Buying and selling over Christmas

Many people think that trying to move house over the festive period is a mistake, but that is no longer the case and has been this way for a number of years now. If you stop and think about it, it makes sense, people have more free time and motivation to make a change in the New Year, so it can be a great time to buy and sell.

Make your property visible online

People have a lot more time over Christmas and will start to browse properties online over the festive season, especially on Boxing Day. If you are selling, your home needs to be listed and visible on all the major property portals (like Rightmove and Zoopla) over Christmas.

For the last few years, statistically, property portals show that there is a substantial spike on Boxing Day. What do people do on Boxing day? They eat left over Turkey, hit the shops and browse the major property portals looking for their next home.

Christmas is a busy time for families, we often operate a ‘Do Not Disturb’ policy, listing the property on the market just before Christmas to ensure your property is visible but refraining from viewings until after the New Year.”

Statistics have shown over recent years that the busiest days of the year for internet traffic on property portals are the days immediately following Christmas and Boxing Day. Our own evidence appears to confirm this phenomenon.

But why is this period so busy? One reason? It is one of the few holidays that the family will be together, meaning those discussions that have been put off for the last few months can be had.

Winter weather

Spring is a popular time to buy and sell, but winter has its benefits, too. Sometimes stepping into a bright, warm, cosy home on a bitterly cold day or drizzly evening can have just as positive an effect as viewing a property on a warm summer day.

Some tips for winter viewings, too. Always arrange viewings in the daylight. If you arrange a viewing after work at 6pm, you won’t get the true experience of the property, especially if there are grounds to explore. It is important to view them before the night draws in.

Motivated to move

Those people who are looking to move in December and January are committed to moving quickly. It’s a great idea to make the most of this.

December and the Christmas period can be a great time to try to sell your property as the quality of the buyer is higher than at any other time of the year. If someone is out house hunting around Christmas time, it generally means they are motivated to buy quickly. The speculative, non-motivated viewings decrease as people are busy preparing for Santa and won’t go out to view unless they must. There also tends to be less properties for sale around this time of year and therefore less competition to compete against for a buyer’s attention.

Think about photography

If you’re thinking of making the most of the Christmas attention, it’s a good idea to think ahead. Try and instruct your agent prior to putting up any Christmas decorations. This prevents the photos from looking dated if it doesn’t sell instantly.

Ready for the New Year rush

In the New Year, there will be a rush of people looking to buy and sell. Why not beat the rush by getting your sale registered or getting to know the market in December?

January 2nd is one of the busiest days for estate agents. There aren’t likely to be too many viewings happening over the Christmas period, but it’s nevertheless a great time to get some viewings lined-up for the New Year. Many sellers hold off until after the New Year and miss out on the busy online searching that takes place between Christmas and New Year.

Additionally, because there are fewer sellers listing their property over Christmas, those who do benefit from having less competition than they typically would have in the New Year or spring.

Don’t underestimate the time that it takes for your home to go on the market either. Given the time it takes for an estate agent to prepare the marketing material for a property including home staging and professional photos, preparing floorplans and commissioning an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), we advise our clients to start the process now so that they are ahead of the competition and ready to take advantage of these peak periods.

It is a great time to develop a strategy with your agent to make sure your home launches to market in the best possible way.

It’s not essential to wait until spring to sell, most sellers wait until spring but waiting till spring can mean there is more supply and more competition. Whereas over the Christmas season, there is less supply but still high demand. By selling your home over the Christmas season, you are more likely to achieve a better selling price than you would trying to sell against the flurry of stock in the spring market.

My tip for house hunting over the Christmas season is to contact local agents and see what stock they have ready to launch over the festive period, as most agents hold back stock to launch over the Christmas holidays. This way you may get first refusal and will get to register your interest first.