If you want to sell your home before Christmas, there’s still time – well, if you act fast. New analysis suggests those wanting to secure a buyer before Santa arrives need to get their property on the market this week.
The advice comes from estateagent4me – a free estate agent performance comparison tool available on the HomeOwners Alliance property advice website.
According to estateagent4me, over the past four years, homes listed in October have taken an average of 61 days to sell.
Generally, properties listed in autumn can be slower to shift. Some buyers are also hesitant about committing to a “big ticket” purchase such as a home amid the current political uncertainty. However, estateagent4me says the average length of time to sell a property has remained relatively constant in recent years.
Paula Higgins, chief executive of HomeOwners Alliance, says: “If you’ve been waiting for certainty over Brexit before putting your home on the market to sell this year – unfortunately, time has run out. So it’s time to get a move on.”
Here are some tips for those hoping to sell their home by Christmas…
Boost your home’s kerb appeal
The HomeOwners Alliance found that 68% of buyers found so-called kerb appeal to be important.
The features that matter most to buyers were found to be windows being in good condition and a roof that doesn’t need repair.
Make sure the price is right
If it’s too high, you won’t get many viewings, but too low and you could miss out on getting what your house is worth.
Recent analysis by Zoopla suggests over-priced properties can languish on the market for two months longer than homes given a realistic price tag from the outset. Homes were considered over-priced where their original asking price had been reduced at least once – and the average time to sell was compared with homes where sellers had not needed to cut the asking price.
Get your house looking “good to go”
As the days get darker, make sure your home does not look too gloomy. So let in light with lamps, candles and mirrors.
As the festive season approaches, it may be tempting to drag down all the decorations from the loft, deck out living room out with tinsel and put reindeer on the roof.
But buyers need to be able to imagine how they would live in your property, so make sure it’s not looking too cluttered – or too personalised. Also, bear in mind you wouldn’t want to have festive decorations in photos advertising your home, if it turns out you’re still trying to sell in January.
Set up your solicitor
Instruct a solicitor early and start pulling paperwork together now to help your sale run smoothly. Some firms have substantial experience around the legal work involved in buying and selling homes. You may want to ask friends and family for any recommendations.
Optimise your viewings
Let your estate agent take the lead and tackle tricky questions but, if you’re around during a viewing, listen in to make sure they’re putting your house in its best light.
And make sure you do a final clean before any prospective buyers arrive. With a chill in the air, you may also want to highlight anything that makes your home energy-efficient and would help buyers save money on bills.
Choose the right buyer
Many people see an ideal buyer as someone who is in a position to move quickly and has evidence that they have their finances in place.
Good communication between buyers and sellers is often key when it comes to a successful house sale.