities.

What are all the tax changes announced in the Spring Budget?

  • The National Insurance (NI) cut: Aims to give more people more take-home pay, in order to boost consumer spending. 
  • The Fuel duty cut: Helps reduce transportation costs for individuals and businesses reliant on fuel. 
  • Non-domiciled resident (non-dom) tax reform: This aims to raise revenue from people who claim non-domiciled status for tax purposes.
  • New tax on vaping products: This could generate tax revenue while potentially discouraging vaping. 
  • Long-term impact on tax reform: The overall effect of these challenges on long-term plans for reforming the tax system is unclear. It’s difficult to say if they represent a cohesive strategy or a collection of isolated measures.
  • Fiscal sustainability: Whether these changes will contribute to long-term fiscal sustainability (manageable debt and spending) is also uncertain. Tax cuts might lower revenue, while the impact of tax rises and new taxes is yet to be seen.
  • Fuel duty freeze: The continued freeze on fuel duty, despite promises of future increases, highlights the difficulty of implementing unpopular tax measures, even if they might be fiscally responsible in the long run. This prioritises short-term political considerations over long-term fiscal strategies.

What about the government’s fiscal headroom?

The budget’s measures have slightly narrowed the space available for the government to take on additional spending in the future. This limits their ability to respond to unexpected events or invest in essential services.

 

The budget highlights the limitations of the UK’s current fiscal framework, raising concerns about its ability to manage the country’s finances effectively.

 

The budget also demonstrates the difficulty of balancing the desire for tax cuts with the need for fiscal sustainability, which is the ability to maintain a manageable level of debt and spending in the long run.

 

Critics argue that the budget missed an opportunity to address fundamental fiscal challenges such as underperformance in public services and stabilising the national debt.

How will the budget impact public service spending?

Well, the good news is that the budget doesn’t significantly cut public spending, with even a minor increase for the digitisation of the NHS, suggesting that there is a commitment to maintaining basic service provision.

 

But, maintaining spending levels may not be enough to address existing issues and meet rising demands, which could lead to continued strain on all public services (education, infrastructure, and social care). 

 

The Budget suggests a lack of significant improvement in public service performance before the election. This coupled with the limited budget increase, might lead to public dissatisfaction with the government’s efforts to address public service concerns.

 

Some critics of the budget suggest a bleak outlook for spending on non-protected services from April 2025, suggesting potential cuts or slower growth in funding for these services.

What are the prospects for household finances in 2024?

The overall household finances in 2024 may see a slight improvement, but significant challenges remain. Real incomes are likely to stay below pre-pandemic levels, and the impact of the budget measures might be limited.

 

The OBR forecasts a slight rise in disposable income per person for the 2024/25 tax year. This means people might have a little more money left after taxes to cover their expenses. 

 

Disposable income is expected to reach pre-pandemic levels by the following year, suggesting a potential recovery from the financial impact of the pandemic. This tied with the National insurance cut is set to contribute to a higher post-tax income for individuals across the country.

 

But, the increase in disposable income is forecast to be modest, meaning it may not change the financial situation for many households. The freeze on income tax and national insurance thresholds could counteract some of the benefits of the national insurance cut, as people might end up paying more tax due to inflation pushing them into higher tax brackets. 

 

Even with the projected rise, real incomes (adjusted for inflation) are still expected to be lower than they were at the start of the government’s term in 2019. This suggests a potential decline in purchasing power for many households.

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How does the Spring Budget 2024 impact property?

While the Spring Budget offers some potential benefits for selling Buy To Let properties, it also introduces challenges for MDR and FHL’s. Meanwhile, the focus on new home developments presents both opportunities and risks. Let’s dive deeper into each property type and understand how the budget might impact them.

Buy To Let property

As we have mentioned previously, the reduction in the higher rate of CGT directly benefits landlords and investors selling Buy To Let properties. This could make selling these properties more financially attractive, potentially leading to increased BTL property transactions and earlier sales.

 

Landlords might be more involved in selling their Buy To Let properties if they can keep a larger portion of the profit due to the lower tax rate. This could increase the overall number of BTL properties on the market. 

 

Also, landlords who were previously holding onto properties might decide to sell sooner to take advantage of the lower CGT rate. 

 

But, the increased number of BTL properties for sale could lead to increased competition among sellers, putting a downward pressure on selling prices. Increased sales could lead to a temporary oversupply, but it could also encourage new investors to enter the market if they see opportunities.

Multiple Dwellings

Multiple Dwellings offered a tax advantage for buyers purchasing multiple residential properties in a single transaction. This reduced the overall Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) liability compared to buying them individually. 

 

Without MDR, the SDLT for buying multiple dwellings at once will be significantly higher. This could discourage bulk property purchases, especially for larger landlords who might have previously used MDR to their advantage.

 

This measure could have a significant impact on the Buy-To-Let sector, where investors often buy multiple properties to build their portfolio. The higher upfront cost due to increased SDLT might deter some investors from entering the market or limit the number of properties they can acquire.

Furnished Holiday Lettings

The Furnished Holiday Lets offered several tax advantages, including; lower capital gains tax rate on property sales, relief from income tax on rental profits and the ability to offset mortgage interest and other expenses against rental income.

 

With the abolition of the FHL scheme, these tax benefits will be discontinued, making FHL properties less attractive as investments. This could lead to:


  • Reduced profitability: Businesses and investors relying on FHL income might see a significant decrease in profits due to higher tax burdens.
  • Increased selling activity: Some owners might choose to sell their FHL properties as they become less profitable, potentially leading to an increased supply of properties on the market.
  • Market shift: The abolishment could discourage new entrants and potentially lead to a shrinkage of the FHL market in the long run.

 

The increased availability of former Furnished Holiday Letting properties could benefit renters in areas struggling with a shortage of long-term rentals, as the intended consequence of the policy is to push these properties into the long-term rental market. 

 

However, the short-term impact might be increased competition among renters, potentially leading to higher rents in some areas due to the sudden influx of available properties.

New Home Developments

The Spring Budget’s focus on building one million homes by the end of the Parliament suggests a potential boost for new home developments, but the impact on the market remains uncertain.

 

The government’s commitment to building one million homes could lead to an increased supply of new properties. This could benefit first-time buyers and potentially moderate price growth for new builds in the long run.

 

The budget mentions specific areas like Canary Wharf, Blackpool, Sheffield, Liverpool and Cambridge. This suggests a focus on rejuvenating areas and addressing housing shortages in those locations. 

 

Building one million homes is an ambitious target, and achieving it within the Parliament’s time frame might be challenging. Delays in construction could limit the short-term impact on housing supply.

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Will the Spring Budget 2024 help me sell my house?

The Spring Budget 2024’s impact on whether you will be able to sell your house is complicated and completely depends on your circumstances. While some aspects of the budget support sellers, others pose challenges, especially if you are looking to sell a property investment.

What are the benefits of the Spring Budget for house sellers?

