6 portable garden trends

A quick skim of social media shows we are styling outside spaces in the same way as our home interiors – with colour, furniture and accessories – especially now our gardens are more important than ever.

Thankfully, there is a more temporary route to this summer’s hottest garden trends for those not wanting to make permanent or expensive outdoor improvements – ideal if your current home isn’t your forever home. Here are our top 6 portable garden trends for this summer:-

  1. Fire pits & chimineas: with recent emphasis on entertaining outside – and the British weather not always delivering tropical temperatures – a source of outside heat has moved up the must-have list. A bonfire isn’t always safe or practical, especially if you’re renting, but the good news is fire pits and chimineas are very much in vogue. These wood-fired portable sources of heat stand on legs and therefore won’t scorch the ground below.
  2. Plant pots: plants can be expensive and if you do choose to fill beds and borders, there is no guarantee anything you dig up and transport will survive in your next garden. The most portable way of adding flora and fauna is to use pots. Opt for a variety of sizes and you’ll be able to grow everything from bulbs and bedding plants to vegetables and even small trees, then simply load the pots onto the removal van when you’re on the move!
  3. Mirrors: if your garden is more of a courtyard or terrace than extensive area, mirrors can bounce around daylight and trick the eye into believing the space is larger than it is – just as you would inside a home. Prop a mirror against a wall for a no-fix solution or securely wall mount for removal at a later date – just ensure you opt for a mirror designed for outdoor use.
  4. Lighting: whether for safety or a sense of theatre, garden lighting is big news this summer. Solar lights are a fantastic, wire-free way of illuminating your garden and can be purchased anywhere, from supermarkets to garden centres. Choose from strings of festoon and fairy lights, spotlights and lanterns – all with the added benefit of being totally portable.
  5. Hot tubs: ‘plug in and play’ hot tubs have become less of a novelty and more of a permanent fixture, thanks to their temporary nature and more modest price point. Even though inflatable tubs feel a quick and easy luxury, they still need an outside power socket and careful daily chemical treatment – plus they use a significant amount of electricity. If you’re a tenant, you’ll need to check in advance with your landlord as to whether a hot tub and an outside power socket are allowed under the terms of your tenancy agreement.
  6. Waterproof textiles: the craze for creating outdoor rooms has led to an explosion of waterproof textiles in the form of cushions and rugs. Although it’s not desirable to leave these accessories out for a regular drenching, they will be shower proof and able to withstand a typical British summer. Opt for good-quality classic designs and a set of waterproof textiles will work in any garden you happen to grace.

If you’d like to see our list of available properties with gardens, please get in touch.


Buying ‘big ticket’ items: filling your home with no upfront costs

There’s no getting away from the fact that moving home costs money. Even after you’ve paid legal fees, a deposit and perhaps stamp duty, there will be things that you need to buy. So how can you pay for those ‘big ticket’ home items – such as kitchen appliances, sofas and bedroom furniture – when your pot has run dry? Here are some options to consider:-

0% interest credit cards: if you need to splurge on stuff for your new home, taking out an interest-free credit card is a good way to spread the cost at no extra charge. And, as the Money Saving expert explains, you’ll get Section 75 consumer protection when you use your credit card to make purchases over £100. You can use comparison websites, such as comparethemarket.com, to find the best 0% rate interest credit card with the longest zero percent period – which can be up to 24 months.

When using this funding method, set a reminder to clear the balance at the end of the interest-free period or you’ll risk being automatically switched to its regular (much higher) interest rate. Can’t clear the balance at the end? It may help to do a balance transfer to another 0% interest credit card when the time comes, although there will be a small fee for this service.

Pay in instalments: if you’ve ever shopped online, you may have seen the option to pay in instalments. Companies, including Klarna, Splitit, Clearpay and PayPal’s Pay in 3, offer shoppers the option to split paying for goods into three equal payments. The first payment is made at checkout, with two further payments due typically after 30 and 60 days. Theoretically, this allows the buyer to benefit from two more ‘pay days’ to clear the balance, without being charged interest.

