Published in City A.M., Dec ’19
Christmas is a time for many things. Family. Bad music. Overeating. One thing it’s not the time for is putting your home on the market. Or is it? According to some London agents, selling your house during the holidays might not be the complete no-no that you think. Here are some reasons why you might consider selling your house at Christmas.
Serious buyers only
“Even if you can’t get your property listed online [before Christmas], it’s a good idea to get an agent and encourage them to conduct viewings,” says Caroline Takla, founder of buying agent The Collection. “Buyers viewing at this time of year aren’t simply window shopping, so there is a good chance that those first few viewings may result in a serious offer.”
Families can make decisions
“It’s not unusual for a property purchase to be a family consideration, and Christmas is sometimes the one quieter time we all have in common,” says Charlie Smith, managing director of London Real Estate Advisors.
It’s also a time when the emotional side of property ownership really comes in to focus: family and friends visiting might prompt people to realise their house is too small – or too big – or to consider moving to a different area to be closer to them.
Boxing day online boost
Richard Page, marketing director at Dexters, says that offers coming in on Christmas Eve is “surprisingly common” because people are keen to secure a deal before the break.
Potential buyers might take Christmas Day off, but their search is often back on on Boxing Day according to Andrew Groocock, regional partner for Knight Frank City and East.
“Every year we see a surge of online activity from potential buyers, especially on Boxing Day,” he says. “Sellers should consider taking advantage of this uplift.”
Get ahead of January rush
Your home has more chance of standing out in the relatively quiet December market than among the January rush.
“The majority of homes available in December will have been on the market for several months and become stale,” says Takla. “Hence, when a shiny new home becomes available, there is a rush of interest.”
Even if your home doesn’t sell over Christmas, appointing an agent and preparing marketing materials will put you ahead of the competition.
… but there are logistical challenges
Although buyers may be keen to view properties and make decisions over Christmas, there are challenges when it comes to getting a sale over the line – which is why some agents recommend avoiding it altogether.
“Whilst we tend to see a consistent number of people viewing in December compared with other months of the year, many tend to offer in the new year,” says Chris Osmond, sales director at Johns&Co. “Even if we had a busy run up to Christmas, we couldn’t begin to transact until the solicitors are back at their desks.”
Selling your house at Christmas is not impossible, but it’s also not for the faint hearted. Even it does prove tricky, there’s something to be said for having a sale lined up for January 2nd.