As we hurtle towards the end of the year, many of us will be thinking about how to tie up loose ends – and for some, that means selling their home by Christmas.
According to property website the HomeOwners Alliance’s “find an estate agent” service, last year it took homes an average of 52 days to sell – meaning you’ll want to get yours on the market by early November for the best chance of closing a deal by December 25.
“There’s no doubt things are getting tougher for sellers,” says Jonathan Rolande, property expert at House Buy Fast (housebuyfast.co.uk). “For years, it was a case of ‘stick the property online and wait for the queue of buyers’. Not so now. But the market is holding strong – sellers and their estate agents just have to try a bit harder.”
Once you’ve got your home on the market, there are a few things you can do to boost your chance of selling by Christmas Day…
1. Put a ‘for sale’ board up
This might seem like an old school way of selling a home, but Rolande says: “You’ll be surprised how many enquiries they generate, even in these online times.”
2. Maximise your online presence
“Speak to your agent about social media advertising – it’s cheap and very effective,” advises Rolande.
He also recommends making sure your online listing is as attractive as possible, adding: “If you’ve been on the market for a while, update the photos. Scorched summer lawns aren’t a good look in October!”
According to Gus Harding, founder and property expert at Harding Mortgages (hardingmortgages.com), as well as good quality photos, “video tours can also be helpful for a quicker sale”.
3. Make your home look as appealing as possible
“First and foremost, ensure your property is in good condition inside and out. This means repairing any damage, fixing any issues, and generally just making sure everything looks its best,” says Harding.
To really make your place look attractive, Rolande says: “Make sure the place looks clean, tidy and uncluttered.
“Plant some winter colour in pots by the front door and on the patio or balcony, if you have one.”
4. Consider the price
Rolande suggests doing a bit of market research, checking the price bands on Rightmove and other online portals. “If need be, adjust your price accordingly,” he says.
And if you do receive offers on your home, Harding recommends a bit of flexibility. “Be prepared to negotiate on price,” he says. “If you’re realistic about what your property is worth, you’re more likely to sell it quickly – even if it means accepting a slightly lower offer than you were hoping for.”
5. Get a solicitor involved early on
“Most people go on the market, find a buyer, then need to rush to get a solicitor on board. This causes stress and delays,” says Rolande, who recommends getting a solicitor to begin work as soon as possible.
“Solicitors need to do checks before they can begin anything, and this takes time. Searches can also take a long time to receive, weeks sometimes. They last three months, so getting your lawyer to do them now saves time when your buyer needs them.
“A quick legal look at things like the title, leases and rights of way/disputes can rectify any issues before they arise. Again saving time.
“The market is holding steady, for now. Once a buyer is found, you want to complete quickly – the longer things take, the more chance of a fall through. And that’s not something on anyone’s Christmas list.”