If you miss a payment, you could ruin your chances of using such payment plans in the future or even hear from debt collection agencies. Look for an option that withdraws each instalment automatically or set up a direct debit so you never miss a payment.

Take out a loan: it’s important to know whether you need a personal loan or a home improvement loan. You can use the former to cover the upfront purchase of white goods, flooring and furniture, for example, while the latter is reserved for renovation works and can come in the form of either an unsecured personal loan or a loan secured against your home.

A personal loan can be taken out to cover the cost of multiple big ticket items when you’re furnishing an entire property, for instance. Reading Which?’s Guide to Personal Loans is a must before you make an application, and always use a comparison website to find the best interest rate and repayment term for your circumstance.

Payments and your credit score

It is definitely a case of buyer beware! Read the small print and recognise if your chosen payment method is actually a credit agreement. While taking out a credit card and making regular, timely payments can improve your credit score, falling behind with or missing payments can damage your credit rating.

It’s wise to check your chances of being accepted for finance by getting a credit report before you start applying. This can be obtained for free at ClearScore and other credit reference agencies.

Find free items

If you’re not keen on taking out credit or spreading the cost of a shopping spree, there is an alternative. The internet has revolutionised how we dispose of unwanted items for the home, with Freecycle, Gumtree and good old Facebook full of freebies. Of course, when items are offered at no cost, there is no consumer protection. Plus, you’ll usually have to make your own arrangements to collect the goods – with no guarantee they’ll work ‘as new’.

If you’re planning on moving home soon, get in touch for buying, selling and renting advice.

Buy a house with Bitcoins? A future possibility

Sometimes it’s good to look to the future to see how property transactions may evolve and one exciting area is paying for deposits – and perhaps entire houses – using cryptocurrency. Here’s our introduction for the uninitiated but rest assured, there will be no overnight switch to cryptocurrency in the UK property market.

What is cryptocurrency?

Cryptocurrency is a type of currency that exists as digital coins or tokens instead of physical money that we hand over at the cash till. Although you may have heard of Bitcoin, there were reportedly over 4,000 other cryptocurrencies available as of January 2021. Cryptocurrency’s big advantage? It is almost impossible to counterfeit or double spend.

How do I buy and spend cryptocurrency?

In theory, any product or service bought online can be paid for in cryptocurrency – the retailer would simply display a price in pounds (£), use current rates to convert the figure into cryptocurrency and add how many crypto tokens were needed to make the purchase.

The buyer holds their cryptocurrency in a digital wallet, and tops this up by purchasing tokens from a cryptocurrency exchange service. Think of it as paying using PayPal but instead of the money leaving your bank account, it leaves your cryptocurrency account.

Already brands such as Tesla, Microsoft and PlayStation accept cryptocurrency payments and more brands are announcing their intention to accept Bitcoins and other digital currencies every day.

So will I be able to buy a property using cryptocurrency?

For many of us, cryptocurrency is still a new concept to get our heads around but buying a property using cryptocurrency is something that is already being discussed by mortgage lenders and the legal profession. If you’re really keen to know the current thinking, Bitcoin uptake: ‘a long way off’ is a news analysis article by mortgagestrategy.co.uk, explaining the current relationship between house buying and cryptocurrency.

Is cryptocurrency actually hindering house buying?

The article in Mortgage Strategy makes an interesting link between an inability among some first-time buyers to raise a big enough cash deposit to buy a home, and those who hold all the cryptocurrency wealth. Is it a coincidence that the average age of the UK’s first-timer buyer has reached 34 years old, and that the biggest holders of Bitcoin – having 27% of all in circulation – are in the 35-44 year old bracket? Could potential purchasers have too much cash tied up in cryptocurrency and it’s this that’s hindering their attempt to own their first home?

Are cryptocurrency deposits the solution?

Already some mortgage lenders are accepting cryptocurrency as a form of property deposit. For example, the Nationwide will accept a deposit payment in Bitcoin, but stresses that this is a request currently dealt with on a case-by-case basis. Experts believe that mortgages will evolve and new hybrids will emerge where some, if not all, of a property purchase will be funded by cryptocurrency.

