We like to think that we are all individuals and to a certain extent, we are. But like it or not we still have the ‘pack mentality’ and tend to feel the same way about the same things, at the same times. Whether that’s something in our nature or simply that we are more influenced than we think by the actions of others, crowded gyms in January illustrate this shared mentality well!
It’s the same with important and often life changing purchases such as the home you live in. Ask any estate agent, anywhere in the country about the ebb and flow of demand and the answers you’ll get will be remarkably similar and the actions of buyers and sellers are surprisingly predictable. The market may change from boom to bust, demand could be up or down, but the trends will still be there.
Has online selling made any difference?
We asked Jonathan Rolande, Director of House Buy Fast, who’s been an estate agent since the 1980’s if he’s seen some changes over the years!
He says, “there has been an ‘internet effect’, which has increased year on year and doesn’t show any sign of slowing. For example, December used to be the graveyard shift for estate agents as buyers and sellers went out to shops to stock up for the big day. That’s completely changed. People are now spending so much time online in this period that they are also checking out new homes to buy or rent too. However, at that stage it’s more research based as most people still get moving later into the New Year, so in that way little has changed.”
And what other trends are out there? It’s important for sellers to know because choosing the right time to go to market is just as important as which agent you choose and the price you ask.
“It’s well-known that Boxing Day and early January are peak times for property portals such as Rightmove and Zoopla. There are further peaks in the run up to Easter and in September once summer holidays have finished and children return to school. Surprisingly, big events such as a World Cup, or The Olympics can cause such a distraction that enquiries drop noticeably so you’ll need to bear that in mind. Demand varies depending on the type of property you’re selling.”
He continues, “January is great for London buy to lets as traders look to spend their Christmas bonuses. Family homes sell best in April to May – people hope to move in ready for a new term in September. Property in remote parts won’t sell as well in autumn and winter when accessibility might be an issue for viewings. Seafront property? May to June is a great time as the promise of a long, hot summer awaits.”
Any advice for buyers?
“The best advice is to start looking as soon as your decision to buy is made. To bag a bargain, try to buy outside of the times that work well for sellers – you’re much more likely to bag a bargain seafront apartment on a foggy November evening than a sunny afternoon in July. Try to save a few more pounds by negotiating with solicitors and removal firms who will also be quieter in the off-season and therefore much more likely to want to win your custom.”
Finally, it’s important to remember that there is no real guarantee of selling your property quickly but going on to the market at the right time could dramatically improve your chances. Consider alternatives too, such as an auction sale or even using a quick sale service where properties are bought regardless of season. Just do your research first to make sure you have considered carefully all of the options that suit your circumstances