While the 2024 Spring Budget didn’t introduce sweeping changes specifically targeted at house sellers, it does offer a couple of potential benefits:

The higher rate of Capital Gains Tax on property sales has been reduced from 28% to 24%. This means you’ll keep more of the profit from the sale of your house if you’re a higher-rate taxpayer. 

 

Sellers who are liable for Capital Gains Tax might keep a larger portion of their profits due to the reduced tax rate. This could be especially relevant for sellers who fall under the higher tax band. 

 

But, it’s important to note that you may not be eligible for this CGT reduction due to Private Residence Relief. This relief exempts most people from paying Capital Gains Tax on the sale of their main residence, so the reduced tax rate will only apply if you are selling a second property.

The budget includes measures like extending the Mortgage Guarantee Scheme and adjustments to First Time Buyers’ relief, which could incentivise more people to buy and increase the pool of potential buyers. 

 

Currently, some landlords might choose to keep their properties as holiday lets due to the tax advantages of the Furnished Holiday Lettings (FHL) scheme. 

 

In the Spring Budget, Mr Hunt announced that they were to abolish this scheme, which might result in landlords selling these properties or converting them to long-term rental properties. This in turn could create a larger pool of potential buyers looking for residential or long-term rental properties. 

 

But, it’s important to note that in the short term, the FHL scheme abolishment will cause a flood of properties onto the market as many landlords look to sell first before looking for their next properties.

The abolition of Multiple Dwellings Relief has the potential to benefit house sellers in a few ways, like increasing the amount of potential buyers within the market. 

 

Previously MDR offered tax advantages for buying properties in bulk. With its removal, investors might shift their strategy towards buying individual properties. This could lead to a larger pool of potential buyers for individual houses on the market. 

 

While a larger pool of buyers might sound universally positive, it could also lead to increased competition among them. This competition could drive up asking prices or even encourage bidding wars, potentially leading to a better selling price for house sellers.

 

Furthermore, an increased number of buyers interested in individual properties could mean houses spend less time on the market, potentially resulting in faster sales for sellers. 

 

However, this potential benefits needs to be considered alongside:

 

  • Increased availability of long-term rentals: The scrapping of tax breaks for holiday lets could potentially lead to more properties becoming available for long-term rentals, which may increase competition as buyers have more options. 
  • Uncertainty over future measures: While not announced in this budget, the government might consider measures like Stamp duty cuts or support schemes for first-time buyers in future budgets to address housing affordability concerns.

What are the negatives of the Spring Budget for house sellers?

While the Spring Budget 2024 prioritises curbing inflation, some measures might indirectly impact the housing market, particularly for property investors and owners of multiple properties. Concerns have been raised that these individuals could face a reduced pool of potential buyers.

As we established previously, the MDR used to offer a tax break for bulk property purchases. Without this relief, the overall Stamp Duty Land Tax cost for buying multiple properties at once becomes higher. This could discourage some investors who previously might have been interested in buying multiple properties in a single transaction.

 

A smaller pool of potential bulk buyers could lead to:


  • Difficulty finding a buyer: Sellers looking to offload multiple properties at once might face challenges finding a buyer willing to take on the entire package potentially leading to longer selling times.
  • Lower selling price: With fewer interested buyers, sellers might have to negotiate a lower price to attract a buyer willing to handle the higher SDLT costs without the MDR relief.

Currently, some investors might be specifically interested in acquiring holiday lets due to the tax advantages offered by the FHL scheme. Abolishing the scheme could make these properties less attractive to them, potentially reducing the pool of interested buyers for these sellers. 

 

With a potentially smaller pool of buyers and potentially less competition, sellers might have to lower their asking prices to attract buyers who are no longer motivated by the FHL benefits.

 

In the worst case scenario, if there’s a significant decrease in investor interest in holiday lets due to the abolished FHL scheme, some sellers might face difficulty finding buyers altogether, leading to longer selling times.

A lower CGT rate might incentivise more sellers to list their properties, increasing competition amongst higher bracket sellers. This could be particularly problematic in areas with an already saturated market or an oversupply of houses.

 

With more sellers competing for a limited pool of buyers, it could lead to pressure on selling prices, potentially forcing some sellers to accept lower offers than they might have otherwise. 

 

An increased number of sellers could add to the current buyer’s market in some areas, with sellers competing for fewer buyers. This situation could result in longer selling times and potentially lower selling prices for some sellers, particularly those in areas with oversupply.

How might the Budget impact supply & demand?

Sellers in both sellers’ markets and buyers’ markets will need to adapt their strategies. While the budget may have a limited effect in local sellers’ markets, it could increase supply and benefit buyers in struggling markets. 

 

In a sellers’ market, the CGT reduction may incentivise listings, but high demand might absorb any increase in supply, keeping prices high. Whereas in a buyers’ market, the CGT reduction will have a modest impact, encouraging hesitant sellers to sell, increasing inventory and affecting local house prices.

 

The Multiple Dwellings Relief abolishment will have a limited impact within sellers’ markets due to strong demand, but it could affect bulk purchase strategies. In a buyer’s market, this will benefit buyers looking for single-property purchases but it will slow the overall market down.

 

The Furnished Holiday Let changes will increase seller market inventories, likely absorbing quickly with minimal price impact, but in buyers markets, the significant shift to long-term rentals or sales, may lead to oversupply and further price downward pressure.

 

If you are a seller looking to sell your house quickly in the current market, then why not sell with us? We are a leading online estate agent that can help you sell your house quickly, in as little as 28 days. 

We will cover all your estate agent, marking and legal fees, and help you achieve full market value for your property. Don’t believe us? Contact one of our team today for more information on the service. Just click the button below!

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Do virtual house tours help sell houses & are they worth it UK?

virtual house tour

Do virtual house tours help sell houses & are they worth it UK?

Exploring the advantages & disadvantages of virtual house tours

Tom Condon
Tom Condon ★ Digital Content Writer

Table of Contents

Imagine you’re scrolling through property listings, but instead of just pictures and descriptions, some let you virtually step inside and explore every room at your own pace. This is the magic of virtual house tours, and they’re changing the game in the UK’s housing market.

 

Only a decade ago, viewing houses meant scheduling appointments, driving around, and squeezing into crowded open houses. But with the rise of technology and a little help from a global pandemic, virtual tours have gone from a cool-extra to a must-have for luxury listings.

 

Now you can visit your dream home from the comfort of your living room, anytime you like. No need to worry about traffic or clashing schedules. Virtual tours let you get a feel for the space, get a glimpse of the neighbourhood and imagine yourself living there. 

 

But are they all sunshine and rainbows? Well, not quite. The effectiveness of a virtual tour depends on the type of property and the quality of the tour itself. A low-quality tour might leave you feeling more confused than connected.

 

In this article, we’ll dive deep into the world of virtual house tours. We’ll explore their origins, effectiveness, and suitability for different properties. We’ll also unveil the secrets behind creating high-quality tours, promoting them effectively, and figuring out the costs involved.

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What is a virtual house tour?

