‘Tis the season to be house-hunting…

Christmas means many things. Food. Family. Love Actually on the TV. But what many people don’t realise is that it also means an ideal time for people looking to buy or sell their home.

Yes, ’tis the season to be house-hunting, say agents.

“Just because Christmas is evident everywhere you look, don’t suspend your property search,” says George Barkes of Stacks Property Search. “Generally speaking, the property market follows school holidays. The property tap is turned off as soon as the kids break up… If you’re buying, you’re in a strong position, especially if you’re a cash purchaser.”

“There will be less coming onto the market, but this is a good opportunity to review houses that you may have rejected on the basis of price in the past,” he continues. “There’s a great stigma attached to ‘stale’ property; but the reality is that ‘stale’ is only bad if you’re the vendor. As a buyer, a property that’s been on the market for a while has probably been reduced in price at least once, and possibly several times. And in the darkening days of autumn, a cheeky offer could be well received by an increasingly desperate vendor.”

Indeed, most people are keen to sign and seal the deal before they cuddle up with their mulled wine and Christmas jumper. Buyers able to offer that are an attractive proposition.

“If you can hang on with your offer till mid-December, all the better. This is property poker at its most intense,” adds Barkes.

Estate agents Watsons notes that even after that threshold has been passed, people have lots of free time over the holidays, meaning that more buyers searach for property online over Christmas and the New year than at any other time of year.

Of course, nobody wants a buyer poking through their property while they’re relaxing on Boxing Day – and nobody wants to delay hanging their decorations just so their home looks nice. So Watsons has launched a “Do Not Disturb” service, which will photograph homes before the decorationgs go up and then guarantee all viewings will be booked for the New Year.