Will I be able to pay an estate agent using cryptocurrency?

That idea is already a reality. Although far from a mainstream method of paying for property services, a small minority of agents are allowing sellers, tenants and landlords to pay with cryptocurrency. We do, however, see a long and happy future for traditional cash transactions.

If you’d like to know more about buying, selling and renting property, contact us today.

A review of The Budget 2021 – Property & You

Property was high up on the list of topics for the Chancellor as he delivered his second Budget to an expectant nation on Wednesday 3rd March 2021. Rumours had been circling beforehand as to what Mr Rishi Sunak would announce, especially after a tumultuous 12 months and many temporary fiscal measures already in place.

We have filtered through the pages of reports and micro details to bring you the property-related Budget news that matters. As it stands, buyers, sellers, tenants and landlords have two items of direct importance, as follows:-

Stamp duty holiday extended: this initiative, where zero stamp duty is paid on the first £500,000 of a property purchase, (with a maximum saving of £15,000 per transaction), was due to end on 31st March 2021. The deadline has now been pushed back to later in the year – 30th June 2021.

Completion, not just exchange, must take place before this new June deadline for buyers to qualify for the top-rate discount, with the purchase price limit remaining at £500,000 from 1st April and 30th June. There is a ‘step down’ approach to stamp duty discounts after June, with Mr Sunak announcing that from 1st July until 30th September 2021, only the first £250,000 of a property purchase will be stamp-duty free. After that, the stamp duty-free limit resets to the first £125,000 of a property’s value.

5% mortgages for first-time buyers: it was in October 2020 when the Prime Minister announced that 5% mortgages for first-time buyers would be making a comeback – part of Boris’s bid to turn Generation Rent into Generation Buy. Unlike open-market mortgages, the Chancellor detailed that these new home loans – accessed with a deposit as low as 5% – would effectively be guaranteed by the Government.

It is also hoped the new mortgages will be offered on a long-term, fixed rate basis for extra financial security. The Chancellor added that many big name lenders were already backing the scheme but clarified that the mortgages would only fund property purchases worth up to £600,000.

What remains unchanged?

Capital Gains Tax rates are unaffected. This tax applies when people sell a valuable asset that has risen in value, and the amount they pay depends on their tax status – basic rate taxpayer or higher rate taxpayer. Assets that fall into this tax remit include most personal possessions (not including a vehicle), some shares, business assets and also any residential property that has been used as a buy-to-let, for business purposes or is very large. For now, the Capital Gains Tax rate stays at 18% for basic rate taxpayers and 28% on any amount above the basic rate.

If you would like help interpreting March 2021’s Budget and what it could mean for your home moving plans, get in touch today. We can help you calculate your stamp duty bill, talk over your mortgage options and show you a list of available properties within your budget.

You can become a landlord…and here’s how

Unlike other investment strategies – complex pensions, scary stocks and shares or crazy crypto currencies – many of us have a head start when it comes to investing in property, as most of us are familiar with the concept of renting.

If you’re planning for your financial future or are looking for better short-term returns, property looks set to be the star performer in 2021. Even for the uninitiated, the inexperienced and those with insubstantial amounts of immediate funds, investing in property is more attainable than you would imagine. Here’s how you could dip your toes into property investment this year.  

Make the most of money saved

With restaurants, bars and leisure facilities shut, and international travel off limits for most, it will come as no surprise that 85% of UK adults spent less money during lockdown. In fact, the results of a study by AA Financial Services, released in December 2020, revealed that the average Brit still receiving their full income had saved an average of £617 a month. If you’re fortunate enough to find yourself flush, you may start thinking about investing any saved money in property.

Get better returns than savings accounts

The same AA Financial Services study also found 31% of people with savings accounts increased their monthly deposits at some point during lockdown – a stat backed up by the Bank of England, whose own data showed personal bank deposits had grown by three times the recent average.

If you have a stash of money in a savings account, now is a good time to review how much interest you’re earning, if anything at all. The Bank of England’s data showed a record £215.3billion sitting in instant access accounts that paid zero interest, when analysed at the end of October 2020, and it’s common for even the best ISAs available today to only reward savers with interest around the 1% mark. In comparison, SevenCapital puts the UK’s average rental yield at 3.53% – dwarfing the return offered by most banks. 