Imagine exploring a property from the comfort of your sofa, without ever leaving your home. That’s where virtual house tours come in. These tours are essentially digital representations of a property, allowing potential buyers or renters to explore the space online.

 

Virtual tour for houses are used to support other marketing activities when it comes to selling a house. They offer a three-dimensional house tour which can be viewed from any technological platform.

Why did virtual house tours become so popular?

The rise of virtual house tours can be attributed to several factors, including:

 

  • During the COVID-19 pandemic, social distancing measures and restrictions on in-person interactions made homes with virtual tours an important tool. 
  • The growing trend towards remote work and living led to a demand for flexibility and convenience. Virtual tours allowed people to explore properties from anywhere in the world, eliminating geographical limitations. 
  • As technology evolved, so did virtual tours. High-quality 3D tours, 360-degree panoramic views, and even virtual reality experiences became readily available, offering a more realistic and engaging experience compared to earlier versions.

 

Overall, virtual house tours have become increasingly popular due to a combination of factors related to the pandemic, technological advancements, and changing consumer preferences. They offer convenience, flexibility and a glimpse into a property before ever stepping foot inside, making them a valuable tool for both buyers and sellers.

Are virtual house tours effective?

The effectiveness of virtual house tours largely depends on how well they are implemented and integrated into a comprehensive marketing strategy. While virtual tour for houses are not effective at increasing the selling price of a property, they are effective in attracting a wider pool of potential buyers.

 

They are a powerful tool for attracting interest and providing detailed information about a property, but they work best when complemented with other marketing efforts, including estate agent photography, detailed property description and the option for in-person viewings or open days.

 

In markets where competition is fierce, or where buyers are likely to be remote, virtual tours can significantly increase a property’s appeal and help it sell more quickly.

Are virtual tours more effective for certain types of properties than others?

While virtual house tours offer a valuable tool for most properties, they can be particularly advantageous for specific property types like high end properties, properties with unique features and remote properties. 

 

Luxury homes often have intricate features, expansive spaces and overall grandeur which can be showcased effortlessly through the immersive nature of virtual tours. Viewers can appreciate the details like high-end finishes, elaborate architecture, and spacious layouts, creating a more compelling experience compared to static photos.

 

Virtual house tours mean properties with unique features can be shown in their best light. This could include intricate details like custom designs, historical elements, or quirky architectural features to be highlighted, captivating potential buyers interested in something distinctive. 

 

Virtual tours also mean that potential buyers can overcome location limitations, as virtual tours bridge the geographical gap attracting buyers who might not have the opportunity to visit in person. This opens up a wider pool of potential buyers and expands the reach of the property’s marketing efforts.

Are virtual apartment tours effective?

Virtual apartment tours have revolutionised the apartment hunting process, offering numerous benefits for both renters and property managers. In today’s fast-paced and technology-driven market, they are becoming an increasingly essential tool.

Here’s a breakdown of their effectiveness:

Potential renters can explore apartments anytime, anywhere, eliminating the need to schedule inconvenient in-person visits. This empowers busy individuals and out-of-towners to participate in the search effectively.

Virtual tours expand your reach beyond local renters, attracting individuals relocating from other counties or countries. This significantly increases your applicant pool.

By allowing pre-screening online, virtual tours save time and resources for both parties. Property managers can focus on serious applicants, and renters only visit properties they are genuinely interested in.

Virtual tours encourage interested individuals to self-select. Those requesting in person viewings are likely more serious about proceeding, leading to a smoother leasing process.

When are virtual tours not effective at selling properties?

While virtual tours offer a powerful tool for many properties, they may not be as effective in some specific situations like simpler layouts, potential structural issues, emotionally driven purchases and limited target audience.

 

For small or straightforward floor plans, high-quality photos and detailed floor plans might be sufficient for potential buyers to grasp the space effectively. In such cases, a virtual tour may be redundant and unnecessary.

 

If a property has visible flaws, structural issues or significant need for repairs, a virtual tour could unintentionally highlight these problems and deter potential buyers who might have considered an in-person viewing with the possibility of overlooking some issues.

 

Properties targeting first-time buyers or family-oriented buyers often elicit emotional connections beyond the practical aspects. Virtual tours while showcasing features might struggle to capture the unique atmosphere, charm or personal connection potential buyers seek in these scenarios. 

 

Finally, if your  target demographic consists of individuals less comfortable with technology or who prefer traditional approaches, virtual house tours might not hold the same appeal and could even deter them from considering the property. 

 

Virtual tours are a valuable pre-screening tool, helping potential buyers quickly assess properties and prioritise their viewing list. However, they should not be viewed as a complete replacement for in-person visits that allow for experiencing the space firsthand and making informed decisions.

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What are the different forms of virtual house tours?

Type of tourProsConsUsage in selling houses
360 Degree viewsAllows comprehensive exploration of property spaces. The user controlled navigation enhances engagement.May require high internet bandwidth. Can be less intuitive for non-tech savvy users.Effective for detailed online listings. Enhances website engagement and can attract a wider audience.
Video walkthroughsSimulates the experience of physically walking through the property. Can be narrated to highlight key features.Viewers cannot control the pace or direction of the tour. Production can be time-consuming and costly.Useful for social media, marketing and email campaigns. Offers a quick overview that can appeal to busy buyers.
Interactive elementsEngages users with clickable information points. Can include floor plans and measurements for detailed understanding.May require more complicated software and web integration. Overloading with elements can overwhelm users.Enhance online listings with detailed insights.Can be used in email marketing to provide interactive content.
Virtual reality (VR)Offers a highly immersive experience. Allows for a realistic sense of space and layout.Requires VR headsets, which may not be widely available. Higher production costs.Premium showcasing tool for high-end properties. Ideal for international or distant buyers unable to visit in person.

What are typical virtual house tour costs (£)?

The cost of creating a virtual house tour in the UK can range widely, depending on the tour’s complexity and the professional services employed. Basic 360-degree tours might start from as little as £100 for smaller properties, while more sophisticated immersive or VR tours can cost upwards of £500 to £1,000, especially for larger or more luxurious properties. 

 

The investment in a virtual tour should be considered in the context of the overall marketing strategy and the potential return on investment it offers by attracting more interested and qualified buyers.

Are visual tours worth it?

While virtual property tours have become increasingly popular in the UK housing market it’s important to understand their nuanced effects. A recent study by Isamar Tronsco, an expert at Harvard Business School, analysed over 75,000 home sales and found that in the US virtual tours didn’t significantly impact sale prices.

 

Tronsco’s research found that while virtual tours enhanced the listing quality, increased the screening efficiency of buyers and added competitive advantage, virtual house tours failed to increase the selling price of houses. 

 

Virtual tours were proven to enhance the presentation of properties by showcasing their layout and features effectively and attracted more interested buyers. They also allowed potential buyers to efficiently rule out properties that didn’t meet their needs, saving time and effort compared to in-person visits. 

