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Should I take my house off the market in December? Image

22nd November 2019
Should I take my house off the market in December?

Research by The Homeowners Alliance suggests that if you haven’t sold your house by the end of October, you’re unlikely to find a buyer and be in before Christmas.

That might not have been your main priority. But now that the uncertainty in the housing market caused by Brexit has been multiplied by the general election, you’re probably wondering what to do next.

Should you call it quits, take your house off the market and start marketing all over again in the Spring? Or sit it out?

More people search online over the festive season

Although an election and Christmas aren’t the best combination for selling a house, it isn’t a complete write-off.  In fact, there's compelling evidence to prove that people use the festive season to make plans for the new year ahead.

Rightmove say people start thinking about their property plans straight after Christmas and the real peak in activity happens after Boxing Day.  Between Christmas and New Year 2018 for example, Rightmove tweeted that it enjoyed a staggering 25,147,701 page views on Boxing Day!

This online viewing is a good proxy for buyer activity.

Homeowners who decide to sell their properties but do nothing about it until January could be missing out; many people make moving one of their new year’s resolutions (especially if they're looking to change jobs early in 2020) so they'll often start looking in December.

The Christmas holiday is also a time for visiting friends and family which gives prospective purchasers the chance to check possible moves away from their present area. You may not want prospective purchasers viewing your property while finishing turkey leftovers but most estate agents will be open every day except the public holidays if you’re up for it.

And if you’re afraid prospective buyers will interrupt your Christmas? Then just let your estate agent know the days and times that you don’t want viewings.

People are still buying and selling

Let’s look at some other reasons to keep your home on the market in December:

  • There is a market! Yes it is quieter  – but demand still outstrips supply

  • While we are seeing discounts on asking prices, this also means you should be able to negotiate a discount on your onward purchase

  • Mortgages continue to be very affordable as interest rates stay low which is good for your prospective buyers

  • And not everything comes to a stand-still during the festive season. Last December, HMRC revealed the number of house sales year-on-year during December increased by 3.6% to 102,300.

So if your house is presented well and priced appropriately it should sell now.

6 tips to get a quick offer

1. Choose the best estate agent

Start by using estateagent4me. It ranks estate agents in your local area according to the average time to sell a property like yours, how often they achieving asking price and the fees they charge.

2. Boost your home’s kerb appeal

The Homeowners Alliance survey found that 68% of buyers found kerb appeal to be important. The features that matter most to home buyers are windows being in good condition and a roof that doesn’t need repair.

3. Make sure the price is right

One of the most agonising decisions when selling your home is what price to put it on for. Different estate agents will suggest different figures. Price your home too high and you won’t get any viewings, too low and you’ll miss out on getting what your house is worth. A good first step is to do a quick online valuation to see what your house is worth, then do your own homework and check what houses in your area sold for using the Land Registry website.

4. Get your house ready for sale

As Brexit uncertainty hits an all-time high, only the best houses will sell. Make sure yours is looking top-notch. As the winter months approach, make sure your home does not look too dark – it is vital to let in light with lamps, candles and mirrors. Preparing your home for viewers, or “staging” as it’s called, is important. It will not only ensure your property is sold faster, but can potentially add thousands of pounds to its value.

5. Set up your solicitor

Instruct a conveyancing solicitor early and start pulling paperwork together now if you want to secure a quick sale. To reduce delays, it’s probably best to have chosen which solicitor or conveyancer you want to use around the time you choose the estate agent. Once you’ve compared conveyancing quotes and found the right conveyancer or solicitor for you, it’s wise to tell them you want to sell, and agree conveyancing fees. However, you only instruct them to start work after you have a formal offer.

6. Optimise your viewings

Let your estate agent take the lead and tackle any tricky questions, but listen in to make sure they’re putting your house in its best light. And do a quick clean and tidy through before each and every viewing.

Can’t get on the market that quickly?

All is not lost! If you can’t quite get your house on the market this month, don’t worry. The New Year remains the best time to list your property for a speedy sale, with homes listed in January selling the fastest.

And if you do take your home off the market…

If you've had your property on the market for a few months and decide to take it off during December, remember to ask your estate agent to put it back on again in time for Boxing Day.

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