Rent out your current property

If you thought becoming a landlord required access to pots of cash, think again. If you own your own home, it is highly likely that you can turn your current residence into a buy-to-let. Some vendors choose to become a landlord if they can’t sell their property as quickly as they’d like, or if they’d like to retain ownership of a home (perhaps if they have inherited a dwelling with family ties). Instead of selling, they swap the open market for advertising their home as available to rent. 

It’s usually a case of switching their current mortgage for a specific buy-to-let one, making it possible to free equity during the process so they can put a deposit down on an onwards purchase (what’s known as rent-to-buy). Some homeowners even choose the rent-to-rent path – renting out their current property in order to go and rent elsewhere. In either case, choosing to rent a property out instead of selling means the owner becomes chain-free behind them – a perk in itself – and they benefit from retaining an asset for the future.

Cash in your pension

Since April 2015, it has been possible for those over 55 to take a proportion of or their entire pension pot as cash, giving millions of people access to a lump sum that would have previously been tied up for years. There are some tax and future income implications that a financial adviser can assist you with, but an increasing number of people are choosing a property investment over a pension as a source of short and long-term funds, using their ‘pot’ to fund a purchase.

Ask about a ‘hands off’ property investment

If it’s the involvement, and not the cash investment, that’s stopping you becoming a landlord, ask about our lettings-focused management services. Did you know your participation could be as minimal as checking your bank account? We can take on the running of a rental property on your behalf – making sure the property is legally compliant, handling enquiries from your tenant and collecting the rent. 

Contact us today to start exploring the idea of becoming a landlord.

Remote control: 5 tips ahead of video viewings & virtual tours

Let’s face it, there is no real match for visiting a property in person, however the last nine months have taught us that everyone has to be flexible and adaptable when it comes to the decision making process.

Although remote viewings – whether live from the property, a pre-recorded video, a 360˚ tour or a virtual tour – have been on the periphery of the property market for some time, they have become mainstream staples during the pandemic.

In fact, these types of remote viewings have been so successful that there is speculation they will give rise to more ‘sight unseen’ property transactions in the future – where people commit to purchasing or renting without seeing the property firsthand in the flesh.

For now, remote viewings are a good way for buyers and tenants to make a shortlist of properties from the comfort of their sofa, and we urge movers to only request in-person visits for properties they think they’ll make a genuine offer on.

For sellers and landlords, remote viewings look set to feature for some time to come – probably even beyond the pandemic. In fact, research in 2020 found more than 33% of Brits expected virtual viewings to become the norm when moving home, while one in five thought a virtual viewing gave you all the information needed to make decisions. 

With this in mind, ensuring your property looks its best on all types of camera is vital, especially as the technology behind many remote viewings allows properties to be scrutinised more closely. The effort will pay off, as your preparation for a video recording or virtual tour will also improve the results of traditional photographs.

Thankfully, many of the principles that apply to in-person viewing preparations also apply to their remote counterparts – fresh flowers, clutter-free rooms and all maintenance jobs completed – but there are other aspects that are unique. Here’s our advice specific to remote viewings:-

  1. Doors and windows matter more: the aim is to create a good flow around your home so open all internal doors before anything is caught on camera. Not only will this help lighten dark corners, it will provide a smooth path around your property for the person capturing or hosting the tour. When it comes to windows, curtains and blinds must be open, and you may consider removing any nets or voile if it’s an overcast day.
  2. Those neglected areas will need work: while a photographer will use their framing techniques and editing to crop out – or even remove – junk, filming is much less forgiving. Areas that need attention include under beds, on top of wardrobes and anything hanging on the back of doors, as the ability to swivel 360˚ and tilt up and down in some remote viewings can catch areas that are usually out of sight.
  3. Hello hallways & landings: flick through past property details and unless they are a thing of real beauty, hallways and landings are rarely photographed. Especially in the case of live video viewings, your through and communal areas may now make it onto the small screen, so ensure you tidy up coats, shoes, toys and laundry.
  4. Remember who the director is: in the case of live video tours and immersive virtual tours, the viewer is very much in control. They have the ability to zoom right in to see tiny details. They can ask to visit every nook and cranny and in the case of a live situation, they can ask the agent to open cupboards and drawers. Declutter, clean and tidy with this in mind.
  5. Sound travels: so you won’t be able to win movers over with the smell of freshly brewed coffee and baked bread but the sounds of your home life may transmit. Ensure dishwashers, tumble dryers and washing machines are switched off, turn the television to mute and do your best when it comes to kids and pets (we know it may be difficult!). A little soft background music may help but save the heavy metal for earphones.