 

In areas where properties were less in demand, or the estate agency was smaller, virtual tours added a competitive advantage by increasing online visibility and attracting a wider audience.

 

But, the research suggests there was minimal impact on sale prices, with houses still needing high-quality photos and detailed descriptions in order to sell effectively.

What are the disadvantages of virtual house tours?

Virtual house tours, while innovative and increasingly popular, especially in the context of real estate marketing and remote viewing options, come with their own set of disadvantages. Some of the most notable drawbacks include:

Virtual tours cannot fully convey the tactile, olfactory and subtle audio-visual nuances of a physical space, which can be important for decision-making.

Quality depends on technology used, requiring viewers to have a stable internet connection and potentially specific hardware/software, leading to potential glitches or poor image quality.

Pre-recorded or static tours lack the real-time interaction of physical tours, hindering immediate clarification or personalised insights from estate agents.

Camera angles and lens distortion can create unrealistic expectations by making spaces appear larger or smaller than they are in reality.

Virtual tours may not highlight potential issues or finer details, like wear and tear, that a buyer would notice during a physical walkthrough.

Hosting tours online can expose properties and personal belongings to potential security risks and privacy concerns.

Not everyone is comfortable using or has the capability to navigate virtual tours, potentially creating barriers for some buyers, including the elderly or individuals with disabilities.

The impersonal nature of virtual tours can limit the emotional connection potential buyers might develop with a property, hindering their ability to envision themselves living there.

What are the benefits of creating a virtual house tour?

Virtual house tours were very helpful during the pandemic where people couldn’t physically visit properties. And, to some extent, they still have many benefits post pandemic:

Virtual house tours provide a more immersive and engaging experience for potential buyers compared to static photos. This can showcase your property’s layout, features and best aspects more effectively, potentially attracting more interested buyers.

Virtual tours can be readily shared online, allowing you to reach a wider audience of potential buyers, including those located further away or unable to visit in person. This can increase exposure and generate more interest in your property.

Virtual tours can act as a pre-screening tool, allowing potential buyers to virtually explore the property and rule out options that don’t meet their needs. This can save time and effort for both you and potential buyers.

In areas where the demand is low, offering a Virtual tour for houses can set your property apart from competitors and give you an edge in attracting buyers.

Experience industry leading property marketing

How do I make a virtual tour of my house?

In order to make a virtual tour of your own house, there are a few different methods you could look at. The first would be to hire a professional videographer with specialised equipment like a 360-degree camera that can offer the highest quality and most immersive experience possible – but this will come at a cost.

 

The more budget friendly option would be to explore DIY methods like purchasing or renting a 360 degree camera yourself, which could capture a panoramic view of your surroundings, allowing viewers to virtually navigate the space. Good 360-degree camera brands include Ricoh Theta, Insta360 and Samsung Gear 360. 

 

Or, the even more budget friendly option is to use a smartphone app that offers virtual tour creation functionality. Good examples of virtual house tour apps include Matterport Capture, iStaging Spaces and Cupix. These apps will have limitations compared to dedicated cameras but can be a good, low cost, starting point. 

 

The quality of your virtual tour will depend on the method you choose and your willingness to invest time and effort. Research different options, consider your budget and desired level of quality, and choose the approach that best suits your needs.

How do you film a virtual tour?

In order to capture the footage for your virtual house tour, you will want to capture each room from different angles, aiming for an excellent representation of the space. You will want to maintain a slow and steady pace, avoiding jerky movement while filming. 

 

When you are editing the footage, you may wish to add a narration over the top of the video, talking through the key points of the property, like you would at a house viewing.

How do you market a virtual house tour?

While many estate agents handle virtual tour marketing on behalf of sellers, understanding the process can be beneficial. Here’s a breakdown of key strategies:

Estate agents usually list your property on portals like Rightmove and Zoopla, including a compelling thumbnail image or video snippet to grab attention and encourage viewers to click on the detailed description highlighting the virtual tour’s benefits.

The estate agent should share the virtual tour link on their social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) with engaging captions sparking curiosity and interest. Consider targeted social media advertising (often an additional cost) to reach specific audiences or locations most likely to be interested in your property.

Some estate agents may use email marketing platforms like Salesforce, Klaviyo, or Mailchimp to share the virtual tour link with their existing customer database and potential buyer pool. This expands your reach by leveraging existing connections.

Can The Property Selling Company help with virtual tours?

Yes, we can help you with virtual house tours, but it depends on the specific property and our assessment of its needs. While professional estate agent photography and floor plans are always included in our service, virtual tours are offered selectively based on the property. 

 

Here’s what we do:

 

  • Consult with you: We discuss your property and explore all other routes to sale, before determining if a virtual tour could be beneficial in attracting potential buyers. 
  • Professional photography and floor plans: We always provide these essentials as part of our standard service to showcase your property effectively.
  • Virtual tours considered strategically: We may use our own Regional Managers to film a basic virtual tour if deemed appropriate for your property. Alternatively, for high-value properties or those requiring a higher level of immersion, we can arrange for a professional filming team to create a premium virtual tour experience. 

 

We believe that this approach ensures that you receive the most suitable visual marketing strategy for your specific property, optimising its potential within our budget and yours.

Do virtual house tours help sell houses?

Virtual house tours are an interesting tool within the estate agency arsenal, offering both opportunities and limitations when it comes to selling houses. They are a tool that, when used effectively, can significantly enhance the visibility and appeal of a property, attracting more potential buyers and increasing engagement with the property listing. 

 

These tours can speed the sales process by filtering out less interested parties, allowing only the most serious buyers to proceed to in-person house visits. However, it’s important to temper expectations regarding their direct impact on sales prices or the guarantee of a sale. 

 

While they can be a powerful marketing tool, virtual house tours alone are unlikely to command a higher price or ensure a sale without the element of luck.

 

The debate among property experts is ongoing, with some citing that homes with virtual tours can generate up to 49% more qualified leads. This statistic highlights the tours’ potential to draw in a significant number of interested buyers. 

 

Yet, it’s important to recognise that a high interest level does not automatically translate into actual sales. The number of qualified leads – a measure of potential buyer interest – does not directly indicate the number of converted transactions. 

 

The most effective strategy for selling a house in today’s market involves a multi-channel approach. This means leveraging a mix of traditional and digital marketing tactics, including professional photography, detailed floor plans, strategic social media marketing, targeted email campaigns and yes, the incorporation of virtual tour for houses. 

 

By utilising a broad spectrum of marketing tools, sellers can maximise their property’s exposure and appeal, attracting a wide range of potential buyers and increasing the likelihood of a successful sale. 

Virtual tour help sell houses: FAQs

How are virtual house tours created?

Technology plays an important role in creating a virtual experience. From basic 360-degree photographs that let you spin around in a room, to immersive video walkthroughs, and even virtual reality experiences that transport you right into the space, these tours offer a range of options for exploration.

How long does it take to create a virtual tour?

