When to list your house to make sure you move before Christmas – and four tips to make sure it sells

WITH house prices still surging, homeowners looking for a fresh start might be looking to cash in on the hike and sell up.

According to Rightmove's House Price Index, prices jumped to an all time high of £338,462 last month as demand for homes remains strong.

Even after the end of the stamp duty holiday, Brits are still eager to bag a home of their own – even though many will have missed out on saving thousands of pounds when the levy was reduced during the pandemic.

It has helped to push up prices – with buyers previously snapping up homes in just a matter of days in some cases.

But if you don't want the stress of selling hanging over the festive period, we explain when to list your property to make sure it's sold before the big day.

When should I list my property?

If you want to sell your house before Christmas comes, you'd better list it sooner rather than later.

Zoopla consumer expert Daniel Copley said the market is moving at its "quickest pace for five years", sellers are sealing a deal in an average of just 30 days.

That means if you list it now, you could have agreed a deal by November 3 – plenty of time to exchange and complete before the Christmas tree goes up.

But that doesn't mean you can take your time over it, Daniel adds.

He warned: "There have been reports of the time to complete on a property taking almost four months in some cases due to the backlog of sales in the pipeline, so time really is of the essence – particularly for those who want to move into a new home too."

But Trussle head of mortgages Miles Robinson warns that there's no guarantee vendors will be able to sell their home before Christmas – even if they list it right now.

"In September, the median time from signing up on Trussle to completion, was 138 days," he said.

"Therefore, if a homeowner put their house on the market today it is in fact not likely to complete until February 19, 2022 – if we worked on averages."

How can I make sure it sells quickly?

To boost your chances of bagging a quick sale, there are a number of things you can do to speed the process along.

Here are four expert tips to help clinch a deal faster:

Don't just take the highest bid

L&C Mortgages director David Hollingworth said sellers should consider other factors in accepting an offer, rather than just who is the highest bidder.

"A buyer without a chain may be better placed to move more quickly," he said.

"Understanding the buyer’s financing may also play a part in how quickly they can proceed. 

"A cash buyer could be quicker but if they need a mortgage then how advanced are they in securing finance – do they have a decision in principle already, for example."

Decide a completion date ahead of time

Buyers should keep in mind that estate agents – who often deal with completion dates – have deadlines for completion around the festive period.

This is usually a week before Christmas, which means you'll want to book in your completion date sooner rather than later to account for any complications that might cause delays.

Habito head of legal practice for conveyancing Abigal Fairley adds that both you and the buyer should discuss when to exchange and complete way ahead of time "either to a date that suits them, to happen on the same date, or one to two weeks apart".

Keep close to your solicitors

Fairley said you should be in close contact with your solicitors – even before you accept an offer.

"Instruct your solicitors as soon as possible and before having an offer accepted," she said.

"Solicitors are already incredibly busy, but there is lots of admin and form filling you can get done in advance, so when offers are accepted you can hit the ground running. 

"It means they can get going with the work as soon as offers have been accepted."

Get a mortgage in principle

It can be easy to forget lining up your next move if you're focused too much on selling your place.

But Zoopla's Copley adds that its important to get financing lined up for the next house you're going to move into if you're planning to buy.

"Don’t forget to lay the groundwork for a speedy completion by having your mortgage agreed in principle for your onward purchase," he said.

You can buy a new build house with just a 5% deposit – here are the details.

Do first time buyers need to pay stamp duty? We explain.

Here's eight properties you don't have to pay ANY stamp duty on – even though the relief has ended.

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