Is Now The Right Time To Sell Your Home?

Written by Mathew McCorry

If you read my property blog now, that’ll be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you. But if you don’t, I will look for you, I will find you and I will make you read it.

If you’re looking at putting your property on the market, or whatever method you’re looking to sell with, you might want to know if you’re choosing the right time. The thing we can say from the outset is that there’s no set formula, every neighbour and home is completely different and even in the slowest of market times there could be a buyer out there just waiting for your property to pop up.

Highlights of the article

Want to know if now is the right time to sell your home, we’ll break everything you need to know down in this article for you. Here are the key points:

  • Spring is the best time to sell your home
  • Holidays affect the sale time
  • The area you live is a massive factor
  • Price your property correctly for a quicker sale

In this article however we’ve had a general look at:

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When’s the best time to sell?

The short answer to this question is – when it feels right for you. There are, however, more things to consider than that when you’re figuring out the best time to sell your property. We’ve taken a look at what it means to sell your property across the seasons so you can make an informed decision.

There is a general rule that selling properties in Winter is not ideal. This is simply because buyers can be put off by the cold weather or are too distracted by the festive period to want to consider purchasing a property.

In all the online research you’ll often find in almost all places that Spring is by far and away the best time to sell your home. There are a few main reasons why Spring is generally the best time to sell, which includes:

  • There’s less holidays
  • Your property looks better in summer, especially if you have a nice garden
  • The longer days allows for more viewings

You can still obviously sell your property quickly during other seasons, you’re just a bit more against it. Here are a few of the reasons:

  • Winter – Now this is a quite tricky period to sell, as you get closer to the Christmas period people often don’t want to move, or buying a new property is usually lower down the list of priorities. After the Christmas period January is also a bit of a lull for the market as people try to recover from overspending in December.
  • Autumn – It’s probably the second-best time to sell after Spring. There’s no real reason that it should be any different to spring, it just is as determined by market trend.
  • Summer – It’s not the best of times to sell, this is the time that most families go on holiday and it’s also a time that generally child care takes priority, with the kid’s school holidays for a large portion of it.

How to manage expectations & find out the sale time in your area

As we’ve touched on a huge factor that determines the duration that your house will sell is the area that it’s in. Every area is completely different, and it depends how desirable houses are for buyers, so it’s worth doing research to manage your expectations before going on the open market.

As a country wide average it takes around 3-4 months to sell a property in the UK, but you can determine your local area using this online property tool by Thomas Sanderson.

This figure is just an average of course and isn’t set in stone, pricing your property right and following some of our tips in this article will put you on the right foot from the start and help you achieve a much quicker sale.

Do holidays effect sale times?

As you may have guessed, because of what is stated above, yes holidays do have a significant effect on the best time to sell your property. The main two holidays to avoid trying to sell in are Christmas, because there are often different priorities & the kids school summer holidays, because people book holidays or are busy with child care.

It’s not impossible to sell during these times, it’s just harder. You also need to take into account the whole process can be a little slower as well because as you may expect solicitors and estate agents are in the same boat as the buyers, they may have reduced numbers and take longer to work your case.

Does where my property is having an effect?

If you’re asking if there are seasonal differences in certain locations, in the UK, not really. It would likely have an effect if the climate was more diverse. There are of course general regional differences, average sale time in different areas of the UK vary considerably and you should always research your local area so you know what to expect.

Researching into any area you are selling or buying in is pivotal to moving home. Consider checking the local council’s website and see if locations have been granted planning permissions. Whether these are housing developments or just small roadworks. If there are roadworks taking place, wait until they have been completed as this may put prospective buyers off the property.

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Make sure you follow market trends

It’s all about timing. When you put your house on the market it is likely to trigger Rightmove or Zoopla property alerts to people’s email, this is generally when you see the biggest spike, this and any price reductions. You need your property to be uploaded at the right time, which as mentioned is typically spring.

Research your area, see how many properties similar to yours are on the market, if there’s a lack of comparables it may mean there is a demand.

Do all the research to ensure that you get the right price to market it at before putting it on. Getting the right price initially is vital for driving interest. You can reduce your property to produce another spike in visits, however there are a few negatives that come to reducing your asking price, as you may well imagine.