A basic 360-degree virtual tour of a modest-sized property might be completed in a few hours, whereas a more indepth and immersive tour, especially for larger properties, could take several days to capture and compile. The editing and software processing time must also be considered, adding to the overall time frame from conception to completion.

How will homes with virtual tours be promoted to potential buyers?

Promotion of homes with virtual tours are typically integrated into a broader real estate marketing strategy. They are showcased on property listing websites, social media platforms, and real estate agents’ websites, ensuring maximum visibility to potential buyers. 

 

Email marketing campaigns can also be effective, sending direct links to the virtual tour to a curated list of potential buyers. In addition, QR codes linking to the tour can be included in printed brochures or signage, offering an instant digital experience to those exploring physical marketing materials.

We can help you sell in as little as 28 days

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I Cant Sell My Flat: Need to Sell Fast UK

cant sell flat

I Cant Sell My Flat: Need to Sell Fast UK

In this blog post, we will be looking at why flats are hard to sell, how you can sell your flat quicker, and how we can help you sell fast and for free.

Alexandra Ventress

Alexandra Ventress ★ Digital Content Writer

Table of Contents

Selling your flat can be difficult and as a seller in the dynamic world of property, you may find that you require a faster sale that you originally anticipated. Whether it’s due to financial constraints, a change in personal circumstances, or the need to relocate urgently, selling your flat swiftly can be a daunting task.

 

In this blog post, we will be looking at why selling a flat takes so long, how you can make your flat sell quicker, and how to sell your flat in as little as 28 days.

 

Looking for a quick answer? Check out our interactive menu to the left! 

Sell your flat quickly and without the hassle

Why does selling a flat take so long?

There is no one size fits all answer to this question. Exactly why your flat is languishing on the open market could be down to a variety of factors such as issues with supply and demand, your flat location, property price, proximity of amenities, and the personal circumstances of your potential buyer. If you are worried about your flat languishing on the open market, there are steps you can take to help it sell quickly. Just check out our blog post here

Why are flats so hard to sell?

Exactly why your flat may be taking so long to sell can depend upon a variety of different factors that have moulded the open market over the last few years. Below we take a closer look at what these are and how they can affect your ability to sell. 

Market Conditions

The conditions of the market can have a huge effect on property sales. If there is a slow or downturn market then you may find it difficult when it comes to selling your flat. 

Location

Another crucial factor in flat sales is the location. Undesirable or less popular areas make attracting buyers difficult and the proximity to amenities, transportation, schools, and safety influences marketability.

Maintenance and Condition

It is no secret that buyers prefer well-maintained properties. Flats needing extensive repairs are less appealing and potential buyers may hesitate due to additional costs.

Limited Outdoor Space

The downside to flats is they often lack outdoor space. So as a result, buyers prioritising yards or gardens may find flats less appealing.

Association Fees

Some flats are part of homeowners’ associations (HOA). Whilst this can be a good thing, high association fees can deter potential buyers and may impact the overall marketability of the property.

Perception and Lifestyle Preferences

There are some buyers who hold preferences for traditional houses over flats. They can be influenced by perceptions of space, privacy, and ownership and these lifestyle preferences play a significant role in flat demand. 

 

Why are flats not selling at the moment?

Exactly why your flat may be taking so long to sell can depend upon a variety of different factors that have moulded the open market over the last few years. Below we take a closer look at what these are and how they can affect your ability to sell. 

Interest rates in the UK have been increasing, resulting in elevated mortgage costs for potential buyers. As a result of the changes brought about by these rising costs, there has been a decline in demand, especially for flats, as individuals perceive borrowing money to be a more expensive endeavour than it was previously.

 

The Bank of England’s choice to raise interest rates has been influenced by diverse economic factors, such as managing inflation and stabilising the currency. This means heightened monthly mortgage payments for prospective homeowners, which has the potential to potentially dissuade them from pursuing homeownership. The impact is particularly pronounced for first-time buyers, with increased costs rendering homeownership unattainable for a significant number.

The economic uncertainty experienced in 2023 is extending into 2024 and continues to influence consumer confidence. Individuals are exhibiting hesitancy in property investments due to the perceived unpredictability of the future, which in turn has a knock-on effect and impacts the property market.

 

Persistent concerns regarding the global economy, political instability, and potential alterations to tax laws and regulations contribute to this prevailing uncertainty. Prospective buyers are inclined to postpone significant financial commitments, such as purchasing a flat, in light of this uncertainty. This reluctance to invest has led to a sluggish market characterised by a reduced number of buyers and sellers, ultimately contributing to a decline in property values.

Challenges related to supply and demand often arise when new housing developments saturate the market with similar properties, causing a decline in the value of neighbouring flats. This surplus of options results in heightened competition among buyers, making it more difficult to sell flats at favourable prices. Sellers may find themselves engaged in bidding wars, having to reduce prices in order to attract interest. 

 

Furthermore, the property demand landscape is significantly influenced by location. Flats situated in sought-after areas, where housing availability is limited, tend to draw increased interest. The scarcity of available properties in these prime locations can lead to higher prices and a shorter time on the market. While selling a flat in these areas may grant you a smoother selling process, these high-demand locations are relatively scarce. In practical terms, flats are more commonly favoured in city settings and proximity to amenities, yet even in these scenarios, selling can be challenging if the market is subdued. 

The desire for personal outdoor space, initially fueled by COVID restrictions, continues to be a prevalent trend post-pandemic. Many flats lack significant outdoor areas, limiting their appeal. Additionally, the surge in the popularity of flexible working has prompted individuals to relocate from cities in search of more space for their budget. The cost of a city flat could be invested in a small house outside the city, providing garden space and a home office. Although some businesses advocate for a full-time return to the office, the enduring appeal of flexible/hybrid working motivates buyers to consider living outside the city, as commuting to the office once or twice a week is often feasible for many.

Mortgage interest rates experienced a significant surge throughout 2022 and 2023, propelled by the rising BOE base rate. You can observe the upward trajectory in this graph. The base rate, which remained at 0.1% for much of 2020 and 2021, has now surpassed 5%. It’s important to note that the base rate reflects the rate at which your local bank borrows money from the Bank of England. Your local bank then applies its mark-up to this rate before selling the mortgage to you. Consequently, depending on the loan-to-value ratio, you could be paying substantially more than the base rate.

What is a shared ownership flat? 

If you are unable to afford a deposit and mortgage payments for a property, you may be able to purchase a house or flat through shared ownership. This involves purchasing a share of between 10% to 75% of the home’s full market value and paying rent to a landlord for the share they own of the property. 

 

Over time, you can purchase more of the shares from your landlord, eventually paying less rent and more towards your mortgage, until you own a 100% share of the property. You are able to sell a shared ownership property at any time, however your method of selling can be dependent on your shares. 

 

If you own 100% of the property, then you can sell your property however you wish. However, if you do not own 100% of your property, then you must alert your landlord when you wish to sell, allowing them time to find a buyer for your share. 

 

If your property has a ‘designated protected area-mandatory buyback’ lease, then you will not be able to sell your home on the open market. In this situation, either your landlord will purchase your share or they will arrange for someone else to do so. 

