Selling near Christmas

Putting your home on the market this side of Christmas. Can that be a good idea?

Most estate agents will tell you there is nothing to be gained by waiting to sell – whatever the time of year or state of the market. Generally speaking that is perfectly sound advice. That’s because (assuming that you, like the vast majority of people, are looking to sell in order to buy somewhere else) the “swings and roundabouts” principle on which the property market tends to operate always applies. If you keep waiting, like everyone else, nothing happens!

The real exception is usually the Christmas period, when most people have other things on their minds than looking at property. For that very reason, many agents advise against going into the market this close to the end of the year and instead suggest that you make the best use of the enforced lull by getting everything organised so that you’re in the best position to take full advantage of the traditional post-Christmas surge in buyer activity.

The received wisdom is that - rather than simply putting your planned home sale on hold for the next few weeks - you should turn this quieter period to your advantage by putting everything in place, so that you can hit the ground running immediately the festive season is over. The key here is to choose and instruct your estate agent, so that he or she can get started on things like commissioning your Energy Performance Certificate, taking good-quality photographs, preparing marketing materials, and generally advising you on any little things you can do to improve the buyer-appeal of your home.

Nevertheless… this year, there is a shortage of well-priced properties on the market, right now. Many agents have buyers keen to make decisions now and not wait for the New Year. And if there’s one thing better than having everything ready to go to market in January, it’s having a sale already in the bag!

When all is said and done, the best advice is: ask your agent. A good agent with really good online marketing presence, may even suggest uploading your home onto the net before Christmas, to create interest while the office is closed so that in the New Year, there are already people ready to look and perhaps make decisions. This puts you in a good position to look at new properties coming to the market in January and February and allows you to make decisions, with a buyer in tow.