Sharon Dale reports.
A SLOWER than average property market has given rise to a new festive phenomenon.
A growing number of sellers have begun to call their agents to request a Christmas break.
“If we’re not going to sell in a hurry then we may as well take the house off the market and put it back on in February or maybe even Spring when more people are looking to buy,” they say.
They add that they are going to be very busy over Christmas so viewings would be inconvenient. There’s the shopping, the cooking and the family parties. Plus the house will be packed with presents and festooned with fairy lights and trimmings.
“Who wants to buy a house at Christmas anyway?” asked one seller, whose home has been on the market for four months.
The answer is that plenty of people want to sign on the dotted line in the run-up to Christmas and some of them are desperate
“Those looking now tend to be serious buyers. They are the people who have to find somewhere because they are re-locating for work or they’re coming to the close of a tenancy and they want a home of their own again. It’s all about circumstances not the time of the year. People don’t think ‘right I’ll move in March’. They move because they want to or they have to whenever that might be,” says estate agent Andrew Beadnall, of Beadnall Copley.
“Taking your house off is the worse thing you can do because the number of people who buy at Christmas time is phenomenal. Last year we sold a house on December 23 and three houses on December 31.”
Lester Hurst, of Hunters in Ilkley, makes the point that Rightmove.co.uk reported a record number of hits in December last year, which is another reason to keep your for sale sign up and the details on the internet.
There may only be five weeks until the big day but think carefully before withdrawing your property in a panic.
“We had a case recently where someone said they were so keen to sell their house that they would happily move into rental if a buyer was found,” says Andrew.
“That happened. We found a buyer but the vendors said they didn’t want to be in a rented property for Christmas. They lost the sale.
“The point is that you have rationalise it and get Christmas into perspective. It’s just a bit more shopping and a big Sunday lunch.
“Sadly, not everyone sees it like that and we are seeing more and more people taking their property off the market for Christmas with the main excuses being that the market is quiet and they’ve got their mother coming to stay.
“Bizarrely, the other common reason is that it gets dark early.”
Concerns that the house will be full of Christmas decorations don’t pass muster either. In fact, say estate agents, a beautiful tree and tasteful decorations can enliven a drab house and give it atmosphere.
If you’re still not convinced, the other problem with giving
Keep your decorations tasteful and go easy on the tinsel and paper chains. A beautiful tree and a festive wreath on the door add atmosphere.
Light some scented Christmas candles and switch on the fairy lights to appeal to the senses.
If you don’t like the idea of viewings over Christmas tell your agent and ask if they can keep marketing low key. Make sure you keep the house on property portals and the agent’s website.
If you do sell before Christmas don’t be afraid to rent if necessary. It is short term pain for long term gain. When new properties come to the market you’ll have the pick of the bunch.
Put the lights on. Andrew Beadnall says: “You would not believe the number of people who show you round and don’t put the lights on when it’s dark. People don’t want to look round in the gloom.”
Keep your house warm and put the central heating on in every room well before a viewing. Put the fire on to create a cosy glow.
You may be stressed but practise Christmas cheer and offer guests a mince pie or some mulled wine. your property a Christmas break, is that the serious buyers with money in their pocket will assume it’s been sold and will look elsewhere.
Plus, by the time you’ve packed away the tree again and come to put the house back up for sale, you’ll be in competition with scores of other new vendors.
“When you come back to the market you’ll be one of many,” says Andrew, who recommends low-key marketing for those in a festive frenzy.
Keeping the property on websites without actively marketing it is the best option for those who are facing a busy Yuletide.
So the glad tidings, says Andrew, are these: “The market does not die in December. If you take your house off this Christmas, you must be crackers.” WHEN Stephanie and Steve Bennett bought Rose Cottage in Giggleswick they thought it was a home for life.
The period property was the home of the late TV presenter Russell Harty and though the Bennetts loved it for the same reasons he did, the lure of a grand design was too strong to resist.
“The cottage came with an enormous garden and so we looked into getting planning permission, thinking we’d be rejected straight away. But the
MODERN STYLE: The house is timber framed and packed with insulation and underfloor heating, which makes it energy efficient. It’s a modern addition to traditional Giggleswick, and was built on the huge garden belonging to nearby Rose Cottage which Stephanie and Steve Bennett had bought.
LOOK THE PART: Tasteful Christmas decorations can add atmosphere and be a selling point. Decorations from Asda.