How to sell your East Dulwich home (and what's really happening in the SE22 property market)

Published: 25/03/2019 By Jane Robathan

With around 300 properties for sale today, East Dulwich appears to have a thriving property market. Except it isn’t. Prices and deals are, frankly, all over the place.

In a strong market, property in SE22 demands a square footage average of anything between £650-750, sometimes a smidge higher. While the market has softened, homes advertised on Rightmove and Zoopla seem to be bucking Brexit. But things are not quite as they appear. 

To see what I mean, try this on Rightmove:
Search for a property for sale between £900,000 - £2,500,000. Scroll down and make a note of how many homes had price reductions prior to selling. Notice too, how many have been on the market since last year and the amount of price reductions across the board.

Presently, 28% of all properties have had a price reduction and a staggering (and co-incidentally the same number), 28% have been on since last year. 

As for homes which have sold quickly, without an apparent drop in price, why is that? 
Most buyers are currently under offer to someone below them (a few are chain free or cash) and avidly looking. This handful of active buyers have an outstanding choice of homes to select from. 

Having attracted affluent professionals in droves over the past 20-years, SE22 is awash with homes that have been rejigged, remodeled and revamped. Many home-renovation businesses have sprouted up and there are dozens of high-end architects in operation. 

With so many beautiful properties for sale, buyers have better options than ever. The best of the best fly do sell fast and if they have an outstanding feature, such as proximity to a great school or a 100-ft south-facing garden, they’ll fare very well. 

But for the other 95% of lavishly done-up properties, a sale can take far longer and offers can come in far lower, than expected. Once you’ve invested a wedge on a special attic conversion or hand-joined kitchen, you’ll want to recoup your restoration costs. So, many sellers are holding on to high prices.

All estate agencies have a few hundred buyers on their books. Many buyers register with several agencies in one area. Usually, after spotting something on Rightmove (it’s normally Rightmove), a buyer will call the acting agent and register their details in order to book a viewing. So, they’ll register with every agent that shows them a property. As buyers are looking at more homes than usual before making an offer (a key trend in a slow market), they register with more agents than usual. So, right now, local agencies have a lot of shared buyers on their books. With competition rife, agents are chasing buyers more than usual.  This shift in relations sends the message to buyers that they can be more relaxed than usual about finding.

Whatever market we’re in, there are always less buyers looking at homes priced at £1 million and above. Two distinct sets of buyers make clear bulges on estate agencies’ databases: first-time buyers and second-steppers looking for a typical 3-4-bedroom house (for under a million). There are always less people looking for more expensive homes but today there are more expensive homes on the market than usual. 

What you can do
If your home is one of the 95% waiting to sell, despite regular viewings, you could consider switching agents. The only way to avoid appearing stale online and producing a new ‘added by’ date on Rightmove is to change your agent or remove your home from Rightmove for a at least 14-weeks. After this time, your original agent can reload it and your listing will have a new ‘added by’ date. But if you’re keen to get going, switching agents is the only way to appear fresh to the market.

Why this is important 

Two reasons. The first is purely technical. When Rightmove and Zoopla upload a new property (including ones that have moved to a new agent), they send a round of email alerts to the thousands of buyers registered with them. This creates a huge spike in traffic, meaning people click straight to your listing and click through it, as soon as it comes to market. We see the graphs and get the calls. It works. You can also reduce your asking price. If you reduce it by at least 2%, Rightmove send email alerts and add a ‘reduced by’ date on the first part of your listing. They also publish your original ‘added by’ date in the full listing.

Secondly, it’s true that homes that have been hanging around attract suspicion—a traditional view that still holds up. People just aren’t as interested in something that no one else appears to want. They might (unreasonably) feel there’s something wrong with it.

How do I get the best price?
There are many, very lovely homes that have taken over a year to sell. And for a lot less than they were first valued at. I know of houses that have dropped several hundred thousand pounds in asking price and have only just sold. By knowing how to optimize search on portals, price your property for search (I don’t mean you’ll lose value but there are tricks that improve your exposure on portals) and launch your home professionally, you’ll maximise every marketing opportunity. By thinking strategically and getting the pricing as accurate as possible from the beginning, you’ll make more money in the end.   

Please drop me a line if you’d like to know more