The year’s busiest time for online property searches is coming.
Remember when all you had to do at Christmas was grudgingly turn up at the home of which ever family member was hosting, eat slightly too much slightly too dry turkey and slightly too soft sprouts, then collapse into an armchair as the opening titles ran for The Great Escape, The Wizard of Oz or Star Wars? Well, that’s all changed.
Now you need to stay awake for the UK’s latest festive custom and pick up your smartphone or tablet to get searching for property. From Boxing Day until about January 10th every year, daily visits to Rightmove go into orbit, from around 4.5million to somewhere over 25million. Of all the possible things to do, it’s clear that our national obsession with property will not be halted by Christmas, or telly, or sales.
This huge lift in numbers is obviously a major opportunity for homeowners who would usually have held off until the new year to put their property on the market, or who have been struggling to sell for a while and are considering switching agents.
Something that many sellers aren’t aware of is that switching estate agents immediately resets the status of their property to NEW LISTING for two weeks, giving them valuable extra promotion that is only amplified by what is now known as the Boxing Day Bounce. At no other time of year does Rightmove see such a sustained increase in numbers.
So here are three pieces of advice depending on what position you may find yourself in.
WAITING TO PUT YOUR PROPERTY ON THE MARKET TILL NEXT YEAR.
You can’t let an opportunity like this pass you by, yet most people will. And that alone gives you another advantage as you’ll have reduced competition, unlike waiting till the second half of January when everyone suddenly jumps into action. You don’t need to accept a single viewing over the Christmas period, but it’s crazy not to put yourself in front of such an enormous audience. Many people will be away from home – on holiday or staying with family or friends – but will be sending in requests for more information or viewings in the New Year, so don’t concern yourself with being hassled with viewings while you’ve got a full house. Just get those enquiries in.
STRUGGLING TO SELL AND THINKING OF SWITCHING AGENTS.
ADVICE: do it today.
Take a pause between now and Boxing Day to get your photos, floor plans and description prepared, and ready to launch on Boxing Day for the biggest two weeks of the year for online searches.
There really is no point waiting till January if you are already on the market, so wherever you are and whatever kind of property you have – unique or otherwise – stop reading this now and call your next choice of estate agent to ensure there’s enough turnaround time to get you set up.
ON THE MARKET AND STAYING WITH YOUR EXISTING AGENT.
ADVICE: make sure your asking price is Rightmove-ready, which means checking the price bands that Rightmove uses and seeing whether your asking price is optimised to take full advantage.
Old-fashioned methods like 995 pricing below milestones like £500,000 and £1,000,000 are still widely used by estate agents but could cost you dearly. £499,995 misses every single search between £500k and £550k, while £999,995 should keep you a closely guarded secret from people searching between £1m and £1.25m.
I passed an agent the other day who had a house displayed in the window at £1,999,995. Do they really think anyone is fooled? The only people who will find that property online are those with £2m as their very upper limit, rather than the wealthier set between £2m and £2.5m.
I’m sure the agent means well, but that sort of pricing is showing a huge misunderstanding of how people now search for property and how the portals group listings together in price bands. If it’s the owner pushing for that price, the agent needs to tell them in no uncertain terms that it’s a massive mistake and that it’s helping no-one. And if it’s the agent, the owner needs to insist on upping their price by £5.
Honestly, is anyone with £2,000,000 to spend really going to be duped into thinking a house at £1,999,995 is a bargain? That’s a 1980s mentality from when you could buy a property for £30,000 and market it at £29,995. In fact it’s H&M thinking, which at the upper end of the property market is utter madness and completely inappropriate.
Whatever stage you’re at, I hope this helps you make the right decision. And if you have a unique home in London that you’re looking, trying or struggling to sell, do get in touch.