Sharon Dale re­ports.

Yorkshire Post - Property - - PROPERTY -

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 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.

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