The biggest mistake people make when they sell their home: Property news update

Plus, disappearing DIY skills, and incomes vs mortgages

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The Independent Online

In a new poll of 135 estate agents around Britain by Move with Us, 70 per cent of those questioned said not taking the agent's advice on price was the most common error made by homesellers.

It was by far the biggest pitfall mentioned, with not tidying up before viewings in second place, followed by lack of availability for viewings and being rude or unfriendly during viewings.

In terms of the mistakes made by buyers, 40 per cent of agents named 'wanting more from a property than their budget will allow' and 15 per cent said an unwillingness to compromise on a 'features wanted' list.

"For sellers, setting an accurate asking price is key," said Robin King, Director of Move with Us. " If it’s priced too low, it will sell but the seller will lose money. If it’s priced too high, it’s unlikely to receive a lot of viewings and the price may have to be reduced. 

"Buyers need to be realistic about what they can afford. Even with the biggest budget in the world, it can be difficult to find the perfect home in the ideal location so some compromises may have to be made. It’s a good idea to have a clear differentiation between the ‘must haves’ and the ‘maybes’."

Home skills disappearing

DIY skills are not being passed down to a younger generation, according to research from AA Home Membership.

In a survey of nearly 2,000 adults, only three out of ten under-35s could change a fuse in a plug, while 93 per cent of people over 65 who were easily able to do so. The figures for knowing how to turn off the home's water supply were similar.

Indeed, on average, under 35s would wait more than a week to fix a leaky roof or an electrical socket and three days to get somebody in to take a look at a faulty boiler 

Income of homebuyers looking for a mortgage up a fifth

Buyers searching for a new mortgage between July and September this year had an average combined income of £56,559, according to figures from the Mortgage Advice Bureau.

This was up five per cent compared to the previous three months and 21 per cent from the same time last year.

Brian Murphy, head of lending at Mortgage Advice Bureau, said the rise suggested the focus on affordability assessments under the new Mortgage Market Review was attracting buyers with greater financial resources.


"Affordability assessments have shone a spotlight on the detail of borrowers’ incomes and expenditure," he said. "As a result, it may have dampened some speculative interest from lower earners, and while there is still plenty of appetite from prospective purchasers, it is important that the industry continues to work hard to promote affordable options such as shared equity and shared ownership to maintain access to the property ladder."