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Should I put my house up for sale at Xmas time?

Christmas may be the most wonderful time of the year for the High Street – but if you’re thinking about selling a house in December, the forecast isn’t so merry and bright.

According to Rightmove, property prices can plunge in December as the pool of potential buyers shrinks dramatically. In 2017, the average asking price in December in the UK and Wales fell by £8,178 compared to prices in November - a drop of 2.6 per cent and the biggest fall for five years. 

With presents to wrap, trees to decorate and friends and family to visit, people are putting their house moving dreams on hold until the New Year. It means December can often become a buyer’s market as the few prospective house hunters that are around, take advantage of low interest and chance a sale with cheeky low offers.

Selling your home at Xmas
Selling your home at Xmas

And it’s not just the fact that there are fewer buyers around that make Christmas a bad time to sell.  House viewings can also be more challenging as you try to keep your home tinsel free and uncluttered from all the Christmas paraphernalia. Gardens become less attractive as plants hibernate for the winter and shorter daylight hours means any evening viewings will be in the dark, so buyers may struggle to visualise some of your home’s better features, let alone see out into the garden.

There is also the issue of estate agents and solicitors taking time off over the holidays, which can slow down any progress on making a sale.

If you can’t wait out until the New Year and don’t want the Grinch to pour cold gravy on your house moving dreams, there is hope. Many estate agents believe Christmas, despite being one of the slower months for sales, is actually the best time to sell because you only get the really serious buyers looking.

But the secret to selling a house at Christmas is to make every viewing count. 

XMAS HOUSE SELLING TIP No. 1: Your house photos should have no Christmas decorations in them or it will date your home. If you are still looking for a buyer in January, photos with baubles and paper chains in them will just highlight how long your property has been on the market. Likewise, with any exterior photos, if there is snow in the pictures get them retaken once it has all melted away.

XMAS HOUSE SELLING TIP No. 2: Minimalise any festive decorations. What is your priority? Having the best tinsel-tastic home ever or selling it? Make sure any extra furniture for guests; bags of presents or stockpiles of food are kept out of view. If you are going to have a Christmas tree, make sure it’s not too big for the room. You don’t want buyers having to squeeze around branches to look out of the window. And a tree that is too big will make the room seem smaller than it is.

If you can’t do Christmas without the sparkle, it may be better to wait until after Christmas to begin any viewings. House moving websites Rightmove and Zoopla both reported increases of 40 per cent and 36 per cent in site visits on Boxing Day. While, on the first working day of 2017, Rightmove received more than four million visits.

All the statistics point to the fact that the start of a New Year brings potential buyers to the housing market with a renewed sense of purpose and focus. Waiting to sell your house until after Christmas might be the better option if you want to have your Christmas pudding and eat it.