If you have your heart set on a property and are serious about making an offer, we can organise a physical viewing for you, where it is safe to do so. Please use all the marketing assets available to you to make your decision, and that includes talking to us about our own experience of the property. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

More time to make energy saving improvements

Everybody who owns a property should like the idea of increasing its value and while fitting a top-spec kitchen or extending to add an extra bedroom may spring to mind, improving your property’s eco credentials can also boost how much it’s worth.

Making energy improvements was one of the top 5 ways of adding value to a property in a September 2020 article run by The Independent, which builds on an official Government report in 2013 that found making energy saving measures increases a property’s value by an average of 14%.

There’s also a strong link between the EPC of a property and its value, with one report suggesting homes with the best EPC ratings can be worth almost £25,000 more than their less energy efficient counterparts. For landlords, there is even more incentive to make eco changes as, by law, all let properties need to have a minimum energy rating of E.

The good news is the Government has recently changed the rules of its Green Homes Grant scheme to make it easier for landlords and homeowners to install energy efficient measures during 2021.

The old conditions

The Green Homes Grant was announced by the Chancellor in his summer statement on 8th July 2020 but there was a surprisingly tight deadline – with participants having only until 31st March 2021 to apply for the grant and complete the works.

The new conditions: a year’s extension & a boost to skills supply

The Government has made 2021 the year homes can go green by making a number of favourable changes to the Green Homes Grant. These include:-

  • An extension to the scheme, with a revised works completion date of 31st March 2022– an extra 12 months.
  • The extension also allows more trade suppliers to register, train and recruit to meet demand.
  • The vouchers will now remain valid for three months from the date they are issued or until 31 March 2022, whichever is earlier.
  • Homeowners and landlords can also request a voucher extension for circumstances outside of their control.
  • Subcontractors are no longer required to be TrustMark registered and PAS or MCS certified, which should improve the sourcing of enough trades to complete the work.

Improvements you can make using the Green Homes Grant

In order to qualify for the Green Homes Grant funding of up to £5,000 (£10,000 for those in receipt of some benefits), homeowners must install at least one of the following measures in the primary category:

  • insulation (such as loft, cavity wall or under-floor insulation); and/or
  • low carbon heating (such as air source heat, ground source heat pump or solar thermal)

The voucher can then go on to fund secondary measures, which include:-

  • double/triple glazing (where replacing single glazed windows)
  • secondary glazing (in addition to single glazing)
  • external energy efficient doors (replacing single glazed or solid doors installed before 2002)
  • heating controls
  • draught proofing
  • hot water tank thermostats and insulation

Apply & source a trade:

You can make a Green Homes Grant application and find a registered, approved trade on the Government’s official web page. There’s also a Green Homes Grant guide from the NRLA, specifically produced for landlords here.

Must-have home tech for 2021

With Brits now spending an extra eight hours per day in their humble abode, 2021 could be the year that investment in smart home technology explodes. Virus aside,
you could argue that this ‘remote living’ culture started back in the 1950s, with the invention of the Lazy Bones TV remote control, but it’s taken 70 years to develop wireless technology that can control almost every device in our homes.

Over half of homes in Britain already have some sort of smart device installed and with 45% of homeowners intending on making their homes even smarter, we thought we’d take a look at some of the steady favourites and rapid risers to help you identify your home technology essentials this year.

