My message – now is a great time to consider selling.
There’s no question that enquiry levels are dropping (which is not a seasonal occurrence as this time of the year is generally quite busy with lots of inquiries).
Right across the board, open home numbers are starting to drop as well but the good news is that the buyers are buying and paying good money!
I spoke to a good friend of mine in real estate (who works in an area that’s a little further out from the Brisbane CBD) and he tells me that his average number of buyers through open homes is even less than one buyer per open home at the moment.
He says that this is the quietest he’s seen things for years…even quieter than the Post-GFC period, according to him.
I’m lucky enough to have quite a few friends that are real estate agents and whether it be in other areas of Australia or other areas within South-East Queensland, I’ve yet to speak with anyone that is not experiencing a slowing of enquiries.
I’m not a ‘doom and gloom’ type of person by any means but I tell you this to emphasize to you that if you’re considering selling, I’d be thinking about it sooner than later as 2019 could be a tough year.
And even if you’re upsizing, it might pay you to purchase now and lock in your interest rate before the banks take it upon themselves to increase their own rates (forget about the RBA as they don’t have much to do with things right now), especially with a decline in the number of loans being approved and shareholders that need appeasing if their profit margins start to fall (see last week’s blog for confirmation of this).
Putting all of this aside, we’re often asked the question “When is the best time of the year to list our home?”
The truth is that the best time of the year to sell your home is, without question, the time that suits you best as you just never know when the perfect buyer might come along.
Some of the best prices I’ve ever achieved are at times when the perception is that there’s less buyers in the market, but as you know, many buyers are selling at the same time so when there’s fewer buyers around, there may also be a lower number of quality homes for sale at the same time.
Particularly at this time of year, many sellers question the validity of listing in the festive season, preferring to wait until January or February to list their homes for sale.
There is a false assumption amongst many people that Christmas is the worse time of the year to sell your home as no-one is interested in purchasing homes – this is definitely not the case!
Many years ago, when I was a little green in real estate (and had a lot more hair), most solicitors would shut up shop for almost 4 weeks and from mid December to mid January, it was almost useless trying to put together a contract as there was no-one around to facilitate the transaction.
Today is very different – most Solicitors and Conveyancing companies run skeleton staff over most of the break (with the exception of public holidays) and building & pest inspection companies, banks and finance brokers operate exactly the same way.
Back in 2009, I remember telling many of my prospective clients that the week leading into Christmas is about the only time of the year that the market goes completely flat – yet in both 2010 and 2011, it turned out to be my busiest week of each particular year with 9 and 8 sales respectively.
In 2012, we facilitated 4 sales in the corresponding week.
In 2013, we made 6 sales with two of them signed up on Christmas Eve, in 2014 we facilitated 3 sales in the week leading into Christmas (including one on Christmas Eve), in 2015 we put together another 4 sales…again with the final signatures being penned on Christmas Eve for 2 of these.
In 2016, we made 3 sales within a week of Santa sliding down the chimney and last year, we sold another 2 properties when most people were more concerned about battling the crowds at the shops as the last-minute rush takes place.
In recent times, we find that families often spend time together over the Christmas table and often make decisions about moving areas, upgrading, downsizing or just looking for a change.
Even on Christmas day, you’d be amazed (or horrified) to see how many phone enquiries and internet enquiries we receive.
When people have time off work, they have more time to spend on the internet searching for their dream home, so my advice is that the Christmas break is an ideal time to have your property listed on the market for sale with a strategically prominent internet presence.
Over seven of the past eight years, we’ve calculated January to be the busiest month for buyer enquiry levels and open home numbers, so it would make sense to capitalize by having your property on the market for the entirety of the month – not just the very end of it.
Many sellers will wait until January before they think too much about it, spend a few weekends fixing up those little things that need some attention, choosing an agent and preparing the marketing – all of which usually takes some time and by the end of January or early February, there’s a plethora of properties coming on the market at the same time.
These days, many buyers are keen to secure their new home prior to Christmas, thus allowing enough time to settle and move prior to the commencement of the new school year.
My advice – be a little smarter and better prepared.
It is always best to have photos taken before you erect your Christmas decorations as this highlights the time your home has been on the market to any potential buyers in January or even beyond.
I remember perusing real estate websites late last February and still seeing a few homes for sale that had Christmas decorations in the background of the photos – that’s not a great look!
Have your home on the market prior to Christmas (or at least early January) and capitalize on the slightly better “Buyers-to-Sellers ratio” than what it normally is in late January or early February.
As a seller, anything you can do to tilt the odds a little more in your favour will often be reflected in the final selling price and with new stock levels already low, you might be surprised just how much you might achieve.
Until next week, Happy Listing & Happy Selling.