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Do homes sell better in Spring? We separate property fact from fiction

There's no shortage of advice on how buyers, sellers, renters and landlords can get the best out of the housing market.

Conversations about property at dinner parties (remember those?) and programmes like Homes Under The Hammer and Location, Location, Location have made us all experts, or so we think.

But are some of our certainties just old wives' tales? We asked the real experts . . .

Conversations about property at dinner parties and programmes like Homes Under The Hammer and Location, Location, Location have made us all experts, or so we think

YOUR HOME WILL SELL FAST

Verdict: Fiction.

Estate agents may tell the owner that their home will sell quickly in order to win the instruction to market the property.

'Until you've had viewings there's no way of knowing. Many properties will sell at the right price, but to get to that may take a little longer than anticipated,' says Chris Mullin, of estate agency Hamptons.

ONLINE AGENTS ARE CHEAPER

Verdict: Fiction.

Although you'll pay less in charges to an online agent, you are likely to get a lower price for your property, which more than outweighs the saving in fees. 

Property information service The Advisory, calculates that bricks and mortar firms typically achieve a 5 per cent higher price.

BUYERS DECIDE QUICKLY

Verdict: Fact.

Studies show buyers make an in-principle decision to bid for, or reject, a property fast - often within 30 minutes or less. That's why a smart exterior can set the tone for a successful viewing.

COFFEE AROMA WOOS BUYERS

Verdict: Fiction.

Quick decisions on purchases tend to be based on visual impressions, not smells. 'Not everyone warms to them. 

In Covid times, fresh air wins hands down. And at this time of year, if you have a fire, light it,' says Sarah Cull, of Strutt & Parker.

ODD NUMBERS SELL FOR MORE

Verdict: Fact.

Many agents report more people want odd numbers, especially traditionally 'lucky' three and seven, outweighing unpopular 13. 

Higher demand pushes up prices, and comparison website GetAgent says analysis shows odd-number homes sell on average for 2 per cent more.

MY STREET STARRED IN A FILM

Verdict: Fiction.

'People are so switched on, they're unlikely to pay more for a property that's been on the large or small screen,' says James Greenwood, of Stacks Property Search. 'A property linked with horrific events may make it harder to sell.'

FLAT CONVERSIONS ARE TINY 

Verdict: Fact.

Minimum government space standards don't apply to many homes converted from old offices. 'A 13 sq m flat - the area of a typical double bedroom - is not uncommon. Some are even smaller,' warns a HomeOwners Alliance spokesman.

REJECT THE FIRST OFFER

Verdict: Fiction.

'If they offer the asking price and are in a great position - no chain and finances in place - then don't look a gift horse in the mouth,' advises Paula Higgins, HomeOwners Alliance chief executive.

PRICES ALWAYS RISE

Verdict: Fiction.

House prices dropped about 20 per cent between 1989 and 1993, and during the global financial crisis of 2008 and 2009 they fell almost as much. 

However, the average UK house price in late 1980 was almost £21,000 when 40 years later it hit £245,000 - nearly 12 times the amount.

HOUSES SELL WELL IN SPRING

Verdict: Fact.

The Advisory calculates that a home put on the market in March will take 57 days on average before the seller accepts an offer. The typical time on market rises to a peak in October of 79 days on average.

STAMP DUTY USED TO BE HIGH

Verdict: Fiction.

Stamp Duty was only 1 per cent and applied only to homes costing over £60,000 until 1997. It's been rising ever since and before the current stamp duty holiday (until the end of June), buyers of some properties had to pay 18 per cent Stamp Duty.

On the market... solid investments 

Gloucestershire: This Grade II-listed home in Chalford is in what locals call the Golden Valley. There are four bedrooms and a basement. Hamptons.co.uk, 01453 270 013. £775,000

Sussex: There are two bedrooms in this Brighton penthouse which has panoramic views of the sea. There is a balcony. Mishonmackay.com, 01273 670 067. £550,000

Leicestershire: Market Harborough is the location of this thatched cottage which has four bedrooms and views of open fields. Andrewgranger.co.uk, 01858 431 315. £475,000

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