Whole home efficiency
Although not new in the energy efficiency category, smart heating is still gaining in popularity. Digital thermostats from the likes of Nest, Hive and Tado° allow you to control the temperature inside your home from anywhere, by connecting the thermostats to your mobile smart device.

This technology is advancing at a rapid rate and some solutions can monitor the weather or even your own habits to adjust the heating to suit your routines or the climate outside. Wake up to snow? Turn up the heating on your ground floor without leaving your bed.

There are whole house lighting systems that work in a similar way but they can be expensive to install – a cheaper alternative is to buy smart bulbs. They are pricier than your standard light bulbs but use less energy, last longer and enable you to turn the hallway light on without fumbling for the switch in the middle of the night.

You can also purchase smart plugs for devices that aren’t smart themselves. By simply plugging in any appliance, you’ll be able to turn them off and on from an app or remote control – great for boiling the kettle whilst you soak in the bath.

I spy with…
…several little eyes, dotted in various locations inside and outside! You no longer need expensive CCTV systems and cabling installed in your home to keep an eye on it.

Smart cameras aren’t just for managing home security but also for answering the door remotely, checking the contents of your fridge, minding your pets and even feeding Fido treats.

If security is your priority, then there is no reason to stop at cameras. Some security systems come with ‘open and close’ sensors too (or you can buy them standalone) and it is predicted door keys will soon become a thing of the past with the like of August Smart Locks – perhaps not a good option if you’re always forgetting your pin!

Hired help
While having your own robotic butler is still a few years off, there are plenty of gadgets available that are the next best thing to hiring human help.

Coming in at double the price of an average oven are smart ovens that you can control from an app, check on food without opening the door, and let the technology decide the temperature and cooking time based on the weight of a joint of meat, for example.

For cleaning, there are now a range of robotic mops and vacuums that vary in price and effectiveness – some even empty themselves! You can also buy a driverless lawn mower so you can lie in the sun instead of labour over your lawn.

Big ticket blowouts
If all that money saved during lockdown is burning a hole in your pocket, there are plenty of smart home technologies that require serious investment.

Always wanted a bigger TV but don’t have anywhere to store it? Try LG’s rollable OLED TV for a whopping £66,000. Or how about a bed that lights up in the right places if you get up in the dark? For the more health conscious, smart mattresses can monitor sleep using biometric sensors or how about a virtual reality home gym system like the Tempo Studio and Peloton Bike+?

The most accessible home tech, however, remains the smart assistant. Devices such as Google Home Assist or Alexa are voice controlled and are compatible with an increasing number of devices. Just ask your smart assistant to do the work for you and they will communicate with the relevant appliance or system on your behalf!

How to bag a home bargain in the January sales

While estate agents won’t be giving you 50% off your dream home this January, plenty of retailers are offering discounts on hundreds of furniture items, electricals and gadgets. But how do you know if you’re really getting a good deal? 

Before hitting the shops (if they are open) or immersing yourself in the vast chasm that is the online marketplace this year, check out our top tips for bagging a home bargain. 

Separate temptation from need

As you may have heard, Money Saving Expert’s Martin Lewis warns repeatedly: ‘you’re never saving money if you’re spending money you never intended to’. 

What he means by this is that you shouldn’t use any kind of marketed ‘sale’ period, including Black Friday and Bank Holiday offers, to buy something you don’t need or want. 

On his ITV money show earlier this year he explained that if you were planning to buy a video game for £50 and it’s on sale for £25 you’ve saved 25 quid. If they have persuaded you to buy something you otherwise wouldn’t buy, there’s an extra cost of £35, so it’s not a saving.

Ask yourself if you really need that robotic hoover or will get any meaningful use from a trendy waffle maker – will they be collecting dust in the under-stairs cupboard come next Christmas? 

Make a list and check it twice

Do not wander aimlessly around the shops or scroll through hundreds of web pages. Make a list of items you know you want or are going to need in the near future and do not get distracted. In fact, making the list in advance and signing up to sales notification alerts or email newsletters is a great idea. 

Think about what retailers offer these products, shop around and do not be tempted by price alone. You may find that retailers are jumping on the Boxing Day band wagon and marketing something as a sale item when, actually, it’s more expensive than it was before. 

