In Dumfries & Galloway we have agreed eight sales in the first 10 working days of the year – a clear sign that the market in 2022 is shaping up to be just as busy as it was in 2021 – which was itself a phenomenal year for the property market and followed on from an exceptionally good 2020.

Amidst all the good news for sellers, there are some who are hesitant about bringing their house to the market if they feel there aren’t many properties they want to buy right now. Some people saw their dream home on the market last year but missed the boat – leaving them feeling very disappointed. This is understandable but being decisive and acting now will give you a clear advantage as the market heats up again.

So what should you do if you want to move in 2022? The first thing to do is to choose your agent. You will want to work with an agent who sells properties similar to your own home. They should have strong sales and marketing expertise incorporating effective use of drone footage and video tours. In conversation with your agent you should feel that you understand and agree with their strategy in marketing your home. Although it sounds sentimental, when the agent and the homeowner work as a team throughout the sales process, this invariably produces the best result.

Once you have chosen and instructed your agent, they will begin the process of preparing the brochure and web listing for your home. The gathering, checking and approval of the information required to effectively market a property will take a number of days – depending on the home owner and agent’s availability. In addition it important, at all times of the year, to obtain the best possible photographs, which may be weather dependent.

Commissioning a chartered surveyor to produce your Home Report is the next stage in the process. Again, depending on their workload and market demand this can take a week or two to complete, so early contact is advised. Your agent can arrange this for you or you could choose your own chartered surveyor if you prefer.

Arrange your finances if you will require a mortgage to move home. Securing a mortgage in principle is not dependent on the specific house you are going to buy but can be arranged with your bank in advance.  You want to have everything in place to put you in a position to make an offer quickly when the right house comes to the market.

Steps should also be taken to alert or instruct your chosen solicitor to your intention to move house, and if you are making a cross border move, it is important to note that England and Scotland have different legal systems for long standing historical reasons, so you will require a solicitor in each jurisdiction. If buying in Scotland, it is crucial to have a solicitor in place before commencing formal negotiations to purchase, as again it can take up to a week or more to formally engage a solicitor, as the demands on their time and expertise have been tested during the exceptionally busy period of sales activity.

Your agent will then be able to ‘push the button’ and list your home very quickly when the time is right. If an agent has all the information prepared, they can put their client’s property to market in minutes, not weeks.

It is worth bearing in mind that the seller might not always accept the highest offer for their home – there are other factors taken into consideration including whether or not the prospective buyer is ready to move and has sold their own property or at least has their property on the market. Agents are keen to ensure the sales process goes through to missives completed without any hitch. Those who are looking to move in the next 4-8 weeks must instruct an agent now to have a chance of being ready to compete with other potential buyers for an attractive property.

At Galbraith we are seeing requests for market appraisals rising very quickly in all regions. So my advice to anyone who missed out in 2021 is not to despair but act now to put yourself in the best possible position to secure your dream home in 2022.