According to an article in the Daily Express this week, people in the UK have paid a total of £17bn in unexpected fees when moving home over the last two years. Yes … That’s right. A massive £17 BILLION, which equates to around £5,000 per mover. (http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/594485/house-buyers-mortgage-house-loan-buyers-home) To be honest, we find the figures shocking. The logistics of moving housecan be stressful enough without finding yourself saddled with significant additional cost. Of course, the problem can be compounded by the value of property these days. When the average house is thought to be worth upwards of £275,000, what’s £5k in the scheme of things?
Back in the year 2000, we were all probably slightly bemused that we arrived in the new millennium without the predicted global collapse of informational technology. After all, we’d all heard so much about the so-called “Millennium Bug”, it undermined our confidence in our computers, even persuading us to squirrel away hard copies of important documents “just in case”. But that was 15 years ago and, in just a short time, technology has come on in leaps and bounds - so much so, in fact, we now trust the internet with our banking, our weekly shopping and even our personal relationships. It’s strange then that there are still some who will warn against using it for significant purchases – not least traditional high street estate agents who are not against warning off sellers considering their online options.Of course, they have a vested interest but many will weave mystery and jargon around the process of selling a house, making it sound so much more complicated than it needs to be.
Imagine the scene … You’ve just been shown around a house and you’ve been quite impressed with the roomy garden and the modern bathroom. There are a couple more properties on your list still to see but you like this one enough to see if there’s any leeway in the asking price. It’s on the market for £269,000 but your upward limit is £265,000. “Do you think the owners might take £265,000?” you ask the sharp-suited estate agent with the clipboard tucked under his arm. And, before you know it, he’s suddenly pumping your hand. “Congratulations! You’ve just bought yourself a house…!” It happens. It’s a somewhat sneaky way to close a sale but buyers – particularly first-time buyers - can be so swept away by the sudden excitement of a house purchase they don’t realise that they didn’t actually make an offer. Some might argue that sort of sharp practice is how estate agents earn their fees. After all, they’re there to sell your property and, if they succeed – and succeed quickly – you might not want to ask too many questions about how they did it.
One of the first things any estate agent gets asked is for an opinion on the health of the housing market. What’s going to happen in the next few weeks? If I want the best price for my house, should I put it on the market now or wait for a few months? I’m thinking of selling my house next year so what will the market be like by then …? That sort of thing.