What to expect if you are selling property in the lead-up to Christmas

Most property sales tend to take place during autumn, but for many people who are thinking of buying the next few months over Christmas and the summer holiday period can provide good opportunities to take some time out and look around.

Many home buyers are keen to be ready for the new year, often because of a new job, the start of the university calendar or settling the kids into a new school.

Real Estate Institute of Western Australia data show that sales slowed during the September quarter, but early indications are that things picked up in the month of October.

There are currently around 11,000 properties on the market, which is perhaps around 1,000 fewer than we might typically expect in a more usual market with a better ratio between listings and buyers.

People are taking a while to look around and decide on a purchase with the number of selling days stretching out to around almost three months once a house is listed for sale.

The more affordable homes are being snapped up by first home buyers more quickly, while the trade-up market is slower.

Historically you might expect approval for home loan finance within two weeks, but most loan providers now require at least three or four weeks since the banking industry tightened its application processes to ensure prudent borrowing.

If you are thinking of selling your property it generally makes sense to get it on the market well before Christmas, but by the second half of December you can expect the market to go quiet until February when it tends to pick up again.

Successful sellers should allow extra time for settlement. Usually five weeks is enough between the contract of sale and the settlement date, but Christmas and New Year holidays may cause delays with building inspections and termite clearances, particularly if workers are on leave. As such, it’s wise to leave around seven weeks for the settlement period at this time of year.

If you have not sold your home before the end of the year you can expect a strong slow down in the market during the festive season through until late January. Your real estate agent can advise you on the best marketing strategy during this period. In consultation with your agent, you may even decide to take your property off the market until February.

Given current market conditions, it’s very important that a property is priced correctly to solicit genuine offers, facilitate a smooth sale and to get the job done in reasonable time.

Knowing when and how to best market your property for sale is just part of the skill and experience that comes from hiring a professional agent.

David Airey is president of the Real Estate Institute of Western Australia. This article was originally published on reiwa.com.

David Airey

David Airey

David Airey is president of the Real Estate Institute of Western Australia.

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