Sell your flat in as little as 28 days

I cant sell shared ownership flat, what do i do?

Once you have alerted your landlord of your intention to sell, they will have a nomination period to find a buyer. This period will usually be either 4, 8, or 12 weeks, depending on the lease. If your landlord is unsuccessful in finding a buyer during this period, then you will be able to find a buyer for your property yourself. 

 

If you cant sell shared ownership flat, then don’t worry, there are steps that you can take to help: 

If you are struggling to sell your shared ownership property, then you should reach out to your housing association. They may be able to offer you advice, guidance and support. Some even have a process in place if you are unable to find a buyer. 

Obtain a professional valuation for your property. This will help you determine an accurate and competitive asking price, which can be crucial for attracting potential buyers.

Evaluate whether there are any improvements or repairs that could enhance the appeal of your shared ownership flat. Small upgrades or improvements may make the property more attractive to potential buyers.

Ensure that your property is effectively marketed. Utilise online platforms, social media, and other channels to reach a wide audience. Highlight the benefits of shared ownership and any unique features of your flat.

If you encounter legal or contractual challenges, consider seeking legal advice. A solicitor experienced in property law can help navigate any complexities and ensure that you meet all legal requirements.

Or, you can bypass the hassle and get in touch with us. We can help you sell your home in as little as 28 days and without fees! Interested? Click the box below for more!

Can I pull out of selling my flat?

As is the case when selling any property, you are able to pull out of a sale at any point before the exchange of contracts without legal consequence. However, if you wish to pull out once the contracts have been exchanged, then you will be breaking a legal contract, and you can expect to face legal consequences as a result. 

 

If you are considering pulling out of a house sale or purchase, you should consider the potential implications that can be incurred as a result:

 

  • The buyer losing their deposit
  • Being taken to court to cover losses as a result of the terminated sale/purchase
  • Losing out on non-refundable costs, such as conveyancing costs

How can I make my flat more sellable 

 I cant sell my flat, is there anything I can do? 

 

If you are looking to speed up your property sale and secure a fast flat sale, then one of the best ways that you can do this is by bringing the interior of your flat up to scratch. You don’t need to go all out with renovation, despite what you may have been told. Whilst renovations are great, if you are selling on a timescale, the chances of the changes you make being ready in time are slim to none. Furthermore, the money you spend on these renovations is unlikely to be made back in the sale. Only consider renovations if there is drastic work that needs to be done, or you are likely to stay living in the flat for quite some time so will be able to enjoy the new amenities.  

 

So, what can you do?  

 

Thankfully, there are smaller changes that you can make that are likely to have a big impact on your sales. For example, some quick wins that you can achieve quickly before your estate agent arrives include:  

 

This means hoovering, wiping down any and all surfaces, cleaning the kitchen and bathroom, emptying the bins, and giving the flat a general once over. A tidy home is a loved home, and potential buyers will be able to pick up on this.

Before you host any viewings or allow the estate agent round, you should clean up any communal areas within your building to ensure they are looking their best. You should speak to the property managers or even your neighbours about this as first impressions matter, and you want to WOW any potential buyers before they even see the flat. 

Around an hour before any visits or viewings you should open the curtains and windows in your flat to let in fresh air and natural daylight. This will help to rid the flat of any odours as well as help the flat to seem airy and bright. 

Before any viewings or visits, you should give your flat a once over to ensure there is no clutter left lying about. This means no clothes horses left out, no washing up on the side, beds made and nothing left out on the side. 

It is always a wise idea to try and arrange viewings for quieter times during the day. This will help to paint both your building and your flat in the best light as it lowers the chance of any loud noises or neighbours being an issue.  

How can I speed up my flat sale?

If you are looking to speed up the sale of your flat, there are a couple of steps you can take to help ensure that you are selling quickly and to a timescale that suits you. Below, we take a look at some of our top tips for a quick flat sale: 

Stay organised and proactive 

In order to ensure that your sale is running as smoothly and efficiently as possible, it’s important to stay proactive throughout. This means staying well informed about not only the tasks at hand but also their respective deadlines. Understanding what needs attention and when helps you stay ahead of any potential delays.

Communicate 

Communication is key in life, and a property sale is no different. If you want to speed up the sale of your flat, you will need to ensure that you keep in touch with both your estate agent and solicitor consistently throughout the process. This will minimise the risk of miscommunication but also will mean that as soon as a document or an issue crops up, you will be able to deal with it swiftly and keep your sale on track. You may wish to consider establishing a weekly update routine among all involved parties in order to keep the line of communication open. 

Establish a realistic completion date 

You should set a practical target date for the exchange of contracts. This will create a shared deadline for all of the involved parties and will allow you a goal to work towards. If there’s no urgency for your sale, allow some extra time between the exchange and completion rather than being overly flexible with the exchange date.

Sell through The Property Selling Company

One of the best ways you can sell your flat quickly is through us.  We can help you sell your flat in as little as 28 days and without the fees. Want to find out more? Click here

What to do if you can't sell flat?

If i cant sell my flat, what am I meant to do?

 

If you are struggling to find a buyer for your flat don’t worry. We are The Property Selling Company, an estate agency with a difference. We pride ourselves on our personal philosophy that selling a flat should be three things, fast, effortless, and free

 

Our dedicated team of property professionals are by your side throughout the selling journey, guiding you every step of the way. From valuation to listing and through to completion, we handle all aspects of the selling process, tailored to your unique selling situation. We offer a full estate agency service, but without the expensive estate agent and legal fees you have come to expect. 

 

Say goodbye to the days of struggling for a buyer for your flat. All you need to do to get the ball rolling is fill in one of our no-obligation forms below and start your house-selling journey today. 

Sell your flat without hassle

Posted on

How To Sell A Shared Ownership Property UK

How to sell a shared ownership property UK

Selling a shared ownership property explained

Tom Condon
Tom Condon ★ Digital Content Writer

Table of Contents

If you’re a shared owner looking to sell shared ownership home and wondering ‘how to sell shared ownership’ then you’re in the right place! Selling a shared ownership home involves several steps, from deciding to sell your home to completing the sale with your buyer.

 

As a shared owner, when you want to sell your home, it’s important to effectively market your home to attract the right potential buyers. The beauty of shared ownership is that it provides an affordable home option, helping many people get onto the property ladder. 

 

If you’re considering selling shared ownership property, it’s important to understand the layers of the process. This guide will walk you through each step, from how to sell your shared ownership property, the costs associated with the process and the most common questions.

What is a shared ownership property?

Shared ownership is a government-backed scheme aimed at assisting first-time buyers in climbing the property ladder. It enables you to purchase a portion of a home, usually between 10% and 75% of its full market value, while paying rent on the remaining share to a housing association or local authority.

 

One of the important features of shared ownership is the ability to increase your ownership stake over time through a process known as staircasing. Most shared ownership agreements allow you to staircase up to 100%, thereby achieving full ownership. However, some leases have a cap at 80%, maintaining the affordability and availability of these homes for other potential buyers in need.

