After a slow end to 2022 caused by the chaos of October the UK property market appears to be settling down and the early signs for 2023 are encouraging as we adjust to a new normal. 
Whilst mortgage rates are certainly far higher than they have been over the past 10 years or so the current rates are not excessively high when comparing with longer term figures and it appears that homebuyers and sellers across the county are starting their home moving plans early this year. 
Whilst plenty of people may say they want to move, for some it is not possible, or their plans may be unrealistic so you need to do your homework before you start. With that in mind, this article provides some hints and tips to help you get ahead and give yourself the best chance of moving home as smoothly as possible. 

Get Your Own House Valued 

You need to make sure you know how much you can expect to sell your home for. It is widely predicted that house prices will fall this year so make sure your estate agent is explaining how they have reached their figure and why they think that is the right price. Be careful not to fall for sales tricks of over valuing a property to win your instruction only to then be pushed to reduce it when it doesn’t sell. When prices are falling it is important not to chase the market down and often it is better to pitch the price slightly below the market value and then use the skill of the agent to negotiate the best price with your buyer. I would always suggest getting 3 valuations. 


Speak to your bank or financial advisor before you start to sell your home. Your advisor will want to know what your current home is worth as well as what is outstanding on your current mortgage. This will leave you with an equity that can be used as a deposit alongside any savings you may have. Your financial advisor will ask a number of questions and it is vitally important to disclose any borrowing you may have. Once your advisor has all the information, they will be able to tell you how much you can borrow and how much it is going to cost you. There are so many different options available so I would always suggest speaking with an independent financial advisor as they are able to look at nearly all the products on offer whereas if you just approach your bank directly then they will only offer the products they have and you may well be missing out on a better deal. 

Sell First 

If you need to sell to buy, then 100% get your house on the market FIRST and find a buyer. If you don’t then it doesn’t matter whether you find the house of your dreams or not because if you haven’t sold, then you can’t buy it and the likelihood is that someone else will. Why risk putting yourself in that position and having all the disappointment that it brings? Your estate agent should be asking you what your onward plans are and understanding whether you need to find a property or if you are able to sell chain free so make sure that they are aware of what you can and can’t do. As long as your buyer is aware from the outset then they will in most cases be able and willing to wait for you to find. Whatever your circumstances, never be worried that you may end up homeless as nobody can force you to move until you are ready to do so. 

Choose Your Estate Agent 

If you followed my advice and got three valuations, then the likelihood is that you will be happy to trust at least one of them to sell your home. If you’re unconvinced by any of them to look after you then by all means go and get another agent to come and see you and explain what they can do differently. Remember you are trusting these people with your biggest asset so an estate agent being okay should never be good enough. There is so much available to us online to help us decide who we should consider using but a few pointers are below – 
1. Reviews – Read their reviews and pay particular attention to the latest ones. Don’t be fooled by the number of reviews as some estate agents will have been around a lot longer than others but it doesn’t mean they are better. See if individual names are mentioned and if so is that individual still working there? 
2. Test – A good way of understanding how an estate agent works is to submit an enquiry to one of their properties. You will be surprised how many enquiries are not answered by estate agents so you need to think if that was your property would you want the agent that doesn’t respond selling it for you? 
3. Service – Make sure you understand the service you will receive. When will you get feedback on viewings? will they always accompany viewings? how often will they contact you? It is also important to appreciate that in a lot of cases the estate agent you first meet will very rarely, if ever, do any of your viewings so make sure you know who will be and that they will be familiar with your property. 
4. Contract – This is a big one but often overlooked. Nearly all estate agents have a contract that ties you in to using their services for a minimum period and this can often be 8, 10 or 12 weeks long. During that period, you are unable to change estate agent if for any reason you are unhappy, even at the end of the term you will have to give a minimum of two weeks’ notice. During COVID when houses were selling very quickly most home sellers didn’t need to worry but with a slowing market you should make sure you are not tied in so that if your agent of choice doesn’t deliver on their promises, you have an escape. One final point about contracts is that some agents will charge you a fee if you terminate their services at the end of the contract even if they haven’t found a buyer. 
5. Coverage – Contrary to popular belief not every estate agent uses Rightmove and Zoopla. As the two biggest portals and the ones that attract most potential buyers, not having your property on one of them could make a difference. Of course, putting a property online is just one of the many things an estate agent can do to try and sell your home so make sure you know what they will pro-actively be doing in addition. 
6. Fees – Rather than simply focusing on how much commission an agent may charge you should be factoring in the level of service one provides against another but also what plans an agent has to market your home in a way that gets the best price. One agent may be a few hundred pounds more than another but if they are more skilled and can get you a few thousand more for the property then you will be better off. 


With the supply of property down, estate agents are fighting to get their hands on as much as they can so be careful of an agent suggesting they can sell your home for a price which is higher than all the others suggested. Do your research before you have an agent come round, get an idea of what is selling in your area and ask your estate agent to show you evidence that backs up the price they have quoted you. The last thing you want to do is sign up with an agent that has deliberately overpriced your home especially if you are then tied in to one of those lengthy contracts mentioned above. 
With prices expected to drop between 5% and 10% you want to make sure you are not caught chasing the market with price drop after price drop when your home has not sold. 

First Impressions 

Stand outside the front of your house and have a look. Be critical. Does it look good or could it be better? Getting gutters and window frames cleaned does not have to be expensive but can make such a difference to the appearance, white guttering especially. Clear weeds and grass from drives and pathways and consider giving your front door a wash down or fresh coat of paint. You don’t want people dismissing your home for things that can easily be corrected. 
A good estate agent will point out any other things that you should consider doing internally that won’t necessarily cost much or may increase the value of your home. 


Appoint a solicitor to act for you at the same time you instruct an estate agent. Get them to send out their terms of business and return to them with your ID. Your solicitor will then be able to check the title and possibly identify any issues before a buyer is found and by doing this you will almost certainly save 2 weeks at least in the process once a buyer is found. 

Sale Price 

Naturally everyone wants to sell for the best price possible and invariably we all have a minimum price we are willing to accept for our homes. However, you should always consider the differential. This is the difference between what you sell for and what you buy for and as long as that remains the same as your initial plan then what you actually sell for doesn’t matter. For example, you may be wanting £250,000 for your house and then buy at £350,000 but if you get an offer for £240,000 then as long as the one you want to buy can be purchased for £340,000 then you are no worse off. In fact with lower prices you would actually be slightly better off overall because of how estate agent fees and stamp duty are calculated. 

Final Point 

People often get completely stressed with selling their home, forever cleaning and not letting the kids get their toys out and whilst it is important and best to present a house nicely it is important that you continue to live your life as well. By doing so you will be more relaxed and hopefully find the whole process more enjoyable. 
As always we love to hear from you with your views, thoughts, questions and experiences by calling 01452 260993, messaging us or emailing
Tagged as: Mortgage Advice
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