Opinion: How to get ahead of the Christmas property market

Beautiful happy family gathered around the table, having Christmas dinner, enjoying their time toget

Christmas is indeed a time when families gather and reflect on the past and future - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

There are two types of people in the pre-Christmas property market.

The first are those who are already in the process of buying or selling a home. They will be looking at the calendar more frequently than a hyperactive toddler counting down the days until Santa arrives, checking their phones several times an hour for updates on their transactions, in the hope that everything comes together in time to enable them to get the tree up and spend the festive season in their new home.

The second type are those who have it in mind that they want to move at some stage, something of a transient thought about some vague time in the future.

For these people getting organised for Christmas will take precedence. There will be plenty of time to think about getting their house on the market once the last of the turkey leftovers have been eaten, and the decorations are back in their boxes.

buy house, real estate concept, different offers of property online, hands typing on computer as bac

Those lazy days between Christmas and the new year are often a time when the smartphone is glanced at, not just to see what’s out there and book viewings on potential new homes, but also to check the Ofsted reports of schools in the locality, calculate the commute, and so on - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Traditionally, estate agents used to talk about the ‘Boxing Day Spike’, referring to the increase in traffic to property portals as people got on their shiny new Christmas smartphones or tablets and started to search for their dream home.

In reality, this was a bit of a myth, but like all cliches, it did contain a nugget of truth.

Christmas is indeed a time when families gather and reflect on the past and future. Thoughts, dreams, aspirations and new realities are discussed; news – both good and not so good – is shared; life changing events are announced, many of which may affect people’s livelihoods, relationships and living arrangements, often necessitating moving, separating or joining together, affecting both personal and work arrangements.

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Once that news is told, planning for those new realities can begin, with thoughts turning to how lives and living (including the ‘where’) might change as a consequence, ‘in the New Year’.

House for sale and letting signs, blank for your design

It makes sense to get ahead of the game and get your home on the market well before Christmas - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

In reality, that ‘spike’ should really be called a ‘New Year’s Spike’, because that is when the increase in searches on those property portals actually happens.

Of course, not every potential buyer will wait until the festivities are over before getting on with executing those new year plans. Those lazy days between Christmas and the new year are often a time when the smartphone is glanced at, not just to see what’s out there and book viewings on potential new homes, but also to check the Ofsted reports of schools in the locality, calculate the commute, and so on.

So even though the fabled ‘Boxing Day Spike’ might be a bit of a myth, if you are thinking of selling sometime in the new year’, it makes sense to get ahead of the game and get your home on the market well before Christmas, so that you will benefit from all of those potential buyers who have decided that it’s going to be ‘New Year, New Home’.

Jan Hÿtch is residential partner at Arnolds Keys.

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