December is a month like no other. There are Christmas lights and festive cheer everywhere you go, and everyone's thoughts start turning to the new year and new beginnings.
If you're selling your home, the Boxing Day Bounce brings the year's largest audience to the property portals, with 2020 seeing Rightmove's biggest ever Christmas audience, up a whopping 54% on 2019.
As well as these regular annual happenings, 2021's shortage of supply means many buyers are still actively looking for their next home. And with talk of interest rates rising early in 2022, there's a real motivation to settle on somewhere soon to lock in a current mortgage deal.
All this means there's plenty of opportunity if you're keen to sell this winter, whether you're looking to switch agents and restore momentum, or simply to get a head start on next year.
So let's take a look at how you can use the spirit of the season and the year's biggest online audience to your moving advantage.
A TIME FOR SWITCHING AGENTS?
If you've been trying to sell for a while and you're having no luck, you might be thinking about giving your home to another estate agent. You might also be wondering when to make the switch.
Do you leave things as they are until the new year, or do you swap now to see if you can breathe some new life into your sale with the extra audience over Christmas?
Switching will automatically give you a shiny new listing badge, so why not start talking to other estate agents now to see what they think is your best option?
There's enough time to get you up and running for a Boxing Day launch, and sometimes the threat of losing you to another estate agent can produce one last hurrah from your existing one.
Depending on the length of your notice period, it could be wise to activate it now so you can move on as soon as possible after choosing your new selling partner.
IS THE BOXING DAY BOUNCE CRACKERS?
The Boxing Day sales don't just apply to shops on the high street. For the property portals, the festive season is the annual peak of activity.
But is it just browsers with no intention of getting oﬀ the couch? And do genuine buyers hibernate at the end of November, only to emerge sometime in January?
Of course, more window-shoppers look online over Christmas, but it would be crazy to assume that everyone thinking about buying a home was actively giving the portals a miss.
There is simply no other week when so many people have so much time to look for a home, so a better question to ask might be: if you're keen to sell, why wouldn't you put your home in front of the largest audience of the year?
If you do decide to launch for Boxing Day, ask for two sets of photos - one with your decorations and one without - so you can start with a seasonal scene, then quickly swap in 2022.
DECORATION DOS & DON'TS
A touch of Christmas adds valuable festive cheer to any home, so don't feel you have to avoid decorations altogether. It's not like they'll come as a surprise - in fact, they're incredibly on- trend!
When choosing a tree, think of it as a piece of furniture: one that improves your room and fits neatly into a space. So, rather than engulfing your bay window or obliterating the view, try a size that looks comfortable beside an armchair or in an alcove, and leaves plenty of room to walk around.
Fairy lights trailing over the fireplace are a winner at any time of year, and you can add some delightful Danish hygge to shelves and window ledges - without overpowering a room - with little Nisse folklore figures.
What gets distracting is when tinsel and cards hang from every corner and obscure the ceiling, walls and your beautiful decor. So if you do favour the maximal approach, opt for two sets of decorating fun: a selling-friendly phase one for now, then a full-on phase two for the Christmas weekend when there's no risk of viewings.
WINTER WELCOMES & GARDENS
Nobody expects you to be outdoors manicuring your lawn in the depths of winter, but there are some staging tricks to add some seasonal warmth to the chill in the air.
A front door decked with a glowing lantern is an invitation full of welcome, while solar-powered stakes that charge in the day will light a pathway at night. And if the snow hits for a dash of
wonderland magic, remember to keep your path clear to save your viewers slipping and sliding their way to your door.
For garden furniture that stays out in the winter under a protective cover, place a pot of snowdrops or aconites on top of the table for some pretty seasonal foliage.
And if your furniture sits in a covered spot for year-round use, adding storm candles and stringing lights overhead will keep it looking cosy and inviting, even if your viewers prefer to see it from the warmth inside.
MAKING MAGICAL VIEWINGS
During the winter, more viewings happen when the skies are darker, which gives you the perfect opportunity to create a cosy viewing experience.
If you're lucky enough to have an open fire, get it lit and crackling in time for your arrivals, and keep a well-stocked basket of logs or fuel at the ready for easy top-ups. For regular heating, set it to come on early enough so your front door opens to a warm and inviting home.
(No-one in during the day? Agree some advance-warning times with your agent, perhaps 24 hours, so you can set the timer before you leave.)
Lighting comes into its own at this time of year, particularly lamps for highlighting comfy corners and creating a mood, so make sure they're all working and fitted with soft-tone bulbs.
When you've got multiple viewings on a single day or evening, why not make a thing of them? Leave out some M&S mince pies, keep a pot of mulled wine gently on the go, and set the atmosphere with music from the likes of Nat King Cole, Nina Simone, or Norah Jones.
It's a heartless soul that could resist such a coordinated campaign!
December allows you to present your home like no other month, take advantage of the year's biggest audience on the property portals, and seize the seasonal spirit.
If you'd like to talk about restarting or launching your move in time for the Boxing Day Bounce, why not get in touch? Call us on 02380 987610 or drop us a message at email@example.com to chat about your plans.