Agents are often asked when the best time of year is to advertise a house for sale. The answer to this is there busy and quieter periods throughout the year with the last peak of buyers in the year suring September/October. So if you are a home owner not yet on the market and, like many you would like to move home before Christmas your home needs to be on the market no later than mid-October if you are to stand a good chance of achieving your goal.
Since the average time it takes a solicitor to complete a sale is between 8-12 weeks and with Rightmove statistics advising that on average sales in the North East take around 88 days good organisation and real motivation to sell are vital to maximise your chances of selling before Christmas.
The following are a list of key things you can do to help your agent help you realise your dream of Christmas in your new home.
The first thing you need to do is review your finances. This will allow you to confirm the price you need to achieve for your home and how much you can afford to spend on your new home. Don’t forget to include moving costs, solicitors fees etc.
Once you know the price you need for your home, ask some local agents to visit the property and confirm the value. It is worth advising the agents of the price you have in mind but also stress that you want to move fast so you need them to recommend a price to advertise at that will encourage this.
Once you have selected an agent, make sure that your house is looking its best. This is key, since the photographs the agent takes are the first impression a buyer has of your property. Keep clutter to a minimum, make sure that the house is clean and tidy and that the photos the agent takes are clear, in focus and highlight what the property offers.
If you want to sell before Christmas, you need to make sure that you will available for viewings at short notice. If your commitments mean this will be difficult, ask the agent to do the viewings and provide them a key so they can come and go. However, don’t forget that if your agent is conducting viewings you need to keep the house in tip top condition. So tend the garden and keep the house tidy after you have de-cluttered. This will help to ensure that the house is more attractive to prospective buyers.
Assuming your agent does their job and finds you a buyer, don’t lose focus as you will still play a vital part in helping them and the solicitor to complete the sale in time. Even before your house goes on the market you should be organising all the paperwork you have for the house ready to provide to the solicitor. This includes any appliance instructions, guarantees, certificates or service records you may have. Make them readily available to give to the solicitor to save time later searching for them. You should also ensure that you have your valid photo ID and proof of address dated within the last three months ready as well as your solicitor will request to see this before they can begin acting for you.
If you are planning on purchasing your next property with another mortgage, contact lenders in advance to confirm the amount they will be willing to lend you based on the deposit you will providing. They should be able to provide you with a decision in principle for how much they will be willing to lend. Keep this handy as it is common practise now for estate agents to request to see this when you are putting forward offers on properties.
Finally, make sure that you are in a position to instruct a solicitor quickly once you have agreed a sale on your property or the one you intend to buy. It is useful to have the names of a few solicitors you can approach to provide quotes ahead of time. This allows you to proceed immediately once a buyer is found for your house. If in doubt, ask your agent or friends and family if they have any recommendations for a competitively priced solicitor who is proactive in getting sales completed quickly.
One final thought that is less well known is it is not unheard of for agents to run seasonal promotions to entice vendors to market before Christmas. We found one such agent, Gateshead Property Online who have just announced that they are offering motivated sellers looking to move before Christmas a low cost fee of just £97+vat if they complete before the end of year. This is great for sellers who are looking for the chance to grab a bargain fee and good advertising for the agent. With this particular agent, even if the sale didn’t complete before the end of the year, their usual fee of £597+vat is still well below the industry average for that area.
So if you are thinking of selling up and would like to me in your new home for Christmas it pays to speak to agents and ask what they can do for you to secure your business.