It’s best not to rush into this. You can always cancel a gym membership if you decide that joining was a bad resolution but it may not be so easy to back out of a house purchase once you’ve started things moving.
Over the next few weeks we will look in our blog at a number of aspects of planning a purchase and move.
We’ll start the year with something obvious but often overlooked in the enthusiasm of planning for a move – if you own a house already, you probably need to sell that before you can buy a new one.
It may not always be necessary, of course. There are ways – such as bridging loans – to get the cash to make a purchase without having sold your existing property. But all of these have drawbacks (and costs) so the best thing to do is sell before you buy.
So, is January a good time to put your house on the market?
If you talk to an estate agent, he or she will tell you that January is one of the best months to sell. But, curiously, if you ask in February whether that is a good month to sell, they will tell you pretty much the same. If you are selling a house, estate agents want your business - and they want it now. So now is always a good time to sell according to estate agents!
What is the reality, though? Is January actually a good time to sell a house?
Well, it is probably not too bad. After all, you want to sell when people are looking to buy. And if you are thinking of buying a new home right now yourself, you are probably not alone. In fact, market data shows you are definitely not alone.
Spring is usually said to be the best time to sell your house but many factors affect the market – such as the type of property you are selling – so any advice on when is the ‘best’ time to sell needs to be taken with a pinch of salt.
Analysis of data from Rightmove carried out by The Advisory says that if you are looking for a quick sale, March is the best month to put your house on the market. Homes first listed in March take an average of 57 days to find a buyer.
But the variation throughout the year is not huge. Homes first listed for sale in January take an average of 62 days to sell. That’s only five days longer. That probably won’t make a great deal of difference to your plans. And remember, that’s only an average figure, anyway. Your house could sell much more quickly (or not) depending on things such as its location and the price you are willing to accept.
The best time to sell, obviously, is when there are lots of buyers actively looking to buy and few competing sellers looking to sell.
You can get a feel for the number of homes like yours on the market in your area by using a portal such as Rightmove as though you were looking for a house like yours near where yours is actually located.
Figuring out how many buyers are in the market is more difficult. You probably just have to put your house up for sale and see how many enquiries you get.
Conventional wisdom in the property industry (if there is, in fact, any wisdom in the property industry!) is that many first-time buyers and young couples are looking for a new home in January. Spending one more Christmas at home with parents and family has convinced them that it is time to move! So, if you are selling a smaller property that might appeal to this group of potential buyers, now is probably a good time to put it on the market.
Potential buyers who themselves already have a home to sell may also be spurred into action by the Christmas festivities when they realise they could actually use more space. What has prompted you to think about moving? How many others are likely to be having the same thoughts right now?
If you are aiming to sell, now may be a good time to have your home online to ensure you don’t miss this New Year audience. If you wait until later in the year, your home could end up being one of many houses for sale. If you aim to sell now there is less risk of getting lost in a ‘market overload’ later in the year.
But, we have to say again, there is no right or wrong answer to property sales. You could be lucky and swiftly find a buyer at any time of year.
Or not, of course. And that is where moving to a brand-new home may be helpful.
Many builders – including Larkfleet Homes and Allison Homes – offer part-exchange deals on some properties, taking your existing home off your hands so you don’t need to find a buyer. They can also help you with similar schemes which guarantee you a buyer at a good price. That is not something that can be offered by sellers of ‘second hand’ homes.
It is one more reason to think about buying a newly-built home.
Our show homes are closed today (New Year’s Day) but we’re open as normal from tomorrow onwards. Why not call in for a chat about how we may be able to help you?