Those with property already on the market may be starting to despair about selling it before 2015 is out. Meanwhile, those ready to sell could be in two minds about whether the timing is right to put their home on the market.
But, it can still be possible to sell in the run up to the festive season.
As the dark nights set in, it can be trickier for buyers to see how attractive your home is from the outside, particularly if the only time they can arrange house viewings is after work. Make sure you switch on any outside lights to create a more welcoming feel.
Dont let your paperwork be the stumbling block which prevents you from selling. Do your research first and appoint a solicitor you have confidence in to take you from for sale to sold in the most efficient way possible.
If you are still getting viewings in the run-up to Christmas, then dont put your decorations up too soon. They can detract from your home, making your rooms seem smaller if you have a huge fir tree standing in a bay window or hallway.
If your buyers do put in an offer before Christmas, theyre as likely to want to be in their new home before December 25 as you are. Make sure you press upon them that youre happy with a quick sale and youll do everything you can to speed up the process.
As the weather turns cold and damp, it is often darker outside, even during daytime. Make sure you do everything you can to create a feeling of light and space. Give your walls a lick of paint and add extra lighting to dark corners.
Before appointing an estate agent, check what their opening hours are, or whether someone will be picking up calls during the last weeks of December. Its no good potential buyers calling to book a viewing and not being able to get through to anyone. If you find the right agent, they could have more time to push your home as they wont have as many properties on their books. Currently there are some 460 properties on sale in Darlington, for example, and 130 in Durham, but numbers are likely to dwindle as the year continues.
Just as a buyer could imagine themselves sitting in your garden during the summer, help them to see themselves enjoying your home during the winter. Put the heating on to make sure its warm when they arrive. If you have an open fire or wood burner, put some logs on and create a cosy atmosphere.
If youre having photos of your property taken, then check the weather forecast. If you dont manage to sell your home before the end of the year, you dont want any images with Christmas decorations in them, or snow outside. These will date your property listing and buyers will think about how long your home has been on the market, perhaps making a lower offer as a result.
Having said all of that, if youre not ready then dont rush into anything. Winter can be a tricky time to sell, particularly as Christmas edges nearer. But, the other side of the coin is that the competition from sellers isnt as strong and buyers tend to be focused. You may well find a buyer as set on moving as you are on selling.
Please note: This article is intended as guidance only and does not constitute advice, financial or otherwise. No responsibility for loss occasioned/costs arising as a result of any act/failure to act on the basis of this article can be accepted by Latimer Hinks. In addition, no responsibility for loss occasioned/costs arising as a result of any act/failure to act on the basis of this article can be accepted by the firm.
Martin Williamson is Head of Residential Property at Latimer Hinks Solicitors in Darlington. Latimer Hinks has a team of around 40 people serving private and corporate clients. For further information:http://www.latimerhinks.co.ukor call 01325 341500.