We all know the Christmas song ‘Tis the season to be jolly,’ but did you know that this time of year can also be a great time to be selling your home or buy to let property? Here are a few benefits to selling up during December, plus a few tips on how to attract a festive buyer…
Boxing Day is the hottest day of the year for portals
Over Christmas, everybody is relaxing at home having enjoyed plenty of delicious food and drink, and a mini break from work, so what do they do from the comfort of their sofas? They browse various online shopping outlets on their tablets and mobile phones, to include property portals. Rightmove for example have recently announced that last year they recorded 51 million visits between Boxing Day and new year – a 54% rise on the year before. This could be heavily influenced by last year’s lockdown of course, but the year before that figures still rose – up 11%. Zoopla and OnTheMarket also report similar findings, but it’s very clear to see that buyers are actively looking for a new home during the festive season, especially if they make moving a new year’s resolution!
Buyer demand has not weakened at all in the last 18 months
The ‘post pandemic country buyer’ is still very much out there, so much so that by the time we have launched a property to market, we have organised multiple viewings by the end of the day. Buyers are paying a premium to live in and around Chichester now, as they seek a nicer lifestyle where they can work from home and enjoy rural life. Sellers of properties which are in excellent condition, have office space and a large garden, and are well priced from the offset, are reaping the rewards especially.
Demand still outpaces supply, and that’s even truer over the festive season with or without a pandemic! With less sellers on the market, this means that there are fewer properties for you to be competing with in order to grab the attention of buyers. This is helping to fuel the impressive agreed selling prices we are achieving at the moment for our clients.
SO HOW DO YOU ATTRACT A FESTIVE BUYER? Here are some of our top tips…
Make your home warm and cosy
Winter is the perfect time to play on your home’s cosy, family-friendly charm, especially on viewings. There’s something quite magical about walking into a property and seeing the warm glow of table lamps, candle light and a fire, alongside tabletop centre pieces with winter greenery and seasonal senses including a cinnamon diffuser and a freshly cut Christmas tree. It makes a buyer imagine exactly what it would be like for them to spend Christmas there themselves. Don’t over do the decorations, however. As exciting as it is prepping the house, try to avoid lots of twinkly lights, artificial snow, coloured trees, inflatable reindeer and tinsel for example! Think simple rather than garish in order to minimise putting buyers off.
Make sure your property looks wonderful, inside and out – for photographs, which will be used on brochures, window displays, portals, your agent’s website, and for viewings. You’ll need to deep clean absolutely everywhere, hoover regularly, tidy tools and toys away, declutter and sweep up all the leaves and debris outside so that you’re improving your curb appeal as well as the interior. Light the fire, turn on the heating and ensure plenty of light in the rooms as winter brings darker days.
A big tip for photographs at this time of year… when your estate agent’s photographer takes pictures, it’s probably best to have them done before you put your decorations up, or have them removed temporarily. Not unless you’re happy to have your property photographed again after Christmas… which could be an additional cost. This is because festive piccies become dated very quickly, and in the new year buyers will know immediately how long you’ve been on the market for if they see a Christmas tree in your living room. You risk them asking why you haven’t sold yet and getting a bit more bargaining power on price.
Choose a good estate agent
Choose a good estate agent and not somebody who is charging the lowest fee. Research who has a great sales record for selling your type of property, who will implement a coherent marketing strategy that ensures your property is being promoted to the widest possible audience, and who will set a realistic price. Ideally, you also want your estate agent to be open after Christmas bit before the new year so that they are responding to any enquiries they receive.
Price correctly from the offset
Choosing an estate agent based on who is valuing your property the highest can be a dangerous strategy. If you don’t have the right price the day you hit the portal headlines, you risk taking a longer time to sell, where often the final selling price will be lower than if you had valued your home correctly from the start. Set it right and you should benefit from a successful sale quickly.