Buying and selling over Christmas and New Year

December 06, 2016
Melinda Halloran

Gone are the days of holding off until well after New Year to buy and sell property. While the property market is quieter at this time of year, there’s still a lot of activity for both buyers and sellers to take advantage of. 

With spring now behind us, the busiest time of year in real estate is starting to ease off. And for those wishing to buy or sell, that could be an advantage. If you are ready to buy or sell property, here are the pros and cons of doing so during the Christmas period.

Buying property at Christmas – the pros

At this time of year, a lot of buyers do put their search for property on hold. It’s a busy period for everyone and many buyers find it easier to press pause on the property search until after the New Year. This means you will face less competition when making offers on property. 

This is the perfect time of year to be bold when making an offer, as sellers may be looking for a quick sale so they can enjoy their holiday. And if the seller didn’t get the price they hoped for over spring, they may be willing to negotiate.

Depending on the length of your settlement, you could request a longer settlement period to ensure your Christmas break isn’t spent packing and moving. Chances are the seller will be in the same position as you and will agree to this.

Buying property at Christmas – the cons

Many sellers wait until early January to list their property, which means that you have less choice over Christmas and New Year. If you do find a property to purchase and your seller isn’t flexible on the settlement date, you may find yourself packing boxes on Christmas rather than unwrapping them. 

With that said, however, it’s a good exercise to inspect a number of properties before making an offer. So if you don’t find what you are looking for now, you will have the confidence to make an offer when you do eventually find the perfect place.

Tips for buying at Christmas

  • Organise pre-approval on your finance so you aren’t affected by any seasonal delays from your lender.
  • Check whether your solicitor’s office is closing over the break and when it will reopen.
  • Despite the pressure to buy before Christmas, try to keep your emotions in check so you can make better informed decisions.
  • Don’t be afraid to make an offer on a property that’s set for auction, as sellers are often more willing to negotiate at this time of year.

Related: Is there ever a good time to buy property?

Selling property at Christmas – the pros

In spring, the market is flooded with properties, which means that as a seller you face a lot of competition. As Christmas approaches, however, there are fewer properties on the market, which gives you an advantage. There are also a number of buyers eager to buy before the end of the year, so they can enjoy their Christmas break with peace of mind.

If you do list in December and don’t manage to make a sale, there will be substantially increased demand from early January, when buyers become highly motivated to make a purchase. Many sellers will wait until late January or early February to list their property, so you’ll be able to pick up the new buyers in early January continue to enjoy less competition until other sellers begin listing later in the New Year.

Depending on your location, you may find that the holidays are prime selling time. Coastal, suburban and country areas receive a lot of visitors over the festive period, who may be looking for a seachange. People moving from interstate often need to settle in January in time for the school year and these can be very motivated buyers. By listing now, you give yourself the opportunity to appeal to this market.

Selling property at Christmas – the cons 

One of the biggest disadvantages of selling over Christmas is the decrease in buyer activity, but this doesn’t always mean lower prices. In fact, many buyers will be eager to secure a property before Christmas, and you can leverage this in negotiations. At this time of year, private treaty sales are generally more effective than auctions, due to the decrease in competition amongst buyers. 

Another factor to consider is the compounded stress of maintaining a clean and presentable house at a time of year when you are likely to be entertaining and the kids are on school holidays. This is something many sellers don’t take into account when selling at the end of the year. You may also need to be prepared to spend some or all of your Christmas break packing and dealing with your solicitor and real estate agent if a sale does go through.

Tips for selling at Christmas 

  • Don’t have your home photographed with Christmas decorations on display, as this will date the photos.
  • Ensure you have all the documents you need if your solicitor’s office is closing over the break.
  • Try to avoid hosting Christmas at your house, as it will add to the stress of trying to sell at what’s already a busy time of year.
  • Get ahead of the competition by listing in December or early January.

Related: How to choose a real estate agent

– Luke Cashin 

0419 733 862 | 
Your Garden City Mortgage Broker, Brisbane 

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