Thank you to all those who responded to last month’s survey about your most recent property searches.
The first question related to the number of agents house-hunters registered with. The vast majority of respondents stated that they had registered with at least six agents before they found the right property. This should come as no surprise: Rightmove estimates that the average house-hunter registers with fourteen agents. This makes sense for house-hunters, as it gives them more options and maximises their chances of finding the perfect property.
Online property search websites such as Rightmove and Zoopla are likely to be the reason behind this trend, as users are able to see multiple agents’ portfolios in the same place, and it is therefore easier for them to register with a larger number of agents.
In this environment, homeowners should be aware that the presentation of their property is more important than ever before. As house-hunters have the ability to see such a large selection of property listings in the same place, it is crucial to ensure that your property stands out from the crowd, with excellent photography, a well-written description and a competitive price.
This is even more important based on another trend witnessed from among our respondents. A significant minority stated that they registered with only one agent, and a similar number also answered that they saw only one property and concluded their search in under one week. This indicates that some house-hunters found exactly what they were looking for online, registered with the agent listing it, and took it off the market immediately. Again, the first step here is vital: homeowners must ensure their property is looking its best in order to attract these applicants in the first place.
The majority of our respondents stated that they’d seen 6-10 or 2-5 properties during their search, and that it took between 2-3 and 1-2 weeks. These house-hunters will have seen an accurate cross-section of the available properties in their desired area, allowing them to select the best option and then move quickly to secure it.
A smaller number recorded that they had viewed more than ten properties, and this roughly correlates with the proportion whose searches lasted either 3-4 weeks or longer. In these cases, viewing so many properties often creates indecision for the house-hunters, which means that they are slower to place an offer on their eventual first choice.
The market is often faster-paced than this, especially in lettings, and by this time the property has often been taken off the market by a more motivated house-hunter. The disappointed applicant must then return to their search, but will find that the list of available properties has almost completely changed since they began their hunt a few weeks before.
The property market is an ever-changing landscape, with properties coming available and going under offer every day. It is possible to keep looking forever, but – as evidenced by our respondents – most people don’t have the luxury of unlimited time, so are best served by viewing a cross-section of the market before making an informed decision.