Date Published 29 March 2016
When you've found the right estate agent, you should consider them an asset to be relied upon not just for your immediate property needs, but for your future needs as well, and indeed for those of your whole family for years to come.
The moment you've instructed your agent to sell your home, they should offer their services to help you find your next home.
• A good agent will have access not only to all properties on the market in Central London, but also many that are available on an off-market basis of which you will not be aware.
• If you need assistance with deciding which area to move to, a good agent will have an in-depth understanding of the infrastructure, schools, transport links, advantages and disadvantages of the many different areas of London.
• When people are downsizing, they will often look for a slightly smaller version of their current home.
• You may be looking for a property with a smaller garden or even a patio or roof terrace instead. A communal garden may also be a good option.
• Or you may be looking to move from a house to an apartment without stairs and with the benefit of a porter and lifts.
• The right agent will have experience of your different requirements, as well as the challenges of downsizing, and should take the time to understand your wishes and needs and be able to help you with all aspects of your move.
• It can also be the case that your family is growing, and you are looking for bigger premises.
• When upsizing, budget and location take precedence over most other considerations. If more accommodation is needed, there is usually a trade-off between lifestyle and size. More central locations invariably command higher prices, while slightly less convenient locations can offer a larger property for the same budget. The right agent will be able to advise on the relative pros and cons of different areas.
• An alternative to upsizing which has become a recent trend in prime central London, is to extend your existing home, either by digging a basement, or extending up or out. Given recent increases in Stamp Duty, this has become increasingly attractive. An experienced agent should be able to guide you through the planning process.
Company relocation overseas
• Relocation is usually a huge upheaval, especially if you have been in your home for a number of years.
• If you are being relocated, many people's first thought is to sell their home. But depending on market conditions and how long you will be posted abroad, it may be more financially beneficial to consider renting it out.
• And whilst your home may have been perfect for you, it may not be as attractive for the rentals market as it could be. A committed agent should advise and even project manage work in your absence to make suitable alterations/improvements to your property to achieve the maximum rent.
• Your furniture and personal belongings will also be considered. While you will undoubtedly take a lot with you, what remains must be either put into storage or rented with your home. There are regulations governing what furniture can and cannot be rented with your property. Your agent should give you best advice on this.
Retiring to the countryside
• If you are retiring to the countryside, you may wish to retain a London pied-a-terre. Given relative values between Central London and other parts of the UK, there is often more than enough left over from the sale of your home to fund a London apartment in addition to the house in the country.
• An experienced agent will have a good understanding of their clients' preferences and needs, and be able to advise on an investment property, either for the client themselves, or for the children to use in years to come.
If you are in the enviable position of having found the buyer of your property before you have found your next home, it can be a good option to rent in the interim.
• You can usually move in within a week or two of agreeing terms
• There is only a limited amount of paperwork, which does not normally need to be overseen by your solicitor.
• Landlords and tenants normally have to give each other only two months' notice of their intention to end a tenancy, so there is a constant stream of suitable property coming onto the market, and a good agent should be able to find you a property that will suit your needs.
Sale and Leaseback
And lastly, you may have decided it is time to sell your home, but you would like to carry on living there. This is possible using a mechanism called Sale and Leaseback.
• This can be a more attractive option than Equity Release as you retain a greater degree of control, and almost always realise more attractive financial terms.
• The outcome is to sell your home at a full price, while at the same time remaining in the property for as long as you like after you have sold it.
• An agent with expert knowledge in this area can find a buyer for your home who will then lease it back to you at a market rent for however long is required – possibly 25 years or even more.
• An alternative is to sell at a discounted price with no rent to pay whatsoever. Again, working with an agent you trust and who knows your personal requirements, you can be advised on the different options and what is going to work best for you.
And as this is the last in our series of sales blogs, (stay tuned for our next series on the Lettings Market beginning soon) we hope you won't mind if we end by saying that at John Wilcox & Co we have felt enormously privileged to help generations of families with their property needs over the past 38 years. We take our responsibilities tremendously seriously and with our 100 years of experience in the office, we have earned your trust to care for one of your family's biggest assets.
If we can be of any service to you or your extended family, please don't hesitate to get in touch or come by the office for advice on any of your property needs.