No deal Brexit and selling your house: how to get to completion before October 31st

Worried that a no deal Brexit will scupper your house sale? It's a tricky time of year to sell anyway... but there are positive steps you can take

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Is the threat of a no deal Brexit hampering your house sale? Are you desperate to clinch the completion by October 31st and be settled in your new home by Christmas? Your window for securing a deal is tight – from now until 31st October – and not just because of the looming threat of a no deal Brexit. 

Selling a house at any time can be a lengthy and tricky process: the further into autumn we get, the harder it becomes. Add to that the nervousness of what will happen to the money and housing markets after Brexit (whether with or without a deal), and you soon begin to see how completing a sale and being settled by Christmas will be a challenge.

Below, we list the main reasons why you might be having trouble selling your home this autumn (and they're not all Brexit-related)... and also the positive steps you can take to influence and speed up a sale if you're determined – or need to go through with it. 

1. No deal Brexit is all that's on people's minds

We all know that buying a house is the biggest purchase you can ever make so anyone with any sense will choose to delay until after Brexit uncertainty is settled, right? And that's not likely to be any time in the next month... or possibly years.

And here's what you can do to combat it:

IF you are in a short chain, if you have a cash buyer or one with a healthy deposit and can move fast, it might be that you can push the move through before October 31st. Best thing to do? Ensure your paperwork, finances and mortgage – and those of your buyers – are all in good order and ready to go before you get in too deep. Use our guide to mortgage comparison to take those first steps.

Then, ensure you maintain a positive, honest conversation with your buyers throughout the next six weeks. If things go quiet, get on the phone, whether to your solicitor, the estate agent or – if you have their number – your buyer. The trick is to keep the chain moving forwards, and never suffer a week without progress.

2. No one wants to move in the run up to Christmas

It's an unwritten rule: most people want to have their housing situation sorted by October, so that they can plan the big move and settle into their new place before December. Booking vans over Christmas is almost impossible, too. So, getting that sale before the end of October is a must. And if things (by which we mean viewings, with no sign of an offer) drag past the end of October, people begin to lose interest or want to push the whole thing into January. And who knows where we'll be by then.

And here's what you can do to combat it:

If you're having trouble shifting your home – perhaps viewings are low, the people coming to view are unsuitable or you've simply not had any offers, the first thing to do is to talk to your estate agent – and do some research of your own. What kind of movement are other homes like yours seeing? Have other buyers dropped their prices – and what difference has that made in terms of viewings and offers? Is your home underpriced? What feedback are viewers giving to your estate agent (or you) that you could action? Do you need to swap agents to one that's more proactive? Could an open-day help? 

3. Houses don't look their best in late autumn

With low light, dark nights, and gardens looking dingy, your house is unlikely to look as attractive as it did in May. September's still not a bad time with all the colourful foliage in people's gardens, but past that time, your property will look less appealing to buyers. That means ensuring your home's kerb appeal is ramped up is a must.

And here's what you can do to combat it:

So, what can you do to give your home kerb appeal? Could outdoor lighting help draw attention to your home's finer points on darker days? Even cheap solar lighting that you can take with you when you move can be a worthwhile buy. Could hiding away the bins, tidying up the borders and investing in a few pot plants make it look attractive? 

These kerb appeal enhancing quick fixes are a must-read. And check out our tips for selling your house quickly for more ways to get indoors sale-ready.

4. There are fewer buyers around

Speak to your local agent and they will probably tell you what is happening to the particular part of the local market that your home belongs to. For example, one or two bed homes, which are usually bought by couples, often sell well over the summer when the market for family homes is dead (it's the school holidays; everyone's away – makes sense). 

Your agent might not want to admit it (out loud), but it might be that your type of home in your particular area just doesn't sell well in autumn. And if your area is feeling particularly vulnerable to a no deal Brexit – perhaps the local market is dependent on a large business that itself depends heavily on European trade – you might find that it's better to wait until after there's certainty.

And here's what you can do to combat it:

Sorry to say it, but the only way to sell if you really have to now might be to drop your price if you can afford to. The only upside is that other local houses might also have seen a like-for-like price drop, so if you are buying within the same area you won't lose out. 

If you're selling up for reasons beyond your control, speak to your mortgage lender as soon as possible to see if they can help you come up with a plan that might enable you to hold on to your home until the market improves.