Putting your property on the market for Christmas could bring tidings of great joy. Sharon Dale reports
The thought of conducting viewings at Christmas time horrifies some vendors. They can’t bear the idea of squeezing it in between the shopping, cooking, trimming up and present wrapping.
So much so that some even request a Christmas break and their properties are removed from agents’ websites and property portals with a strict “no viewings until the new year” note attached to their file. Those who are thinking of selling put it off until the New Year for the same reasons.
In fact, the marketing “break” and dilly-dallying could cost them dearly as the festive season is now a prime time for property hunting. In between Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree and eating mince pies, many of us are searching for our dream home. Last year Rightmove had more than a million visitors on Christmas Day and even more on Boxing Day.
A spokesman says: “It’s from Boxing Day onwards when things really start to get exciting, with millions of people coming to Rightmove to find their next home. Once the New Year rolls around the traffic numbers make the case for making sure your property marketing is prepared before the start of 2016. Nearly three million people visited the site on the first working day last January, starting a trend which saw sellers benefiting from record-breaking traffic levels with over 110m visits in January.”
Patrick McCutcheon, Head of Residential Sales at estate agency Dacre, Son & Hartle agrees that the festive season is a great time to showcase a property. “For the last two years we have launched a series of homes on to the market on December 26, precisely because we recognise that a lot of people start their property search from Boxing Day. It’s common sense that when people are off work, they have more time to search online. There is no doubt that folk like to try out their new iPads by searching for their next home. By listing during the Christmas holidays it means that we can arrange viewings right from the very start of the year and be ahead of the game.”
William H Brown is also urging sellers who wish to move in early 2016 not to delay marketing their properties until the New Year. “Christmas is traditionally a very busy time in the housing market when families come together and think about plans for the forthcoming year,” says Jo Whincup, Yorkshire Area Director. “It makes sense to have everything in place to capture this market and take advantage of the surge in buyer interest.”
If you get viewing requests over the festive period, don’t put them off until the decorations come down. A property that is trimmed tastefully for Christmas can be a selling point.
Croft Residential has observed a new trend for a late December viewing activity. “We already have several viewings booked in for the period between Christmas and New Year and they are for people who are not currently based in Yorkshire but who are up here for Christmas and are looking to relocate here,” says Toby Cockcroft. “Twixmas week has grown to become one of our busiest weeks with a steady stream of post-Christmas enquiries and we now work regular nine-to five days during that period in order to deal with requests from potential buyers.”
Over at Savills in York, Ben Pridden, has words of wisdom for those planning to put their homes on the market in 2016.
“With the winter holiday season drawing ever closer, potential vendors put the brakes on. Yet for those who want to launch in January, now should be the time to act. Consider whether your property is in the right physical condition to launch to the market. Does it need a lick of paint, a boiler serviced, or a pending repair sorted? For any extensions and alterations you have made to the property over the years, can you lay your hands on the planning documents, proof of building regulations and electrical and gas safety certificates? Do you have a solicitor or conveyancer in mind? Do you know where your deeds are and have you consulted a financial adviser? Any of the above can hold up a sale and a purchase.
“My advice is that you need to prepare now and get everything in order so that you are first out of the blocks when January comes.”