Is there a perfect season to buy or sell a house? Spring or summer might seem like the obvious time to get a property on the market or go house-hunting because longer days and a bit of sunshine can add a gloss to any property.
Most house sales do take place in spring and autumn, but don’t rule out winter if you want to bag a home bargain or are looking to make a quick sale.
Okay, the days are much shorter, giving sellers less of a chance to show off how beautiful their garden is or let buyers examine the exterior properly during an afternoon or evening viewing. And in the run-up to the festive period, most of us have got more Christmas wrapping on our minds than bubble-wrapping crockery.
Meanwhile, January is traditionally the longest, dreariest, gloomiest month. Just surviving that long wait until payday without having to deal with an estate agent or mortgage application is probably all we’re looking for.
Making the right deal
But forget all that. If you are serious about a) selling or b) buying, then the winter months can be a surprisingly good time to get on the market.
While there might be fewer properties on the market, that usually means the owners of those that are up for sale are keen to make a deal, putting buyers in the driving seat. A property may have been on the market for several months and the owner willing to accept a lower asking price to get it sold.
If you spot a property you fancy in the run-up to Christmas, there’s a good chance the seller has a January moving date in mind, perhaps because they’ve already bought elsewhere. You can make an offer that suits your budget, knowing yours might be the only deal on the table.
Short window of opportunity
The converse is, of course, true – those desperate to buy in the winter months are doing so because of their own imperative and so might be inclined to stick a few extra pounds on their offer to ensure they get the home they want.
The winter housing market is relatively short. By the start of February, spring is only around the corner and those planning a move will be priming their property for sale and more homes will appear on the market.
For buyers and sellers, December and January might just be the ideal time to make the best deal they can.