Q. I’m thinking about selling my property but wondering if I should put it on the market now so close to Christmas. I guess it’s kind of quiet this time of year; would I be better to hold off till the New Year now?
A. Actually the property market has been fairly active for this time of year and especially considering we have had so much talk of our fragile economic climate its surprising it has managed to sustain being busy this far into the end of the year. However, my best advice to you is call in the agents for a valuation now, I suggest at least 3 to get a well-rounded view of the market and to get a sense of who you feel most confident with to sell your property. Once you have had the initial visit and decided on who you would like to instruct, I’d definitely suggest that you should prepare the property for marketing, so for instance, allow your agent to get their photographer in, have your floor plans made and have an EPC instructed (this is a legal requirement to market) and sign your terms of business with the agent in readiness to place the property on the market in January 2012. At this late stage in the year I wouldn’t advise anyone to formally place their property on the market as buyers are unlikely to be in the zone for buying at this time of the year, there more likely to have their mind on what to buy aunty Bessie a new pair of gloves or some winceyette Pyjamas for Christmas! Once the New Year kicks in, people’s attention will then home in on their plans for the New Year ahead and they will likely be more focused and ready to seriously look at property. Whenever I get an instruction at this time of year I normally follow all of the above, getting the property ready to market but I also let my sellers know that if I did happen to get anyone looking I would still show it to them regardless of it not being formally on the market at the time. I believe it’s a really bad idea to place a property formally on the market at this time of the year as the first 2 weeks are crucial, and leaving it hanging around on the portals all over Christmas whilst no one is actually proactively looking is likely to result in you losing your momentum which could be very damaging to the marketing of your property. In a nutshell, set the wheels in motion, be prepared, but hold off marketing the property till the second week of January 2012.