‘Christmas time, mistletoe and…” well, you know the rest. But yes, it’s nearly that time of the year again where we all stuff ourselves full of turkey, chocolate, pigs in blankets, roast potatoes and (depending on where you stand on them) Brussels sprouts.
It’s also, going against the grain of received wisdom, a very good time in which to list your property to take advantage of the huge uplift in property browsing in the period between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.
Thinking traditionally, Christmastime has never been associated with the buying and selling of homes as everyone gears up for the holidays, agents shut up early and everybody goes into relaxation mode.
But this has started to change thanks to the rapid advances in technology – smartphones, tablets, superfast broadband, etc – making it easier than ever to search for property at your fingertips, from anywhere in the world.
This is why agents are now being urged to stay open late into December, with a spike in interest in homes always occurring around this time of the year.
Here at Balgores Property Group, we explore this recent phenomenon and outline why sellers need to take advantage of it by listing now.
And the very next day, I did the same again. Doesn’t quite flow as well as Wham’s classic, does it? But it’s definitely true of many people over the Christmas period, if stats from recent years are anything to go by.
Last year, Rightmove said that traffic on its website grew by 231% between Christmas Day and January 2, while the portal also reported that it generated more than 25 million page views on Boxing Day alone.
In addition, the Daily Mail has estimated that there were 40 million total viewings of property listings last Christmas, a rise of two million on 2017.
What’s more, visits to OnTheMarket rose by 13.7 million between mid-December and early February last year, according to Google Analytics, while property-related searches on Google also grew by 150% immediately after Christmas last year.
The easy availability and user-friendliness of sites such as Zoopla, OTM and Rightmove means that property browsing has become everyone’s new favourite Christmas pastime. The festive downtime is now viewed by many people as an opportune moment to search for their dream property, with the traffic figures and visits backing this up in the clearest possible way.
Why is this uptick in buyer interest happening, though? The major property websites and the technology provide the platform, while the unique Christmas period – where people are usually off work, usually indoors with family, and typically not doing very much – provides the perfect environment for property browsing to take place.
People take advantage of this extra free time they have at their disposal by searching for their dream home, making tentative buying plans or putting long-term ambitions into action finally. There is, after all, only so many TV shows you can binge on and board games you can play before you start to get fidgety.
While some will be on more of a fact-finding mission, others may already have a very clear idea of what they want – and this could match exactly what your home offers. Which means, if you haven’t already listed and they can’t find your home, you could be missing out on the ideal buyers for your home.
The above findings also make it clear that, by not listing before the very busy festive period, you could be missing out hugely on an increased number of eyes on property and the extra exposure this could bring to your home.
Everyone knows about the New Year bounce, which sees many sellers list their homes in January to coincide with a rising number of buyers putting their homebuying plans into action, but this bounce now takes place much earlier - in December, in fact - thanks to the significant growth in property browsing that takes place over the festive period.
Which means, as a property seller in Essex, East London or Kent, you need to be prepared for this dramatic rise in buyer interest.
Granted, many people are likely to be reluctant to actually move over Christmas, with all the various distractions at play, but it doesn’t follow that they won’t want to take the first steps of their moving journey by browsing for homes and arranging viewings.
If your home is not listed, you could be missing out on these potential buyers, and your pool of would-be purchasers could be much reduced when you do come to list as rival sellers have acted before you.
Listing now, to make sure your home has an active audience over Christmas, won’t only mean you take advantage of the increased activity on the portals, it also means you’ll be much better prepared to start hosting viewings and taking offers as soon as January begins. You avoid the lull that could be there if you wait until early January to list, where you then might have to wait a few weeks for proper buyer interest to emerge.
January is nearly always one of the property industry’s busiest months, but by getting ahead of the game you improve your chances of tapping into buyer interest between Christmas and New Year and speeding up a sale early in 2020.
Listing on its own isn’t enough, course, as to succeed in a competitive marketplace your property needs to stand out from the crowd. It needs to be clean, well-maintained and welcoming, ready for viewings in early January, otherwise buyers will merely look elsewhere.
At Balgores we can help to sell your home this Christmas, using our experience and expertise to ensure you get the best possible offer and then helping you to sell in a smooth, hassle-free manner thereafter.
We operate a number of branches across East London, Essex and Kent, where we can help with all your selling needs.
To find out how much your home could sell for, you can check out our instant online valuation tool.