Sell shared ownership house without all the hassle

Can you sell a shared ownership property?

You are entitled to sell shared ownership property at any point but the process differs slightly depending on how much of the property you own.

 

If you’ve staircased to 100%, the sale process is similar to that of any other property. However, it’s always wise to review your contract for any specific terms or conditions. 

 

If you own less than 100%, the housing association or local authority that owns the remaining share has a right known as first refusal. This means they have the initial opportunity to buy back your share or find an eligible buyer.

 

The duration of their right to find a buyer is set during the agreed nomination period, which will usually last four, eight or twelve weeks, depending on your property’s specific agreement. If they are unable to find a buyer within this period, you are then free to market and sell your share on the open market.

How do you buy out of a shared ownership property?

Staircasing while owning shares in a shared ownership property refers to the process by which a homeowner can gradually increase their share of the property over time. Here is how staircasing works:

When you first buy a shared ownership property, you purchase a specific share of it. This is often a more affordable option for many people as it requires a smaller mortgage and deposit compared to buying a home outright.

Over time, you have the option to buy more shares in your property. This process is called staircasing. The cost of the additional shares is based on the market value of the property at the time of the purchase, not the value when you first bought it.

As you buy more shares, the proportion of rent you pay on the remaining share decreases. For instance, if you initially owned 50% of your home and then staircase to own 75%, you would only pay rent on the remaining 25%.

In many cases, you can staircase up to owning 100% of your home, at which point you become the outright owner and no longer have to pay rent on the property. However, some shared ownership properties have restrictions that cap staircasing at a certain percentage, such as 80%.

Each time you staircase, you will likely incur costs such as valuation fees (to determine the current market value of the property), legal fees, and potentially additional mortgage arrangement fees.

Increasing your share of the property can also affect your rights and responsibilities, such as being able to make certain decisions about the property without the housing association’s consent.

How to sell shared ownership property UK

If you are wanting to sell shared ownership property in the UK, the process is fairly similar to selling a normal house, except you may have the assistance of the Housing Association or Local Authority. 

 

Here is our step by step guide to selling shared ownership property:

 

Understanding your lease

 

  • Begin by thoroughly reviewing your lease. Each housing association or local authority has specific rules for selling shared ownership properties. Ensure you understand all the processes, financial responsibilities and any potential restrictions.

 

Notify your Housing Association or Local Authority

 

  • You will need to inform your local authority or housing association of your decision to sell. This is also the perfect time to clarify the nomination period – which is the duration you must wait before you can independently market your property if they haven’t found a buyer.

 

Valuation and Energy Performance Assessment

 

  • Arrange for a RICS qualified surveyor to value your property. You can choose a surveyor from the housing association’s recommendations or find one independently.
  • Remember, the valuation report is valid for three months, and a revaluation is necessary if the property doesn’t sell within this timeframe. Also, check if you need a new Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) for your property.

 

Completing the necessary paperwork

 

  • Once satisfied with the valuation, complete and return the ‘intention to sell’ form to your housing association or local authority. Prepare to provide details of your conveyancer or solicitor, experienced in Shared Ownership sales, along with your lease, FENSA Certificates and other documents. Be prepared for a marketing fee to cover the cost of advertising your property.

 

Marketing your property

 

  • The housing association will exclusively market your property during the agreed nomination period, using their platforms and reaching out to potential buyers. If they are unable to find a suitable buyer within this period, you can then market the property independently or through an estate agent, keeping in mind the specific criteria for Shared Ownership buyers.

 

Formally instructing a solicitor

 

  • Once a buyer is found, either through the housing association, local authority or the open market, instruct your conveyancer or solicitor to manage the sale. Maintain regular communication to ensure a smooth process.

 

The exchange and completion process

 

  • The buyer will undergo a similar approval process as you did when purchasing the property. Once approved, their solicitor will coordinate with yours to exchange contracts. A completion date will be set, marking when you will hand over the keys and settle any outstanding legal fees. 

Is it difficult to sell shared ownership property?

Selling a shared ownership property is often more streamlined compared to traditional homeownership sales. The ease largely comes from the support provided by Housing Associations. These organisations play a role in simplifying the process, offering assistance in finding potential buyers. 

 

Additionally, they often take on the responsibility of marketing your property, which can help speed up the process. This collaborative approach between the homeowner and the Housing Association can lead to a quicker and more efficient sale, making the experience less daunting. 

 

However, if the housing association cannot find a buyer for the share ownership property within the specified nomination period, the owner is granted the freedom to market the property independently. This is unfortunately where some of the difficulty of selling can arise. 

 

Saying this, the owner will usually have more control over the sale process, including setting the price, marketing strategies and arranging viewings. The issues that arise are due to the fact that the potential buyers must meet certain income thresholds and other criteria set by the housing association or local authority. 

 

These thresholds or criteria could include:

 

  • Income thresholds: Buyers usually need to have a household income below a certain level, for example, in the North East of England, the income threshold might be £80,000 or less. 
  • First time buyers: Priority is often given to first-time buyers or individuals who currently don’t own a property. Additionally, those in housing need, such as living in overcrowded or unsuitable housing conditions.
  • Local connections: Some schemes require buyers to have a connection to the local area, such as living, working or having family there. This criteria helps support local communities and ensures that those who contribute to the area have housing opportunities. 
  • Mortgage eligibility: Buyers must demonstrate that they are eligible for a mortgage for the share of the property they intend to buy. This assessment ensures that buyers can sustainably afford the property. 
  • No outstanding credit issues: Potential buyers should not have significant outstanding debts or credit issues that could impact their ability to maintain mortgage payments.
  • Sufficient deposit: While the deposit required for shared ownership can be lower than for buying a property outright, buyers still need to have enough savings for a deposit on their share of the home.
  • Ability to sustain ownership: Prospective buyers are assessed for their ability to sustain homeownership, including meeting ongoing costs like mortgage payments, rent on the remaining share, maintenance and service charges. 

What steps can you take if dissatisfied with a Housing Association’s handling of your property sale?

If you find yourself dissatisfied with the way your housing association is managing the sale of your shared ownership property, there are a number of steps you can take. 

 

Firstly, begin by raising your concerns with the housing association directly. It’s often helpful to do this in writing, providing a clear and detailed account of your issues, which can lead to a direct resolution or clarification of the processes involved.

 

If the initial communication doesn’t resolve the issue, follow the housing association’s formal complaint procedure. This process is outlined in your lease agreement or is available upon request. Following the procedures means that your concerns ensure your complaint is logged and handled systematically.

 

Should the response from the housing association be unsatisfactory, or the issue remains unresolved, you can escalate the matter to the Housing Ombudsman. The Ombudsman offers a free, impartial service to resolve disputes between tenants and housing associations. They can investigate the issue and provide a resolution, which may include compensation or specific actions from the housing association.

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How much does it cost to sell Shared Ownership property?

