People decide to sell for a wide variety of reasons. It could be a work- related move, expansion to make space for new arrivals, or less need for space due to a reduction in the number of family members living at home. Some people just fancy a change every once in a while and others decide to cash in when they think they've ridden price rises as far as they can.
Before you start, think about what is involved in the whole process, how long it is likely to take, any external time or financial pressures that you may have and any other constraints that there may be, such as buying a new home to move into.
If time is a critical factor in your sale, then you could be in for a stressful time, so make sure you give yourself as much of it as possible. Not everything that can go wrong necessarily will, but cutting time deadlines fine will only add to the pressure and stress of what is already a far from hassle free experience.
Don't bank on the sale going through incredibly quickly. Even if you do find a buyer quickly, there are all sorts of other reasons why delays can hold up the sale. You rarely have much influence over when a buyer will come along or how long your property will be on the market.
One other important thing to do is to check with your lender that you are not going to be hit with all sorts of redemption penalties when you redeem your mortgage. As the costs of selling and buying mount up, you don't want to be hit with a bill for what can amount to thousands of pounds. If you do have to move but there are redemption penalties, try to consider other alternatives such as renting, at least until the redemption period is over.
For vendors, certain times of year are definitely more favourable than others.
March to July tends to be the busiest time in the property market, though late summer and early autumn can also be busy in some places.
High summer (if there is such a thing in this country) tends to be a bit slower. This is due to people being on holiday or coping with the kids being at home. People are often unwilling or not able to view, exchange, co-ordinate and complete the necessary activities with the many distractions that summer has to offer.
Apart from the traditional seasonal ebbs and flows of the market, conditions can be become ripe for a vendor at any time, so always try to keep and an eye or an ear on the market. It may sound obvious, but try to sell when demand is high, as prices will be pushed up - something that clearly benefits you.
If, like most people, you are trying to co-ordinate buying and selling a home, it is best to put your home up for sale before you seriously start looking for a new home to live in. Until you find a buyer for your own home, you cannot tell with any certainty what price you are going to achieve (and therefore how much you are going to have available for a purchase) or how long it will be before you are in a position to go through with a purchase. Of course, if money is less of an object, or you're not against the idea of bridging finance, then this becomes much less of an issue.
The worst time to sell is when there are fewest buyers in the market. If interest rates are temporarily raised to calm the market, you may find that buyers are in short supply. If both your next door neighbours put identical houses up for sale at the same time, it may be a bad idea for you to do the same. So once again, try to follow the markets and read the signs. Following the news on this site should keep you in the picture.
In terms of the four seasons, autumn generally sees the housing market slow down. The reason for this is that winter tends not to be such a popular time for buyers, with the Christmas period a time when few people like to be moving house. Most buyers tend to prefer to wait until the new year.
Having said that, some properties have certain characteristics that are best seen at certain time of year. The sun may set beautifully giving rise to a fantastic view from one of the rooms for only a few months of the year or you may have a fantastic view during the winter months, which is obscured by greenery during the summer.
At the end of the day, much depends on your property. If it is in a sought after location, you should have no problem selling at a reasonable asking price regardless of the time of year or market conditions. Then again, if there are strong reasons that may put buyers off from acquiring your property, these are likely to be valid objections regardless of whether demand has gone through the roof in the market as a whole. But it does no harm to play the percentages and do everything possible to gain as much advantage for yourself as possible.