Stuffed with turkey and sedated by port, what better time to indulge in one of the nation’s favourite pastimes: viewing houses via the internet?
Property portal Rightmove recorded 500,000-plus visits on Christmas Day last year and 1.3 million on Boxing Day, and it is predicting even more traffic this year.
The festive statistics are a wake-up call to those who are waiting until spring to put their homes on the market.
“The idea that it is best to sell your house in spring and summer is a popular misconception. That’s when the market is flooded with new properties. Now is actually a great time to put your home up for sale. Your property is more likely to stand out, especially as supply is low at the moment. Using a retail analogy, if there is less on the peg you are far more likely to notice it,” says Edward Stoyle, of Carter Jonas, York, who adds: “I also get more calls from buyers at this time of than at any other. Anyone looking just before Christmas tends to be serious, motivated and more likely to call an agent. Viewings are also more likely to translate into sales.”
Estate agent Andrew Beadnall, of Beadnall Copley, who has clocked up 41 Christmases selling property, agrees: “I would urge anyone who is serious about finding a buyer for their home in these last few weeks of the year to take the plunge and get that for sale board up along with their Christmas tree.
“Viewers at this time of year are always the most committed to buying as they may well have just agreed a sale on their own home and now need a new one. Or it might be a company move and they want the kids in school for January, or maybe a property they have been renting is coming to the end of its lease.
“I’ve always sold houses right up to the Christmas break, even on Christmas Eve. If you don’t sell before then you will then get a second chance at the beginning of January, which is always one of the busiest times in the house-selling calendar.”
If you are thinking about taking your property off the market for “a breather” over the festive period, only to relaunch in the new year, then think again.
“Most people can check a property’s history on the internet and they will ascertain that it was for sale previously so there’s no point. Plus you’ll miss out on those people looking on property portals and estate agency websites over the Christmas and new year holiday period,” says Ed.
One of the main reasons people cite for not putting their property on the market at Christmas is that their garden doesn’t look its best.
“People are obsessed by their gardens but prospective buyers can see past them. They know what a garden looks like in summer and they don’t care whether the wisteria and daffodils are out. What I often advise people to do is to put some pictures out of the garden in full bloom so people can see how lovely it looks. If the house is still on the market in the spring, then the marketing pictures can easily be re-shot,” says Ed, who adds that some properties can look better in winter.
Low ceilinged cottages with beams and roaring log fires look cosier on a Christmas afternoon than they do in summer, when they can appear cold and gloomy.
Meanwhile. for other property types, Andrew Beadnall has these tips:
*Showing your home at Christmas time can be positive if you make it look welcoming to viewers. By using warm festive lights and decorations you can transform your property into that perfect yuletide family home where buyers can imagine hosting their own Christmas get-togethers for years to come.
*Make sure that all rooms are fully lit and have a fire on, be it coal, gas or electric. Not only will they look cosier, they will feel warm.
*Place a lavish wreath on the front door and have a fabulous tree bedecked with baubles and lights, along with seasonal scented candles around the house.
*If there is snow on the ground, don’t forget to clear the drive and the path to the front door and if the house is full with family and pets over Christmas, ask them to make themselves scarce while viewings are taking place so as not to overcrowd your house, making it feel smaller.