The property market hasn't just been falling a little, it's been entirely unpredictable throughout the year. The London property market is, quite frankly, all over the place. Homes are selling if they're either exceptional or reduced in price. With an exceptional home, it's not impossible to achieve an over-asking price offer and set a new record in your street, as we've just done.

If you're the kind of homeowner who want to upsize, downsize, move out of town or bag a home nearer the school you're after, there are a couple of things you can do.

You can move in any property market
You can move on whatever the market is doing. My advice is to ignore the housing market. It makes no difference whether prices are up or down as to whether you can move or not.



If you've been on the market for a while and you haven't sold, you have two choices. Stay on the market at a price that isn't working or take your property off. If you have been sitting on the market and not selling, it's important to understand that the price you're hoping to get is not unachievable; it either isn't achievable right now (due to market conditions), or your home isn't being properly marketed. It's impossible for us to tell which category you fall into without seeing your home first.

I can hear you saying, 'but if I take my home off the market, how will I be able to move?' There are strategies we use that may be right for you. Take an offer to get a higher one
Negotiation is key in a tough market. If you are moving within a few miles, you'll likely find that other homes have reacted to the market too, i.e. local prices are relative and fluctuate at the same levels. If so, then no one has lost anything, you can afford to accept an offer and pass the price-drop on. Think of it like this: you're being marketed at £500,000 and get an offer that's 10% off the asking price, £450,000. If your ongoing purchase is priced at £750,000, there's nothing to stop you offering £675,000 on the basis that the market has shifted down by 10%. Often, when skilled staff control these negotiations, people shift their offers up after initial figures are thrown about and you could find you've not dropped your price so far after all.

Let-to-buy is the newest alternative
Maybe you've seen a house you desperately want but you can't get the price you want for your home. Perhaps you're already in a chain and your buyer has pulled out. You could be relocating due to a new job. Or you might just want to hang onto your home as a future investment. If you have lived in your home for say, five years, you'll likely to have a substantial equity in it. So, if your house is worth about £1,000,000 and you have a £350,000 mortgage (and no other debt), you have £650,000 in equity. Whatever your home is worth (don't let my London-esque figures put you off), it's likely let-to-buy will work for you if you've lived in your place for a few years and its grown in capital worth/ you've chunked back the mortgage.

In this scenario, you draw down funds from your equity pot to use as a deposit on your next home and leave some in your first home as a deposit on a let-to-buy mortgage. This way, you end up with two properties, one to live in and one as an investment. Right now, there's an upsurge in this type of transaction—unsurprising given the current market and the fact that sales fall-throughs are at a record high. The first thing you absolutely need to know is your predicted rental income. A quick chat with our lettings manager, Harris, will firm this up in seconds (he's super-accurate). Call him on 020 3206 3063 or email him. Once you have a rental valuation, you can find out if let-to-buy is feasible.



How do let-to-buy mortgages work?
The let-to-buy mortgage lender will need at least a 25% deposit and much like a residential mortgage, you'll get a better interest rate if you use a higher deposit. Say your original home is valued at £800,000 and you have a mortgage of £200,000. This leaves you £600,000 in equity-this is your profit. Usually people use this to put down on their next home.



If you switch your mortgage to a let-to-buy and aim to leave 25% deposit there, you'd leave £200,000 in your original property and the lender would issue a mortgage for the outstanding £ 600,000 that your tenants will be paying off. You'd pocket £400,000 that you can use towards a deposit on a new home. You new home's mortgage will be a residential mortgage and the amount you'll be lent will depend on your salary (your first property won't be taken into account). Affordability of the let-to-buy mortgage is assessed by the rental income you'd expect to get. Most lenders want the rental income to cover about 125% of the mortgage repayments. So, if your new let-to-buy mortgage payments are around £700 a month and your expected rental income is £2,000 a month, your figures stack up. Here's a useful calculator.

Bear in mind, you will need to pay a conveyancing solicitor and extra stamp duty for your second property. This stamp duty calculator will give you an idea of the cost of stamp duty.

Take your home off the market to sell it
If you're on the market and not selling, you need to know why. Is it the marketing or your asking price expectation? This is where you need professional advice. You need someone to have a look over your property's marketing material, portal statistics and, most importantly, to visit your home and talk to you. I've gone into why this can be a good tactic in detail here.



Conclusion The housing market goes up, the housing market comes down. People will always need to move home and there's no reason why the market should hold you up. A decent estate agent will, as our director sharply says, 'get you the best price the market will bear.' When you think about it, that's all you need to move on.