The cost of selling a shared ownership property will most likely need you to budget to ensure a smooth transaction. While some costs will be fixed according to your lease agreement, there will be other costs that vary depending on competitive pricing.

 

Your property must be valued by a RICS surveyor, the cost for this service will vary but it’s a necessary expense to ensure an accurate market value. The average RICS valuation will cost you £320, but this can increase up to £800 if you require a Level 3 survey. 

 

You will be responsible for your own solicitor’s fees, which on average will cost around 1% to 3% of your total selling price. It may also be important to note that the conveyancing process for shared ownership properties can be slightly longer than standard house selling. 

 

Furthermore, if in your lease agreement it states that you need to cover your housing associations’ legal fees, then you will also be liable to pay for these.

 

You will also need to obtain your Leasehold Information Form, which will incur a £100 to £300 cost from your housing association. If your housing association assists in marketing your property, they will charge you for this as well – but this cost will depend on the terms of your lease. 

 

If your current EPC is older than 10 years, you’ll need to obtain a new one, and these can cost between £60 and £120. 

 

Should you choose to market your property via an estate agent, you will then also face estate agent fees from then which could be 1% to 3%+VAT of your house selling price. However, if you sell your property with us, you won’t incur any fees at all, ever. 

 

We will cover all the fees associated with selling shared ownership house, including solicitor fees, estate agent fees and we will handle everything for you. Not only that, but we can also help you sell within 28 days, although most people decide to take slightly longer.

Can you transfer ownership of a shared ownership house?

It is possible to transfer ownership of a shared ownership property. This most commonly occurs during the sale of the property, as outlined in the steps above. However, there are some other circumstances where you might wish to transfer your lease or your share of the lease.

 

In such situations, you will need to seek permission from your housing association or local authority. Each organisation will have its own set of rules and procedures for transferring ownership and you will need to have a firm understanding of these before starting the transfer of ownership.

 

Once permission has been granted, you will need to appoint a solicitor to handle the legal aspects of the transfer. This could include drafting and signing new lease agreements, ensuring compliance with housing association regulations and possibly dealing with financial adjustments related to the ownership share.

Can you sell one Shared Ownership property and buy another?

You can sell your current shared ownership property and purchase another, provided you still meet the criteria for a government’s shared ownership scheme.

 

The scheme is designed to assist individuals who may not be able to afford a property on the open market, so your continued eligibility will depend on factors like income level and housing needs. 

 

If you’ve increased your equity in your current property through a process known as staircasing (where you gradually buy a larger share of your home), you might find that you have built up enough financial leverage to transition out of shared ownership altogether. 

 

This could open the door to buying a non-shared ownership home, giving you more options in the housing market.

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What is the bad side of selling shared ownership property?

Before you decide to sell shared ownership property, it is also important to understand the downside to selling. 

 

If you own a smaller share of the property, your financial gain from any increase in its value is proportionally smaller. This means that the benefits of capital appreciation, a key advantage of property ownership, are significantly reduced. The smaller your share, the less you benefit from the property’s growth in market value over time. 

 

Selling a shared ownership property can be far more complicated than selling a standard property. If you don’t own the property outright, you must first offer it back to the housing association, known as the right of first refusal. 

 

This can increase the selling process timeline, as you have to wait for a fixed period to see if the housing association can find a buyer before you can market it yourself.

Even if you own 100% of the property, selling on the open market might come with its own challenges, especially if you don’t own the freehold as it will limit your pool of potential buyers. 

 

And then when you do find a potential buyer, they will need to meet the specific criteria set by the housing association, which will limit your pool of buyers even further. 

 

Finally, if you have increased your share through staircasing, the cost of these additional shares is based on the property’s value at the time of each purchase. As property values increase, so does the cost of acquiring additional shares which will impact the eventual selling price of the property.

What’s the catch with shared ownership?

Shared ownership schemes offer an accessible path to homeownership but as always, there’s a catch! 

 

Shared ownership properties are leasehold, meaning you’re responsible for ground rent and service charges irrespective of the size of your share. These costs are ongoing and can add to your annual expenses. 

 

The Leasehold Reform (Ground Rent) Act 2022 has brought changes for newly builds, abolishing ground rent. However, for existing leasehold properties, the ground rent factor may deter some buyers, and potentially affect the resale value. 

 

Finding lenders that offer mortgages for shared ownership properties can be challenging, though more mortgage lenders are embracing this market. This limitation might affect your mortgage options, possibly influencing the terms and interest rates available to you.

 

Shared ownership properties often have restrictions on alterations or improvements. This limitation can impact your ability to personalise or enhance your home, possibly affecting its future value and your enjoyment of the property.

 

Staircasing, or increasing your share in the property, incurs additional costs each time it’s done. These include survey, legal, and mortgage fees, unlike a traditional property purchase where such costs are usually one time expenses.

Can you make a profit on shared ownership?

When selling a shared ownership property, there is potential for making profit. But the potential will hinge on the appreciation of the property’s value over time. If the market value of the home increases from the time you purchased your share to when you sell it, you stand to make a profit. 

 

The extent of your profit is directly proportional to the size of the share you own in the property. For instance, if you own 50% of the property and its value has increased, you will profit from that 50% share of the increased value. Conversely, if you own a smaller share, such as 25%, your share of the profit will be correspondingly smaller.

Do shared ownerships go up in value?

The value of shared ownership properties is subject to the same market conditions as other properties. If the housing market in the area is strong and property values are rising, it’s likely that the value of shared ownership homes will also increase. 

 

The location of the property plays a massive role in the increase of value it may be subject to. Properties in desirable locations like Liverpool, Newcastle, Leeds, Sheffield or Bristol with good transport links, schools and amenities are far more likely to see an appreciation in value. 

 

Furthermore, shared ownership properties are leasehold and the length of the lease will impact the property’s value. Properties with longer leases are more valuable. If the lease is nearing its end, the property value might decrease unless steps are taken to extend the lease.

Looking to sell shared ownership property? We can help!

If you’re considering selling shared ownership property, The property Selling Company is here to guide you every step of the way. As a leading UK online estate agency, we specialise in streamlining the selling process for traditional and share ownership homes, because we believe selling a house should be fast, effortless and free.

 

Our team of experienced property professionals understand the unique aspects of selling shared ownership properties. We offer expert advice tailored to your situation and help ensure that you navigate through the process with ease. 

 

From valuation to listing, and through to completion, we handle all aspects of the selling process. Our service is designed to take the stress out of selling, allowing you to focus on your next move.

 

We are able to leverage our vast network and our large online presence to ensure that your property reaches a wide audience of potential buyers that fit your housing associations criteria. Our targeted marketing campaigns are tailored to highlight the features of your property and attract the right buyers.

 

Arguably the most important benefit of using our service is our commitment to covering all fees associated with selling your shared ownership property. This includes valuation fees, legal fees, and estate agency fees to ensure a completely hassle-free selling experience not seen anywhere else on the market.

Sell shared ownership property without all the hassle