Use price comparison sites like PriceSpy and Alertr, who can tell you whether you’re getting a product for the best price and where you can buy it. 

Read reviews

There could be a good reason that a washing machine has gone into the sale and promises a large saving. It could be a bad performer!

As the saying goes, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Don’t buy something just because it’s cheap – see what consumers are saying about it before you enter your card details. 

Also remember to read reviews about the retailer. It could be that an item was one in a dodgy batch or damaged in transit, but would otherwise work perfectly fine. However, some retailers have less than helpful return policies and customer service, which could make getting a replacement extremely difficult. 

Think seasonally

Even though you probably can’t imagine enjoying a fruity cider in the garden right now and don’t want to see any form of festive bauble for at least 11 months, January is certainly one of the best times to buy unsold garden furniture and Christmas decorations before they are in high demand again.

This does raise the question, is January the best time to buy at all? According to ecommerce site, Klaviyo, Boxing Day sales only just pip Black Friday to the post when consumers were asked about their most popular shopping day. 

Spending and discount trends differ, however. Research from credit card company, marbles.com, analysed the best product offers throughout the year and found that you can get excellent deals all year round, depending on what you are looking to buy. 

The good news is January seems the best time to buy a bed, sofa or chest of drawers. But if you’re looking for white goods, hold off until February. 

Reading this outside of January? Although some retailers specialise in January sales, there are plenty of websites that will alert you to others that happen throughout the year. 

Ho ho go! Sellers: act now to catch the seasonal rush

If you’re thinking of selling your property in 2021, our advice is to de-Christmas as soon as possible – maybe even pare back what’s on display today – and come to market right now.

No, we haven’t lost our minds but the seasonal spike in property searching can’t be missed. Rightmove has a wonderful bank of statistics that show just how many movers look online at property over the festive period and into January.

Holidays & houses
Year after year, the property portal announces a record-breaking number of users choosing to browse listings when they should be playing charades or pulling crackers. Take 2018 for instance – property searches doubled over Christmas and New Year. Even on Christmas Day itself, there were 10 million page visits, rising to around 30 million on Boxing Day.

Why is there such a seasonal trend? Anecdotal evidence suggests that many people naturally search for homes online when they get a new mobile device, such as an iPhone or tablet. After all, looking at properties and house prices is one of the nation’s favourite pastimes! Others believe a house crammed full over Christmas (or perhaps not so much in 2020), heightens a lack of space, pushing people to look for a new home with more bedrooms or a larger living room, perhaps.

A resolution to move
The Christmas figures, however, are dwarfed by those noted in January 2020 – the month Rightmove claimed to be its busiest ever. Visitors passed the 150 million mark for the first time – up 12% compared to January 2019. For those who love fine details, the top five busiest days for traffic on Rightmove were all between 21st and 29th January, with the most traffic on Wednesday 29th January. It really is a case of ‘New Year, new home’.

You haven’t left it too late
So while it may feel natural to hold off marketing your property until the New Year, sellers may miss out on a quick sale and hundreds of potential buyers who are using the season of good will to start planning their next move. It takes an estate agent a matter of hours to book a visit, take photographs and get a property listed online. Even now, with a matter of days before Christmas, it’s not too late to start the process and catch the surge in online traffic.

Post-Christmas push
For those set on having a full-blown Christmas, with all the trimmings, tinsel and turkey proudly on display, you can still make the most of the dormant period between Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve in readiness for the January rush. It’s actually the perfect time to contact your estate agent.

Tuck away that tinsel
There is a word of advice. Christmas decorations will pinpoint when your home came to market and let’s be fair, not many people will want to see gaudy garlands and bright baubles come January 2021. Pack away as many decorations as you can bear before photography takes place or, at the bare minimum, only leave things you can easily slide out of view or hide away.

Read, steady….start!
With millions of people online over Christmas – maybe looking for a home just like yours – don’t hold back if you’re thinking of selling. If conditions are favourable, you may even be able to sell and buy within the stamp duty holiday for savings of up to £15,000. Let’s get started – get in touch today.