As the end of the year approaches, many of us turn our thoughts to what we have been putting off over the last 12 months with Christmas a common deadline for getting niggly tasks out of the way.
If starting the ball rolling on a house move is on your list, you may want to take action sooner rather than later to get a sale agreed before 25 December.
A leading property website has said that sellers need to get their home on the market this week if they want to have a sale agreed before 25 December.
Christmas is coming: So those looking to get a sale agreed on their home need to move fast
According to The Homeowners Alliance, Friday 27 October, is the last day homeowners could list their property and still get it sold subject to contract by Christmas.
That is because the average time it takes to get to that stage, which is when an offer has been accepted but the contracts have not been exchanged, is 60 days.
This is based on the property advice website’s analysis of sales over the past eight years.
During that time, average annual figures for how long it takes to sell a property have fluctuated between 39 days at the quickest and 73 days.
In 2023, the time it takes to sell has stretched from 44 days in January, to 53 days in March, and 60 days as of October, according to the Homeowners Alliance.
Buyers have been holding back as higher mortgage rates and the increased cost of living have combined to make buying a new home less affordable.
Paula Higgins, chief executive of Homeowners Alliance, said: ‘The speed of sale in 2023 has been slower than in recent years, showing that the relentless interest rate rises has done its job by dampening the housing market and curbing inflation.
‘So, to agree a sale by Christmas, you need to list your home by the end of October at the latest.’
Property market experts have reported that potential buyers are taking a ‘wait and see’ approach, leading some sellers to reduce their asking prices in order to make a sale.
Slower process: Homes are remaining on the market for longer before they sell than they were at the beginning of the year, according to the Homeowners Alliance
Tips for selling your home before Christmas
The Homeowners Alliance has these three tips for getting your house sold before 25 December.
Make it look cosy and autumnal
Getting your house ready for sale as the days get crisper means embracing soft furnishings like sumptuous throws and sheepskin rugs. As the nights draw in, use lighting to prettify dark corners.
Candles and fairy lights are inexpensive but can really warm up a room. And of course, light the fire if you have one or put the heating on if necessary before a viewing.
Kerb appeal can be enhanced with an on-trend autumnal door wreath. And while we’re outside, make sure hedges are neat, leaves swept up and wheelie bins hidden away.
Kerb appeal: A door wreath can make your home more inviting to buyers
Get the price right
Working out what price to sell for in the current market isn’t easy. So go to a good local estate agent for advice.
Homeowners Alliance’s Find the Best Estate Agent tool ranks your local estate agents by how successful they are at selling quickly and securing the asking price, to select the best three agents.
Invite them round to give you a free no-obligation valuation.
While they need to impress you with their local knowledge, don’t fall for the flattery of an overly ambitious valuation – estate agents do this to win your business only to reduce the price a month later, after you’ve lost time languishing on the market with no viewings.
Don’t wait to set up your solicitor
After the excitement of putting your house on the market some sellers sit back and wait for the sale.
But now is the time to get ahead of the game. Shop around and compare quotes from conveyancing solicitors early on and start pulling paperwork together now if you want a slick sale. At the very least, dig out the essential documents.