When should I put my home on the market?

When should I put my home on the market?

By Nicky Burridge

Timing is everything. If you’re taking the next step on the housing ladder, it’s important to sell your home at the right moment.

If you're ready to make the big move, figuring out when to put your home on the market can be tricky.

Finding a buyer too soon could leave you scrambling to locate a property you want to buy yourself. Equally, if you leave it too late, you risk losing a home you may have set your heart on.

You may also want to consider whether or not you'll be able to buy and sell in time to take advantage of the stamp duty holiday.

We weigh up the different factors to help you get the timing right.

How quickly will your home sell?

Finding out how vibrant the local property market is will give you a good indication of how quickly your home may sell.

With My Home, you can discover your home’s value with an instant online estimate based on powerful market data. My Home lets you look back at a timeline of your home’s sales history and see what other properties have sold for in your area. You can also track properties you might be interested in, so you’re ready to move when the time is right.

Before putting up your 'For Sale' sign, it's worth spending some time tracking properties similar to your own, to see how long it takes for them to sell and if there are any price reductions.

Our listings show how many days properties have been on the market for and if the asking price has been reduced. The average UK property sells in 42 days at the moment. If properties similar to yours are take longer than that, you might want to spend some time making sure your home looks its best before putting it on the market. Remember, first impressions count and putting in a little time and elbow grease before inviting viewers in could have a big impact on the desirability of your property.

As well as tracking properties in real-time, you can go back through our listings and work out how long homes stay on the market for in your area, and if there are any trends, such as immaculately decorated places selling faster than those that need updating.

If the market seems buoyant and you’re super confident your home will be snapped up, you might want to start looking for your next home before putting it on the market. Do bear in mind though, that this is a slightly risky move, as it may put you in a weaker buying position if you find the home of your dreams. A chain-free buyer can often be preferable for a seller who needs to move quickly.

If the market seems sluggish, it's definitely worth getting your place listed before you go house hunting.

Can you make a reliable comparison?

Even if the local property market is very vibrant, that doesn’t necessarily mean your home will sell quickly.

Talk to local estate agents to try to get a sense of how much demand there is for homes like yours. You can also search for similar properties in your area and track their value over time.

Our listings show many times homes have been viewed by prospective buyers. If there are lots of eyeballs on similar properties, that might mean there is high demand.

In high demand areas, you can probably afford to wait until you have found a property to buy before listing your current one. But if nobody is looking, it's probably better to get it on the market as soon as possible.

How unusual is your home?

Unusual or quirky properties can take longer to sell than more conventional homes.

Be objective and ask yourself whether there is anything about your home that may put off potential buyers or delay a sale.

For example, do you have an older property in which the bathroom is downstairs? Is there a right of way through the land your home sits on?

The conveyancing process also typically takes longer for leasehold properties than for freehold ones, which is something to bear in mind.

If you think your home may take longer to sell, consider putting it on the market sooner.

How price-sensitive are you?

While everyone wants to get as much as possible for their home, it's worth thinking about whether you have enough wiggle room to reduce the asking price if you need to make a quick sale.

If you're prepared to accept a discounted offer and there are no obvious factors likely to put off potential buyers, you can probably afford to delay listing your home until you've found a property you want to buy.

On the other hand, if your next step up the property ladder is already stretching your budget, consider listing your home early on to give you the maximum amount of time in which to achieve the full asking price.

How quickly will you find your next home?

Deciding when to put your home on the market is not just about how quickly you think it will sell, but also how soon you think you will find a property you want to buy.

Get an idea of how many suitable homes are currently for sale in your target area. If you have a lot of choice, coordinating your sale and purchase is likely to be easier.

But if there are very few suitable homes available or you have very specific criteria and are unwilling to compromise on certain things, you might be better off waiting until you've found somewhere you want to buy before putting your property on the market.

Can you stay with family or rent for a while?

Right now, demand for homes is outstripping supply, which means it's a sellers' market out there. You could increase your chances of snapping up the home you really want if you're chain-free.

Do you have the option of staying with family for several weeks or even months if you aren’t able to line up your home sale and purchase at the same time?

Could you afford to rent for a few months so that you're ready to pounce when a home comes along that you really want?

If so, it might be worth listing your current property straight away, as you won’t have the pressure of having to find your next home immediately and it will put you in a stronger position when you do find your next dream pad.

Things are trickier if you do need to align your sale and purchase, so you will need to think carefully about how long your current home will take to sell and how quickly you'll find a new one to buy.

Could you afford a bridging loan?

Another factor to consider is whether you could afford a bridging loan if you find your dream home before your current property has sold.

If this is the case, you may feel comfortable holding off listing your property until you've found somewhere you want to buy.

On the other hand, if you can't afford a bridging loan or you want to move your current mortgage to your new property, it will be crucial to line up your sale and purchase.

Are you looking to buy a new-build property?

If your next home is going to be a new-build, you will need to coordinate the sale of your current property with the completion date of your new home.

The good news with buying a new-build is that you're likely to know the target date several months in advance, assuming there are no building delays.

In these circumstances, it can be a good idea to list your home early but make sure the estate agent is aware of the situation and informs potential buyers, so that you're all working towards the same date from the start.

How urgently do you need to move?

If your need to move is urgent as a result of having to relocate for a job or because you have outgrown your current home, there is no sense in delaying.

Put your home up for sale straight away and start scouring the market for somewhere you want to buy.

But it is important to remember that if a quick sale is important, you may have to compromise on both the offer you accept on your own property and the features of the next home you buy.

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