Outside of that you also have to consider outlying factors such as Coronavirus or Brexit which can throw the market considerably. These are obviously factors you can’t control, but you should always try keep up to date with the latest news and try and understand if it’s going to impact the property market.

What impact does a recession have?

A recession will naturally slow down the property market, most people will try and wait it out to see what happens before buying and often house repayments companies become more strict on their lending making it trickier for the first time buyer market. If there is a recession, it might be worth, if you can, just waiting it out.

If you’re adamant that you need to move, then don’t worry too much. The property market still continues and you still might be able to sell your home, but it’s likely going to take a lot longer and the price of your property might drop, until the economy recovers.

How does Covid-19 & Brexit effect sale times?

As you will likely be fully aware the world has been affected significantly by Covid-19 since March 2020, and in order to keep things running the property market has been stimulated by various incentives such as Stamp Duty Holidays and deposit rate cuts. In the meantime, Brexit has also officially happened and we’ve set up various trade deals with other countries, but the future around this is still relatively uncertain.

So with all this in mind, and major economic changes to come, how will it affect the property market and sale times? Everyone has an opinion on this, but the truth is that we don't yet know. If Covid-19 and Brexit bring the economy to a recession, it's likely to impact sale times in a negative way, but currently the Government seem to be actively trying to maintain the speed in which the property market is operating, and as long as support remains the sale times should be positive.

What else can I do to ensure a quick sale?

No matter the time of year there are certain things that you can do to ensure that you sell your house as quick as possible. Time of the year as we’ve established of course helps, but so do a few of these things you should consider:

  • Presentation – This one kind of goes without saying, the better your home looks the more attractive it’s going to look to potential buyers. There are a few key things in particular that you can do in order to make a good first impression such as tidy the garden, clean the windows, tidy up the house & of course, make sure it smells nice!
  • Decorating – Giving some of the walls and skirting boards a lick of paint can go a long way when it comes to selling your house. Be sure to touch up any paint work or wallpaper where it’s looking a bit tired. If there are any mould or damp spots this can also be a big turn off for buyers, so ensure that you cure them and paint over the area.
  • Home Improvements – This one is a little trickier, as you want to make sure that you aren’t spending too much money that you won’t get back from the sale. The main elements of a house that people tend to look at are the Kitchen and Bathroom, these are the most expensive rooms generally to improve, so having them in a good condition will definitely improve the saleability of your home significantly.
  • Choosing the right team – Everyone involved in the process of selling your home needs to be quick & motivated. If you’re going through a traditional sale route then you need to pick a good estate agent who’s eager to sell your property, a solicitor who’s going to act quickly & RICs surveyors that can visit the property as soon as possible. It’s also important that you pick a buyer that is motivated and wants to keep things moving with the same drive as yourself, which is harder done than said.
  • Quick sale company – Have you considered a company such as ourselves? In as little as 7 days we can buy your home for cash, it’s quick, easy and hassle free. We handle the whole sale for you and make the process simple. The solution isn’t for everyone, as we can’t offer full market value, however we will offer a fair value and the benefit of a guaranteed quick sale.

Why is January such a bad month to sell in?

Simply, the average days to sell a property from first listed to under offer/sold is long. March is the shortest month as it around fifty-seven days. Whereas The Advisory believes in January is about sixty-two days. On the other hand, this isn’t as bad November as the research conducted believes the average time to sell a property is around seventy-nine days. Specifically, this is between October the 14th – November 14th.

At the start of January, many homeowners enter the market looking to sell and purchase their dream home. Most do this as they have been stewing over December about selling their property and the New Year has brought a ‘new leaf’.

Although, even though most start to put their property on the market in January, property buying doesn’t usually start until the middle of February.

The start of January, as mentioned before, is the start of the ‘new wave’ of property on the market. Putting your property on the market in the middle of February is called ‘fresh to market’ according to The Advisory. This therefore makes your property more desirable due to it being a new listing on property search engines such as Rightmove.

What if I’m not ready to sell, but it is the correct season?

Simply, don’t sell your home. Even though statistics show that there are good and bad time to sell, there is no rush. Selling your home needs to be the right time for you, if you aren’t prepared then that’s fine. Selling in a market you aren’t prepared for could lead to you setting yourself up for an unsuccessful experience.

When you do decide to sell, take your time with every step. Try to prepare your home as best as possible.

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