Purchasing or selling a home is a fantastic way to kick-start the new year…

But that’s not the only reason to engage in the property market during the festive season.

There are many reasons buyers and sellers look to take action around this busy time of year. The key is to ensure you are equipped with enough knowledge to create a realistic and effective buying or selling plan.

Let’s take a look at the top four considerations to make when buying or selling in December and January.

1. Expect settlement delays

The festive season is littered with public holidays, and these can make settling on and moving into a new home a slow and frustrating process.

Generally, six weeks is ample time to allow between the contract of sale and the settlement date. In December and January, expect longer. You may notice delays in building inspections, termite clearances, and other standard procedures as staff are on leave or away.

2. Decorate your home appropriately

At Christmas time, most of us enjoy decorating our homes, putting up a Christmas tree, and other beloved family traditions. Are these appropriate if you’re listing your property for sale?

There is no clear-cut answer. Some believe that your property should be presented in a neutral state, as it would look at any time of the year. Others see no problem with expressing your Christmas cheer.

The best advice to follow is this: keep your home looking clean, uncluttered, and tasteful. If you can incorporate Christmas decorations in an uncluttered manner, go ahead. Just make sure it’s your property – and not your festive décor – that shines through.

3. Pressure to wrap up before Christmas day

Often, buyers and sellers that are still in the market leading up to Christmas hope to settle before Christmas day. This can be beneficial, as all parties are motivated toward taking action in the weeks before the big day. Deadlines are shortened, and you may experience, contrary to point one, a shorter-than-usual settlement time.

4. Greater negotiating power

Purchasing a property in the festive season can offer distinct benefits to buyers. Usually, there are fewer buyers in the market, as people are off on holidays or busy preparing for Christmas. What’s more, the properties still on the market may be leftovers from the spring season. Sellers could be willing to sell for a lower price to ensure a prompt pre-Christmas settlement.

There are benefits for sellers, too. Fewer homes on the market means less competition. A seller may then have greater negotiating power.

Plan ahead before you buy or sell

With these considerations in mind, make a plan with realistic expectations of timeframes. Try to enjoy the ride – even if it’s a little busy.

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