selling at christmas

Guild Blog: MERRY AND BRIGHT: STAGING YOUR HOME TO SELL OVER CHRISTMAS

Christmas 2021

We at Joplings would love to see some photographs of how you decorate your homes over the Christmas season.  Please follow our Facebook (@Joplings1852) and Instagram (joplings_1852) pages and send us some images to help us to feel Festive and Christmassy.

 


If you are looking for an estate agent who can progress your move over the Christmas period, The Guild is a great place to start. Statistics from Rightmove tell us that the average time to move has decreased by 27 days since the summer. That means agents are getting their customers in their new homes nearly a month quicker than usual. They also predict that the sale of homes in the UK will be the highest since 2007, 47% higher than in 2020 and 31% higher than in 2019.

 

It is predicted that there are 300,000 home-movers in the UK who are likely to make it through the conveyancing process in time to complete in 2021, meaning chains are progressing quicker than ever and, now could be the perfect time to put your house on the market. With these facts in mind, we wanted to put together our top tips for getting your home staged to sell over the Christmas period.

 

Faux Fir: Save the real tree for 2022

While a real Christmas tree can be a fabulous addition to the home at Christmastime, there are many impracticalities to them when you are looking to sell your home. When it comes to having a tree to decorate while you are in the midst of a move, faux is best, and there are very convincing faux alternatives available. Real trees drop needles on to your carpets leaving you with more cleaning up to do before a house viewing – there are many solutions that claim to stop trees from shedding however it will inevitably and avoidably still cause some mess.  You may wish to clear away your tree entirely when conducting viewings, this is when a fake tree is at its most functional because it can be easily folded up and packed away at relatively short notice. Remember, many potential buyers are looking for space as a priority in their new homes, and a tree, fake or real, can make a room feel small and overcrowded.

christmas tree

 

Use Christmas lights to illuminate as well as decorate

Christmas lights offer lots of opportunity when it comes to home viewings. Try draping lights in garlands across fireplaces and stairway bannisters to attract buyers’ attention to focal points in your home. As always, you should consider the planet and how much electricity is being used to power your Christmas lights, while LED Christmas lights will cost you more money upfront, they use 75% less energy than incandescent lights – a huge plus for the energy efficiency for your wallet and the planet. Go for a warm yellow/orange light rather than a cool white light, this will create a cosy atmosphere in your home and make a buyer feel welcomed. Steer clear of external Christmas decorations, a buyer will want to be able to imagine the home for all seasons when they arrive.

 

All the senses

It isn’t just the sights in a home that will sell the lifestyle to a potential buyer, but also the sounds and smells. What better way to paint the perfect Christmas picture than with a crackling fire? If you have an open fire, make sure the grate and chimney are clean and clear to create the most memorable sounds and smells for your viewings through winter. Switch up your home fragrances to complement the time of year – essence of gingerbread and cinnamon are most synonymous with the Christmas period. Candles are the best way to emit these smells throughout the home and can even be authentically produced by hand to add a personal touch.

 

cinnamon scented candle

Keep it neutral

A neutral colour scheme is the number one tip from any property staging expert. Hues of red or green, with gold or silver, are the safest bets to chose from when it comes to selecting decorations for your Christmas tree and the room around it. A warm and rich shade of red will instantly bring a touch of festive cheer into your home within moments. You can try mixing and matching a matt or glossy finish to give a single-shade scheme another dimension – this second dimension will be brought to life by the illuminations from a roaring fire. Choosing a gold scheme for your Christmas tree decorations will create a sense of opulence and tastefulness and will sit especially well in an otherwise neutral interior, introducing festive colour without overpowering the space.

Contact Us

Are you thinking of buying or selling during the festive period? Read our blog on buying and selling over Christmas and get in touch with your local Guild Member today.

Guild Blog: Buying and Selling Over Christmas

Should I put my home on the market now or wait until after Christmas?

 

Many people think that trying to move house over the festive period is a mistake, but that is no longer the case. People have more free time and motivation to make a change in the New Year, so it can be a great time to buy and sell. Guild agents share their top tips.

 

Make your property visible online 

If you are selling, your home needs to be listed and visible on all the major property portals (like Rightmove) over Christmas. People have more free time and will start to browse properties online over the festive season.

Ailsa Mather from Andrew Coulson says: “We are listing a number of properties now because statistically, property portals show that there is a substantial spike on Boxing Day. We appreciate Christmas is a busy time for families, so we operate a ‘Do Not Disturb’ policy, that is clicking the property on the market just before Christmas but refraining from viewings until after the New Year.”

