Published: 15/12/2020There is no doubt that Christmas 2020 will be unlike any other. Holidays abandoned; family gatherings reduced; office parties cancelled. Even a quick festive drink at the local pub is far from a certain date. But while there are many things we can’t do this Christmas, it doesn’t mean that everything will stop.
If you look at the data from property portals such as Rightmove and Onthemarket.com, Christmas is very much the season to sell your home. Every year, visitor numbers to the portals skyrocket during the festive period, substituting The Wizard of Oz and one last game of charades for scrolling through listings in search of that special somewhere.
Such is the surge in activity that searching for a new home is as synonymous with Christmas as mince pies and mistletoe. Property searches more than double over the holiday season, and the portals have reported increases in activity up to 231%, with the flurry beginning on Boxing Day and continuing beyond New Year.
The first lockdown gave us a sneak peek of what we can expect. In May, Rightmove recorded six-million views in one 24-hour period, its busiest day since launching in 2000. The figures this year could easily surpass that number, with the nation bracing itself for a digital Christmas at home.
Now that bringing the family together from all corners of the country is officially off the cards, many of us will be settling down with Skype for the virtual pulling of crackers and wishing our loved ones season's greetings. With so much of our time inevitably spent online, we’ll all have carte blanche to bury ourselves in smartphones, tablets and laptops. And without the accompanying guilt, imagine how easy it will be to click onto estate agents’ websites when they’re just one browser tab from the family Zoom call!
If there’s one thing we do know for sure this Christmas, it’s that more people than ever will be at home and online. It all adds up to a boom time for the portals, so if you’re planning to sell your home in the new year, the Boxing Day Bounce could give you the perfect springboard to a successful sale.
Here are our tips to make it work for you.
ALREADY ON THE MARKET?
Perhaps your property is already on the market, and you’re not getting the number of viewings you’d hoped for. Maybe you’ve thought about leaving things as they are until after the holiday season, and then to review your options in January. A few years ago that would have been the best advice, but the Boxing Day Bounce has changed all that, so perhaps it’s time for that review right now.
First things first, how long has your property been on the market? Looking at the response you’ve had so far, is there a common thread in the reactions of people who’ve come to view? Did you start with lots of viewings and high hopes, but have seen little or no interest for several weeks? And does your home sit well with competing properties in a similar price range, or can you see why other listings might get more response than you? These will offer your first clues to guide your next decision.
Now let’s look at your photos. If they’re two seasons old and shouting it from the rooftops that your home has been on the market for months, now is the time to update them - you’ve still got enough days before Christmas to bring your marketing up to date. Potential buyers notice photographs before anything else, so it’s vital to look current and fresh, whatever the time of year.
Ask your agent why they feel you haven’t sold. Although the market isn’t as hyperactive as the summer and early autumn, it certainly hasn’t come to a standstill, so if it feels like little or nothing is happening with your home, it’s worth investigating why. Perhaps you can agree on a new plan of action.
If you’re still not happy with how things stand, you could switch agents now to take full advantage of the Boxing Day Bounce. Going live on December 26th with a new agent, new photos and a shiny ‘new listing’ badge on the portals could breathe new life into your move.
NOT YET ON THE MARKET?
If you’ve got firm and imminent plans to move, but you haven’t yet put your home on the market, you’ve still got just enough time.
The new year has always been a time for renewed optimism, setting goals and fresh starts. For many people, moving home fits perfectly into that category, and everyone has more energy to get things done – including finding somewhere new to live. And let’s not forget that moving home is still one of the things we can do without severe restrictions, making it a funnel for activity.
Because of its reputation for record property searches, lots of homes come onto the market for Boxing Day. With increased activity met with increased competition, make the most of the opportunity by launching with an asking price that will attract the most interest, rather than leaving you behind.
HOSTING FESTIVE VIEWINGS?
Viewings during the holiday season are just like any other time of the year, except for one major caveat: Christmas decorations. Too many can be distracting, but getting the balance right can create an atmosphere unique to the season.
If your style is a medium-size tree and decorating the front door and fireplace, your viewers will delight in your festive cheer. But if you’re about to inflate a Homer ‘Santa’ Simpson and line your pathway with his reindeer, it’s worth rethinking your display this year.
A warm welcome is the key to successful winter viewings. Porch or pathway lights should be on to create an inviting first impression, as well as inside lamps and sidelights for a cosy reception. The heating should be on and, if you happen to have an open fire or wood-burning stove, take the opportunity to have it lit and crackling in time for your viewers’ arrival.
Between December 23rd to 27th, you can form a Christmas Bubble with other households. Being swamped with requests for viewings during that time is unlikely, but if you are hosting or part of a bubble, you should keep those days clear of visitors.
NO VIEWINGS YET, PLEASE?
Whether or not you’re hosting this Christmas, you might just want a break from everything. And fair dos; it’s been a challenging year. Shutting out the world, indulging in a telly binge and knowing that your time is your own is entirely understandable. But that doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of the Boxing Day Bounce.
Even without viewings, the portals can be working their magic and generating enquiries while you’re enjoying some downtime. And not everyone scrolling through listings will want to visit immediately, but they can certainly log their interest with your agent for when they want to start viewing. So why not use the festive period to increase awareness and interest, and line up any viewing requests for the beginning of January?
Delaying your viewings can also give you valuable time to sort out any odd jobs that need doing before potential buyers visit. It’s the one time of year when you can be on the market, carry out improvements and accept no viewings, all at the same time!
With so many stores announcing they’ll be closed for Boxing Day, and with the general stay-at-home nature of this coming Christmas, it’s highly likely that people will find other excuses to get out of the house. One of those things could well be driveby viewings of homes they’ve found online, so let’s take a quick look at your kerb appeal.
Having a for sale board will help people to identify your house swiftly, particularly when it’s dark. Rake up any fallen leaves and switch the exterior lighting on when twilight hits to extend an inviting glow. Finally, if you’ve got more bags of discarded Christmas wrapping than your bins can handle, find somewhere else to hide them until it’s collection day. Even if people aren’t going to come inside now, you can leave them looking forward to when they can return.
Once upon a time, the holiday season saw the property market shut down with no one thinking about moving. But times have changed, and now you can benefit from the biggest audience of the year while still enjoying your Christmas and without hosting viewings. With 2020’s additional lockdown ensuring that more people than ever are at home this festive season, we could be set for the busiest sales market at Christmas, ever.
If you'd like to get your home ready for the Boxing Day Bounce, we would love to hear from you and help put your moving plans into action today.
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