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The impact of the credit crunch
on your house sale

credit crunch house sale

The impact of the credit crunch on your house sale is all too real and far-reaching. What we'd hoped would be a short term 'blip' in the housing market has turned out to be something rather more fundamental - and complicated.

Most significantly the credit crunch means properties are less affordable. Let's look at the reasons why house selling during the credit crunch is problematic and what if anything you can do about it.

Stock of unsold properties is increasing

One impact of the credit crunch on your house sale is the possibility your house may languish unsold. According to figures released by the National Association of Estate Agents, agents have roughly three times as many properties on their books compared with three or four years ago. Even in Scotland where the slowdown has been less abrupt, homeowners are still struggling to find buyers with an appetite to move and who can secure a mortgage deal. 

credit crunch house sale

In previous years, before we had to consider the impact of the credit crunch on your house sale, it was probably true that if your house wasn't getting viewings it was probably over-priced (all things being equal). This is an over-simplification of the current situation. Not only is the appetite for house selling reduced..more than that..

Buyers can't finance their purchase of your home

Another impact of the credit crunch on your house sale is that you are more likely now to lose your buyer. We are experiencing a noticeable surge of enquiries from homeowners who are facing this very situation.

credit crunch house sale

Nine times out of ten the reason sellers give is that the buyer can't get finance or their buyer's sale has fallen through. The impact of the credit crunch on your house sale is therefore also likely to involve more intractable house selling chains. Lenders are now re-jigging their mortgage deals on a daily basis! The BBC reports that the number of available mortgage offers fell 20% in just one week. Essentially lenders are tightening their belts - they simply don't want to risk over-stretching themselves by taking on new customers. According to the Council of Mortgage Lenders, mortgage lending has hit a 16-year low. So there you have it.  Which also means of course that..

credit crunch house sale

You can't find a suitable new mortgage deal

And of course if buyers can't find mortgage deals the same must be true of existing homeowners like you. When it comes to securing a competitive new mortgage or remortgage offer those hardest hit are homeowners who have traditionally relied on sub-prime lenders.  A widespread impact of the credit crunch on your house sale and those in your chain is that lenders are now asking for a much larger deposit - twenty-five percent is not unusual. 100% mortgage deals are simply no longer available.

It's official - house prices are falling

Bear in mind that the knock-on impact of the credit crunch on your house sale is that buyers are now restricted in what they can offer for your house. Whether you like it or not you may not get an offer you think you deserve. But please remember house prices are dynamic. We've just got used to them only going one way - up.

credit crunch house sale

According to figures released by the Halifax in April, house prices have reached their slowest rate of growth for twelve years with March seeing prices in 'sharp decline'. While some commentators have quite rightly said we shouldn't be persuaded by just once piece of news..it does seem to be true that house prices are falling to some extent in the face of new constraints on affordability. Falling prices is probably the most unwelcome impact of the credit crunch on your house sale.

What can you do to safeguard your house sale?

In essence what we said before we had to consider the impact of the credit crunch on your house sale still holds true. Get your own finances in order and sort your finance options out as best you can before putting your house on the market. It's probably only worth securing a decision in principle (DIP) from a lender once you have an offer since any DIP will be time-limited.

credit crunch house sale

Next get over the barrier of believing your house is worth what it was a year ago. It may not be. Get yourself into the frame of mind that now is the time to sell low to buy low.

Find an estate agent willing to accept your "price to sell" approach. Even with buyer confidence rock-bottom take comfort in the fact that some people still need to move regardless of the current situation in the wider market.

credit crunch house sale

When it comes to vetting prospective buyers, favour buyers who come with a DIP in hand. Realistically this is most likely to happen for first time buyer properties where people have nothing to sell. Buyers for almost every other type of property will be in a chain. If your property does attract the eye of a chain-free buyer then grab them - even if it means lowering your price. But don't accept an offer without a DIP or mortgage offer in place. As a rule of thumb DIPS are generally valid for around 30 days though in the current climate it could be less. However, the general message we'd give is to make sure you or your agent screens buyers appropriately to make sure they are "qualified" to buy in the current market.

Other options

Ultimately the impact of the credit crunch on your sale may mean you can't sell. Of course the "lifeline" offered by professional property buyers still exists but we're not immune to current market conditions either. We also have to take account of falling house values and more expensive mortgage interest rates. 

However, the option of asking a professional buyer to help either with an outright sale or long term rent back still exists.

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