Thoughts on putting the house on the market …

So, after umming and ahing for probably years, we have finally done it. The house is on the market as of this week. It has been tidied within an inch of its life, the photos have been taken by the agent and the details are on his website, as well as RightMove, Zoopla and PrimeLocation. Anyone who knows where I live can see the details for yourselves, if you fancy having a look into my utility room…

Having made this step, it’s an interesting and slightly un-nerving position to be in. I’d forgotten what it’s like, as it’s over 21 years since we moved into this house. Last time, of course, there was no internet, so anyone wanting to buy a house had a much more difficult task obtaining details. Nowadays, the on-line details are more comprehensive than the printed ones as well as easier to get.

The prompt for finally biting the bullet was the sale of a very similar house next door. The owner had told us that he wasn’t in any particular hurry to move and would hold out for his asking price. Although I don’t know what he actually got for it, I can only assume that he was doing just that. Our house, which is arguably a better layout than theirs should therefore be worth at least a similar amount of money. But there is a snag – Stamp Duty.

The threshold for the change from 1% Stamp Duty to 3% is £250,000. No one in their right mind pays £251,000 for a house, or even £255,000. The Stamp Duty would be 3x on the whole sale (it’s not only charged on the marginal amount). This means that if there is a gentle rise in the housing market, properties stop rising at £249,999. There is a large gap between there and when it is actually worth pricing above the £250,000 threshold (about £280,000 seems to be it). Consequently, there is no option for benefiting from rising prices (if there ever is one) until the inflation has been long enough to add that extra £30,000. That could easily be a year or two in this part of the country.

Ours is on the market at £249,950 and for that you get quite a lot for your money.

So, where to move to?

We seem to have settled on two options. Firstly, an area of South Lancashire around the village of Croston, which is a few miles west of the M6 Junction 27. This is a nice part of the county that is very quiet and not on any major through routes etc. and about 32 miles from the office.

Secondly, Cheshire, south of the M56 Junction 10/11. This is closer at around 26 miles, and a nice area, provided you steer clear of the salt mines and the chemical works on the Weaver. The advantage of this location is that we would not need to sacrifice one of our salaries.

In both locations we can find what look like decent, two bed cottages for substantially less than our house might fetch and the idea of downsizing, getting closer to the office and reducing the mortgage all at the same time could be realised. Let’s get ours sold first and then we can see what’s available at that time. Will give it 6 months and then think about whether to carry on.

The question has to be asked as to how I feel about selling this house.

Having spent about 40% of my entire life in this house, it will be odd not living here any more. We like the village, despite the weekend crowds eating their ice cream and it was very handy for working in Liverpool. But now the children have both been gone for years. It’s been 12 years since I started working in Manchester and I have done getting on for half a million miles in the car in that time. Previous posts have worked out how much I might save in just cash terms if I were to move 20 miles closer to the office (which both of the above options do). And last night, I took a short detour off at J10 to drive past one of the candidates, and as I got back on the motorway for that last half hour drive to home, that is when it struck me that there would be benefits in other ways too.

I am sure it will be an emotional day if we do manage to move, but this does make a lot of sense in so many ways that I am sure this is the right thing to do.

And Wednesday brings another four-monthly check up at The Christies. I don’t think anything has changed since April, but let’s see what the man says and see if he still wants to do another CT at Christmas.

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