Should I still look to sell and buy a property in 2023

Should I still look to sell and buy a property in 2023?

The short answer is yes! Of course, property markets have different periods when the opportunity can lie more with the seller or the buyer. Yes, higher mortgage rates and living costs will impact some buyers. However, that said, the market was nearing a perfect storm, and with previous levels of increase and a typical home costing roughly nine times the average UK annual salary, change is potentially not such a bad thing.

A more stable return to “normal” trading in the property market offers hope and opportunity to those hoping to get on the property ladder. And for those homeowners looking to sell and concerned about losing gains grown through the market boom, there is still an opportunity to sell to the right buyers but a greater necessity to use the right agents and proper marketing.  

For example, only this week, we resold a property sale that had fallen through initially due to mortgages. However, the critical point here is we did not sell at a reduced price. The original deal fell through before the ever-increasing interest rates and a flat pre-XMAS market. Still, instead of advising our seller to accept a reduced price, we did not stop. Instead, we threw all our weight behind new marketing videos, pictures, premium listings and creative ways of commuting the benefits of the property to potential buyers. The result – sold!

Another example of engaging with an agent who both knows the market but also genuinely cares about property presentation is a client who approached Property Webb because of a referral. However, as the client’s property was empty, they asked if they could use the original agent’s pictures. We were cautious as we pride ourselves on our attention to detail when it comes to property pictures, and one of our biggest irritations is agents who do not take the time to help their clients showcase their homes at their best. That said, we agreed for the seller to send over the pictures so we could review them. Unfortunately, as expected, not all were up to our standard. 

As we could not take new pictures, we decided to invest some time and money, and our designer photoshopped the images to showcase the property at its best. Again, the feedback has been excellent on far improved results. It is this attention to detail that any good agent should be providing as a matter of course – if your estate agent does not care enough to photograph your home correctly, do they really care enough to help you sell your home?

There is evidence that house prices dropped at the end of 2022, but recent figures show less substantial falls and even some small gains, as our sales have proven. Our recent report discusses the 2023 Property Market predictions for West Lothian in more detail here. And while there is more caution among buyers and sellers in a challenging economic environment, the housing market will rebalance to reflect the new normal, and as ever, there will be gains.

For West Lothian in particular, the opportunity for commuters and families continues with more and more people choosing to move away from the cities, downsizing financially but upsizing in space and quality of living gained from living in this region. The West Lothian property market is a prime example of a “hyper-local” market due to the available property and the location’s desirability and affordability. However, choose your estate agent wisely; poor marketing could cost you thousands and precious time. Make sure you pick an agent who doesn’t just say the right things; they do the right things! Thanks to our consistent marketing, we have several second viewings this week, and enquiries are coming in for all our homes, so if you are told the market is quiet, that’s not true!

As we have seen in the past, the property market can defy all expectations, and we never know what economic factors may change. Already inflation is predicted to drop by half, and while higher interest rates may be here for now, that is not guaranteed to remain. As has been proven many times, nobody can honestly know what the future holds, so trying to time your sale based on market predictions is not a sound strategy. Fundamentally buying and selling a property is generally based on individual needs, and those needs do not change. With most owners sitting on significant value gains since pre-pandemic, it remains an excellent time to buy and sell with the right agent.

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