As the Christmas rush comes to an end and people’s thoughts turn to what they want to achieve in the new year, one of the items at the top of the list for many is moving home.
In recent years, Rightmove has reported a 231% increase in traffic between December 26th and New Year’s Eve1, and it’s likely this year will be no different.
If anything, it could be even busier for online property portals, with news of the vaccine boosting confidence and more people than ever reassessing what they’re looking for in a home. Priorities have changed in 2020 and lots of people are looking to move in search of homes with an office space, garden — or perhaps even look for a total relocation to a more rural location.
Here Sam Mitchell, CEO of online estate agent Strike, shares his tips on how you can take advantage of the Boxing Day bounce by getting your home ready and online in time.
1. Get your property sale ready
You don’t have much time between now and Boxing Day, but there’s no need to panic. There are a number of small jobs and DIY improvements you can make to get your home sale-ready .
This might be completing a few small maintenance jobs that you’ve been putting off – like fixing a leaking tap, replacing any blown light bulbs or re-painting any visible cracks on the walls.
Or, you could consider giving the garden a facelift by cleaning up any litter, dead leaves and plants, or any weeds to up kerb appeal.
They may seem like minor changes, but they are all things that will make a big difference to the buyer.
2. Find the right estate agent
An estate agent with a digital edge can be a big win in the current market, especially with Covid restrictions still in place and likely to remain so in some parts of the country until March.
With an online agent, your property can be uploaded to the market within hours and you’ll have access to property experts around the clock, helping to speed up the process from start to finish. You also won’t have to worry about office closing times at Christmas like you would with traditional estate agents.
Plus, if you're worried about agreeing and exchanging a sale before the stamp duty holiday deadline on 31st March, using an online estate agent could potentially save you thousands of pounds to make up for it.
Based on the average UK house price of £229,721, by using Strike’s free service to sell your home, you could save more than £3,000 in estate agency fees, whereas the typical amount spent on stamp duty is only £2,094.2
Perhaps most importantly, online agents are also well-placed to deal with selling remotely — using services like virtual valuations and virtual viewings. At Strike, our digital hub and app help to take the stress out of selling, while our team are experts when it comes to capturing your property at its best for online listings.
3. Maximise your online presence
Making your property stand out online is going to be essential if you’re selling during a lockdown. And remember, the first rule of marketing your property online is to ensure you’re using top quality images — high resolutions are a must, whether you can achieve them on your phone or with a professional camera.
No matter how good your description of the property is, images are what really grab people’s attention. The first image on your listing needs to be picture-perfect — and show why your home is one they’ll want to visit.
Showcase the best parts of your home, such as a welcoming front shot of the property, a generous sitting room, or a stunning kitchen. Around five to nine photos should do the trick, but potentially take a few more now so buyers feel they've had a real look into the property.
4. Price realistically
Price is often the single biggest factor in how quickly a home sells. Do your research and get ahead by pricing competitively.
An overly high price can put buyers off, but a competitive price can trigger offers above the asking price – and can even lead to bidding wars in a hot market.
People often search in price bands when looking online, so use this insight to your advantage when you price your property. If you are priced at the top of a particular band, this could help you appear at the top of searches.
5. Maximise your search potential
Last but not least, to ensure you attract lots of potential buyers when they are trawling through the portals on Boxing Day, use keywords in your listing.
People are searching for signs of space, so including terms like a garden, annexe, study, or office can help you gain a lot of traction – and show off the best points of your home.
If you have any of these to offer, make sure it’s clear in the description and images. You might want to refer to a room that you currently use as a playroom as a ‘playroom/office area’ to highlight its multi-uses and play to what people are looking for.
Recent research by Strike found that four in 10 home movers now want a bigger garden or outdoor space, while a quarter say not having a home office has become a dealbreaker — so make sure you make your space count as this is going to be a major selling point in 2021.