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HomeMoneyI’m a housing expert, here’s why January is the best time to...

I’m a housing expert, here’s why January is the best time to sell a house

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LISTING your property this month may be the fastest way of securing a sale.

New data suggests January is fast becoming the best month to sell your home – here is why.

Paula Higgins, chief executive of The HomeOwners Alliance says January is a great month for a speedy sale

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Paula Higgins, chief executive of The HomeOwners Alliance says January is a great month for a speedy saleCredit: HomeOwners Alliance

House prices soared in 2021, rising 10.2% to £285,000 in England..

Sales activity was boosted as buyers looked to take advantage of the Stamp Duty holiday.

The property tax was cut on purchases up to £500,000 until the end of June 2021 and up to £250,000 until October.

HMRC data suggests there were around 974,000 residential property sales between April and November 2021.

That is up from 658,000 in 2020.

The market typically goes quieter from the end of October until the new year as attention turns to Christmas.

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But Paula Higgins, chief executive of campaign group the HomeOwners Alliance, says the market will be waking up from its festive lull this month, making it a great time to sell due to pent up demand.

Data from the HomeOwners Alliance’s EstateAgent4Me service, which lets users find and assess local estate agents by their sales success and activity, found properties listed in January now typically take an average of 60 days to sell.

Its analysis of Land Registry and estate agent data over the past seven years shows average sale times for properties listed in January have fluctuated between 51 and 75 days and fell to a low of 56 days in 2021.

In contrast, selling times start to creep up to 63 days on average for properties listed in February, while homes put up for sale in May and July can take as long as 65 days to sell, according to the research.

EstateAgent4Me data shows January is one of the fastest months to sell a property

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EstateAgent4Me data shows January is one of the fastest months to sell a property

Higgins told The Sun: “Many homeowners make selling a property their new year’s resolution as they seek a fresh start.

“January is also a good time for parents to move into a catchment area so they can be ready to apply for schools.

“There is also demand from the end of the year as many sellers avoid listing their homes from the end of October to December during the darker and quieter winter months.”

Higgins says the busy market in 2021 helped homes sell within 52 days on average across the year, 15% faster than usual.

She adds: “2021 was a bonkers year for transactions and bucked previous home selling trends. Estate agents and conveyancers really rose to the challenge to meet the stamp duty deadline and deliver savings for home sellers. 

“While 2021 was the year to sell fast whatever the month, history tells us January is still a great time to get moving. “

Here are the HomeOwners Alliance’s top tips for a speedy sale.

Appoint a great estate agent

An estate agent can help sell your home by taking professional pictures and getting it on property portals such as Rightmove and Zoopla.

You can choose between a traditional high street agent, who will charge a commission only if the property sells.

These range from 0.75% to 1.5% and the HomeOwners Alliance suggests haggling for the best rates.

Alternatively, you could use lower-cost online agents where you pay an upfront fee regardless of if you sell but you may have to conduct viewings and take your own pictures.

Some online agents, such as Strike, won’t charge anything upfront but earn commissions if you use their third-party services such as removals.

Higgins suggests checking how good agents really are at selling properties in your area.

Website such as EstateAgent4Me and GetAgent will let you search for and rank agents by their rates, how long it takes them to sell on average and the typical price they achieve.

You can also see customer reviews of estate agents at AllAgents.co.uk.

Instruct your property lawyer

You will need a conveyancer to help with legal side of the sale, such as checking Land Registry documents and transferring homeownership.

Conveyancers can get busy as demand increases so Higgins suggests choosing one as soon as you decide to list your home so they can get to work immediately for you.

Get your house ready for sale

Make sure your home is presentable for viewings.

Prospective buyers could be put off by a messy looking property or if lots of renovations are needed.

A lick of paint could make a home more attractive and Higgins says more serious issues such as damp, electrical faults or a broken boiler should be addressed to avoid sale delays.

She says: “If there are any issues that might come up in a survey and delay the move, consider fixing them now.

“Energy efficiency improvements are going to be more of a selling point this year.”

Let your estate agent take the lead

Estate agents earn their money when it comes to negotiation and securing the best price.

Not everyone is confident when talking about money and it can be hard when it is your own home.

But it is an agent’s job to get an offer from a buyer that is best for you.

Higgins says: “Let your estate agent take the lead at viewings and tackle any tricky questions.

“Let them advise on negotiations, going to sealed bids to secure the best price is a popular option in today’s sellers’ market.

Choose the right buyer

Everyone wants to get the best price but there are also lots of different buyers to consider, which may influence how much you accept.

Buyers will rarely want to pay the asking price, although this can happen if there is lots of demand and a lack of supply in your area.

Some buyers may be more attractive than others as well.

For example, Higgins says a cash buyer or one that is chain-free so they don’t have to rely on selling their own home or getting a mortgage can help ensure a speedy sale and may justify taking a lower price.

Get your agent to check a buyer’s position before they come to see your property and make an offer to avoid time wasters.

Property expert shares the top 20 things you should be looking out for when buying a house

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This post first appeared on thesun.co.uk

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