Simon Miller from Holroyd Miller agrees that sellers need to take advantage of this busy time. “Once Christmas Day is done and Boxing Day leftovers eaten, what do people looking for a New Year move do? Start looking for a new home. Don’t miss the opportunity to sell your house during the holidays; what could be nicer than viewing a very festive home?”

Rightmove say that Boxing Day is their busiest all year, and Steve Thompson from Thomas Morris agrees that it is equally busy in their office.

“Statistics have shown over recent years that the busiest days of the year for internet traffic on property portals are the days immediately following Christmas and Boxing Day. Our own evidence appears to confirm this phenomenon, showing that during the period from Christmas Eve 2016 up to and including New Year’s Day, we received over 130 telephone calls and 170 email leads from property portals. We even received calls and emails on Christmas Day.”

But why is this period so busy? Stuart Mills from Rickman Properties has an idea. “The reason? All those lovely new phones and iPads. It is also one of the few holidays that the family will be all together and most likely at home. This means that any discussions about a move can be had, viewings can be done with all the decision makers present, adults and children, and with a coming New Year, what better than a new home?” he asks.

Winter weather 

Spring is a popular time to buy and sell, but winter has its benefits, too.

“Sometimes stepping into a bright, warm, cosy home on a bitterly cold day or drizzly evening can have just as positive an effect as viewing a property on a warm summer day,” said Ben Whiting from Victorstone.

Abby Wheeler from Keats Estate Agents agrees.

“If you walk into a property in the depths of winter, when the sky is moody and the nights are drawing in at 4pm and you still love it, imagine how much you will love it in the summer? If in winter you can see yourself living there, it’s a keeper.”

She has some tips for winter viewings, too. “Always arrange viewings in the daylight. If you arrange a viewing after work at 6pm, you won’t get the true experience of the property, especially if there are grounds to explore. It is important to view them before the night draws in.”

 

Motivated to move 

Those people who are looking to move in December and January are committed to moving quickly. It’s a great idea to make the most of this.

Richard Stovold from Seymours said: “Although there are downsides to house hunting over the festive season, the benefits can outweigh the drawbacks. Houses that are available for sale over the Christmas period have often either been on the market for a while or are very new to the market. This means that sellers are likely to be eager to secure a sale, giving buyers greater control as they find themselves in a much better bargaining position.”

Simon Davies from Norman F Brown completely agrees.

“The December and the Christmas period is a great time to try to sell your property as the quality of the buyer is higher than at any other time of the year,” he said. “If someone is out house hunting around Christmastime, it generally means they are motivated to buy quickly. The speculative, non-motivated viewings decrease as people are busy preparing for Santa and won’t go out to view unless they must. There also tends to be less properties for sale around this time of year and therefore less competition to compete against for a buyer’s attention.”

Justin Flanagan from Charles Eden agrees that there is a much higher number of motivated buyers and sellers, and the ‘the viewing to sale ratio’ is much higher at other times of year. “From a buyer’s point of view, there is not so much competition and the sellers are probably motivated to move,” he said.

Think about photography 

If you’re thinking of making the most of the Christmas attention, it’s a good idea to think ahead. “Try and instruct your agent prior to putting up any Christmas decorations,” says Gina Burbidge from Royston & Lund. “This prevents the photos from looking dated if it doesn’t sell instantly.”

 

Ready for the New Year rush 

In the New Year, there will be a rush of people looking to buy and sell. Why not beat the rush by getting your sale registered or getting to know the market in December?

“January 2nd is one of the busiest days for us at Drivers & Norris,” said Steve Barron. “There aren’t likely to be too many viewings happening over the Christmas period, but it’s nevertheless a great time to get some viewings lined-up for the New Year.

“Many sellers hold off until after the New Year and miss out on the busy online searching that takes place between Christmas and New Year. Additionally, because there are fewer sellers listing their property over Christmas, those who do benefit from having less competition than they typically would have in the New Year or spring.”

Don’t underestimate the time that it takes for your home to go on the market, either.

Steve Wiggins from Bond Residential said: “Given the time it takes for an estate agent to prepare the marketing material for a property including taking photos, preparing floorplans and commissioning an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), we advise our clients to actually start the process now so that they are ahead of the competition and ready to take advantage of these peak periods.”

It is a great time to develop a strategy with your Guild agent to make sure your home launches to market in the best possible way.

“We are currently running a ‘do not disturb’ campaign which means we are preparing properties to market with EPC, floor plan and images before the decorations go up and then launching them to market over the festive period,” explained John Newhouse from Roseberry Newhouse.

“We will then start arranging viewings in the New Year when the household returns to usual. In January 2017, we arranged more viewings on the first day back than in the whole of December,” he revealed.

