Published: 13/09/2021If you've been dreaming of selling up and moving by Christmas, the good news is that you still have time.
Celebrating Christmas and New Year in a new home with those you love the most, then hitting the January sales for a bounty of bargains, is a wonderful way to say goodbye to 2021 and welcome in 2022. It's also a date that many buyers are still keen to meet at this time of year.
There are still 14 weeks until Christmas Day. Although that's faster than the national average, it's by no means unheard of to move within that timeframe, and plenty of people complete their move from beginning to end in less than three months.
Right now, you can use the last weeks of summer to secure a buyer when your home looks its best before autumn kicks in. And using the time-saving tips in this week's blog, you can fast-track your move to completion before Santa makes his rounds.
PICK AN AGENT WITH A PLAN
It's essential to work with an agent with a plan to get you sold and the marketing to make it happen, so follow these steps to pick your perfect selling partner.
- Invite local estate agents to value your home and make it clear that your priority is to move by Christmas (and not to be flattered with an inflated price). Ask them for evidence of similar homes that have sold to support their advice.
- Scrutinise each agent's photography, descriptions and marketing to ensure the best market profile for your home, then ask for their strategy to get you sold. They need to get you live within days, and your chosen agent should have a clear proposal to find you a buyer within 2-3 weeks.
- Ask for examples of homes they've sold quickly. You need to be sure that whoever you choose has a proven record of performance.
CREATE A SENSE OF URGENCY
Now that you've chosen your estate agent, it's time to use every selling tool at your disposal to find a buyer fast.
Get your asking price right
Remember that your asking price isn't your sale price: its job is to create excitement and enquiries. Talk to your agent about the best pricing strategy for generating the most interest in the shortest time, and be sure to use the search functionality of the portals to your advantage.
For example, an asking price of £500,000 is more strategic than £499,995 because it includes searches up to and from £500,000, giving you access to more and wealthier buyers.
Take summer-fresh photographs
The weather, lawns, plants and natural light are usually still in your favour right now, so take the opportunity for bright and blooming pictures that show your home at its absolute best.
Consider a viewing day
There's no better demonstration of your home's popularity than a parade of viewers crossing each other's paths at your front door. While your estate agent works their magic to find you the perfect buyer, you can spend the day viewing potential future homes.
Perfect your presentation
A well-presented home will sell faster, and even though you may not have time to get everything done, there are some easy wins in making a splash when you hit the market.
In a single weekend, you could repaint the front door, fill some pots and hanging baskets, mow the lawn, throw out your junk, have a thorough tidy-up and buy a few well-chosen accessories. To get everything just right, read our articles on how to make your home an unforgettable viewing experience and then discover how to be viewing ready every day.
Have a For Sale sign
Leave no stone unturned in promoting your home. It's entirely possible that a neighbour or passer-by will be interested for themselves or know someone who is.
LINE UP POTENTIAL HOMES
Almost every estate agent will tell you to avoid committing to the home you want to buy until you've accepted an offer on your property. That's perfectly correct, but it doesn't mean you can't start researching what's available and making a shortlist of potential favourites.
It's really worth making friends with local agents and letting them know that you're serious about finding a home and moving by Christmas. If you contact them personally by phone, instead of the usual email through a portal, you'll stick in their minds as a motivated buyer to call whenever they list a suitable home.
Turn on the charm and call the agents weekly to show your commitment and ask if any new homes have come up for sale. Put time in your schedule for this: mid-week is best to avoid the busiest days on either side of the weekend.
Many agents are wary of booking viewings for people who aren't yet under offer, but your persistence could well open doors that would otherwise be off-limits. If you fall in love with somewhere, resist making an offer until you agree a sale on your home. Let the agent know how interested you are, then stay regularly in touch until you find a buyer.
SPEED UP THE PROCESS
While your home is on the market, set the wheels in motion for other parts of your move like conveyancing, the mortgage and removals.
You can speed up the legal process by getting as much as possible out of the way while your home is still for sale. Instruct a conveyancer immediately so they can gather all the paperwork to have a draft contract ready for the moment you accept an offer – this can take valuable weeks off the time it takes to exchange contracts.
Ask family, friends or your agent for recommendations of fast-moving conveyancers. Make it clear that you wish to move by Christmas and avoid anyone who seems flaky or doubtful. When speed is of the essence, you may find that cut-price call centre-style practices are not your best option.
If you're getting a mortgage on your next home, speak to a financial advisor about the best lender for you and get your loan agreed in principle now. Then collect all the necessary information for submitting a formal application as soon as you find your next home.
If you plan to use a removals company, talk to some now to find out costs and who you'd like to work with. Ask them how busy they already are in the festive season and how much notice they usually need to save you a spot for Christmas.
EVALUATE EVERY OFFER
A buyer's ability to move at the speed you require should be your top priority, so if you're fortunate enough to get more than one offer, make sure you only consider those that can perform.
Ideally, your buyer will have no downward chain, but it's not always possible to be that strict and not every chain is a problem. Your agent should check every link in the chain for how far it's progressed and for any potential delays.
In the event of a cash offer – everyone's dream! – your agent should check that those funds exist and are available in the timeframe you require. If a buyer will only be cash after selling a property that isn't yet sold, their offer can't go anywhere.
As soon as your agent has confirmed the financial status and viability of any offer you receive, you can accept the one that fits with your moving plans.
Moving by Christmas is perfectly possible if you act now and use your time on the market wisely. With the stamp duty bottleneck coming to an end, faster conveyancing speeds will get you over the finish line in time for the turkey and trifle.
If you'd like to move by Christmas, call us today - we'd love to hear about your plans and help you make them happen.
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