It’s not essential to wait until spring to sell, agrees Celeste Hannah from Hamilton Parkers. “Most sellers wait until spring and then there is more supply and more competition,” she said. “Whereas over the Christmas season, there is less supply but still high demand. By selling your home over the Christmas season, you are more likely to achieve a better selling price than you would trying to sell against the flurry of stock in the spring market.

“My tip for house hunting over the Christmas season is to contact local agents and see what stock they have ready to launch over the festive period, as most agents hold back stock to launch over the Christmas holidays. This way you may get first refusal and will get to register your interest first.”

 

The property market is still active at Christmas 

Take our word for it: people are still looking to move, even on Christmas Eve.

“We have found that year on year we have improved with agreed sales figures in December,” said Laura Scott from Cooke & Co. “I am unsure if this is to do with investors in recent years trying to secure a bargain purchase, believing that anyone on the market at this festive time of year will be desperate to sell and more likely to accept an offer, but we have also seen a vast improvement with first time buyers agreeing sales too.”

Tim Goodwin from Williams & Goodwin says it is never too close to Christmas. “Having sold property at 4:30pm on Christmas Eve before now, I have no hesitation in recommending that potential sellers should place their property on the market sooner rather than later,” he says.

“I did have a viewing one year on December 20th, with the completion due the next day. The sole purpose of the viewing was to measure the oven to ensure it was big enough to fit the turkey in, so make sure you take your tape measure to the butchers as well as the viewing if looking to complete before Christmas Day.”

 

Are you thinking of buying or selling during the Christmas period?  Why not contact us on 01765 694800 or 01845 522680 for your Free Market Appraisal.

 

If you are thinking of moving this Christmas, why not look at what properties our Sales Department have on the market right now!

Guild Blog: Can your garden add value to your property?

Can your garden add value to your property?

 

Many people forget the first impression comes from the garden. Watch the video below, to get ideas and tips to help sell your home this summer, as well as make your garden a more enjoyable place to be.

 

We would love to see some photographs of your outside space.  Please email them to vicky@joplings.com or Direct message them via our Facebook or Twitter page.  Please let us know if you are happy for us to share these on Social Media.

 

 

1. Decluttering the garden can add value. Always start with tidying and give your lawn a fresh mow and tidy up any weather damage before a viewing.

 

2. Add some seasonal colour, like plant pots filled with flowers. This will add perceived value.

 

3. Start in the front garden, because this is where your potential buyer will start. The first impression counts.

 

4. Add a key selling point, like a summer house, play park or a jacuzzi if you want to turn your garden into a fantastic reason to buy the house. This requires major investment, but it could secure your sale.

 

5. If you’re looking to spend less, don’t underestimate the impact of a coat of paint on fences and sheds.

 

6. Style your garden with furniture. You wouldn’t show a room to a potential buyer without any furniture in it, so why show a garden without a table and chairs on the decking or patio?

 

7. If your home is overlooked, it’s a good idea to give the idea of privacy to the garden. If it isn’t too expensive, add hedges or trees in key spots.

 

Are you looking for a new home with a beautiful garden? Contact a Guild Member today.

Guild Blog: How to Turn your Homes Weaknesses into Strengths

To make your home appeal to the widest range of buyers, identify its strengths and weaknesses. Here are some of the most common property weaknesses and how you can turn them into strengths …

 

Weakness: The windows are outdated.

  • Hanging new curtains is an easy way to update your property. Install a simple metal rod and hang a neutral curtain with metal rings.

 

Weakness: Your kitchen needs an update. 

  • Purchase new white goods for your kitchen to avoid the cost of a complete renovation. When you’re updating, think stainless steel as these appliances are popular and modern.

 

Weakness: There are small, ‘awkward’ spaces in your home.

  • Hang a large mirror. Mirrors can make any space seem larger, so they’re especially important in an entryway or narrow hallway.

 

Weakness: Your house looks old.

  • A fresh coat of paint and a top-to-bottom clean can work wonders to turn a rustic property into a character-filled dream. Highlight the period features of your property so the house becomes historic, not just ‘old’.

 

Weakness: There’s no furniture in your property. 

  • Have furniture in every room to demonstrate what it could be used for.

 

Are you selling your home? Contact your local Guild Member today.

Guild Blog: Why do house sales fall through?

 

Moving to a new house can be a stressful time, particularly if a sale falls through. Don’t worry if this happens as there are often ways to get it back on track. Guild Members talk about the potential pitfalls to avoid during your negotiations and give tips to help your sale move forward. 

 

Surveys 

If something unexpected comes up in a survey, it may be a big enough problem to make the sale fall through.

Becky Evans from Mark Evans & Co said: “In our experience, most house sales fall through due to survey reports. Unexpected work picked up on a survey may cause some purchasers to walk away from a sale. We would recommend that sellers sort out any paperwork for work carried out and organise certificates to provide to your surveyor and purchaser.

“If there is work that needs to be carried out, it can be more beneficial to rectify it before going on the market, because if your sale falls through, you will still have to pay solicitor fees and may still end up paying for the work. Purchasers should fully read their survey report and ask their surveyor to explain anything they don’t understand. If surveyors have not seen any paperwork or evidence of work, they have to assume it hasn’t been done and it can therefore seem like a larger problem than it is,” she warns.

Liam Sullivan from Drivers and Norris has some advice. “Some of the more common reasons for losing a sale can be avoided if you ask the seller if they are aware of any major works having been done on the property,” he said. “Or, if alterations have been made, do they have any documentation which signs it off, either from The Council or Building Regulations?”

Chain

A chain can fall apart for many reasons, and sometimes people can get bored of waiting and find a house elsewhere.

“When you agree a sale, you expect it to go through to completion. However, this is a time when you are not in control of events. You must rely on your buyer, and maybe even their buyer, and so on until the chain is complete. Any one of these people can and do change their minds occasionally. It is often nothing to do with your property,” explains Zoe Hayle from Marshalls Penzance.

The results of a single break can be huge, too. “A sale falling through at the bottom of a chain of sales can potentially jeopardise all of the others, so one break can mean three, four or more sales falling through,” says Justin Flanagan from Charles Eden.

How can you try to stop a chain from falling through?

Becky Evans from Mark Evans & Co has some advice: “Our biggest advice to purchasers and vendors is that you may have to compromise during your sale. Also, picking the right estate agent can literally keep your sale together; our contract chaser is invaluable and on many occasions, sales would have not gone through without her.”

During a negotiation 

Negotiations can be a tricky time, and you can find yourself dealing with surprising demands. It is worth being flexible, and remember that small details should not be a make-or-break on your deal.

Cheryle Wileman from Liverpool Property Solutions says that the key is good communication. “Fixtures and fittings can also cause some fraught negotiations with sellers wanting to take fitted wardrobes etc out of the property,” she explains. “Keeping calm is often the key.”

Allan Carr, Founder of Pulver Carr, agrees that a level head can push a sale through. “I have seen a number of sales almost fall through due to silly reasons such as having to leave a tired old shed, leaving curtains, not wanting to contribute towards an indemnity policy, or not being able to agree on a completion date.

“This is where the quality estate agent mediates between both parties and get them to look at the bigger picture of completing the sales transaction,” he says.”

People changing their mind and pulling out

Situations change all the time. Someone could lose their job, a family member could become ill, or people can simply have second thoughts.

Mike Coles from Debbie Fortune has noticed a range of reasons why minds can be changed. “The seller can change their minds after first accepting the offer and decide to stay put, which is sometimes called ‘gazanging’. The seller may not be able to find another property to move to, or the buyer’s finances are not in place or their mortgage advance is rejected.

“The buyer can be ‘gazumped,’ which is when the seller receives a higher offer from another buyer. The opposite, ‘gazundering’, is when the buyer reduces their offer at the last minute, before contracts are signed,” Mike explains.

As much as a buyer may want to move ahead, they may not be able to. “Despite buyers having AIP finance, there is a changing mortgage market and tougher underwriting depending on the loan to value once an actual application is completed. This can lead to upset unless the buyer has regularly reviewed the arrangements they have made,” points out Justin Flanagan from Charles Eden.

What should you do next? 

If a sale falls through, Kelvin Francis from Kelvin Francis says: “Get the property back onto the market without delay and commence a new marketing campaign. In the event of the cause having been a result of the survey, the seller should deal with any faults.”

How can you prevent a sale from falling through? 

Don’t forget to check your mortgage status before putting in an offer to ensure that you will be accepted to buy the home.

You should always remember to be patient, especially when waiting for sales to go through. The negotiation stage can be the most frustrating as you want the sale to move ahead quickly, but it is worth taking a step back and letting the negotiations take their course.

 

The most important thing is to choose an agent who will be able to constantly chase your sale through, no matter if it is in a chain of not. A highly-regarded independent estate agent, like Members of The Guild of Property Professionals, will be experts in sale chasing and can ensure that everything possible is done to stop a sale from falling through. 

Are you thinking of selling your home? Click here to find your local Guild Member. 

 

 

 

 

http://www.guildproperty.co.uk/news/post/1510588332/why-do-house-sales-fall-through

If you are thinking of buying a property and would like a survey to help you make this decision then please contact our Survey Department on 01765 694804.