A new year can be the perfect time to make changes, whether that’s through a new health regime or a pledge to give up a vice.
It can also be the perfect time to sell up and buy your new dream home.
But where do you start and how can you take advantage of the January sales when it comes to property?
Here, we’ll look at what you can expect from the market early in 2021 and give you some tips on how you can take advantage of this busy period…
Is January a good time to buy or sell a house?
Although spring is often cited as the best time to buy and sell property in the UK, the start of a new year brings with it highly motivated buyers and sellers, keen to make swift changes to their lives.
It’s a busy time for the property market and January 2021 is looking like it will be even busier than usual, thanks to the stamp duty deadline which is on the horizon.
Rush to beat the stamp duty deadline
Changes in July mean buyers now pay no stamp duty on the first £500,000 of a property’s purchase price.
That means some buyers could save as much as £15,000.
However, the £500,000 threshold is only in place until March 31, 2021, meaning buyers face a race against time to beat the deadline.
Buyers and sellers have a ‘fresh start’ mindset
The coronavirus pandemic has seen a shift in what buyers want from their properties.
The pandemic has already seen an increase in buyer desire for rural properties with larger outdoor spaces, for example, since the property market reopened in May after the spring lockdown.
Buyers yet to take advantage of a buoyant market and the stamp duty deadline are waiting in the wings with a fresh start on their minds at the beginning of 2021.
“It will be a busy start to 2021,” says Tim Bannister, of Rightmove.
“The new year is typically a time for resolutions for the year ahead and many will see it as an opportunity to draw a line under 2020, which may well include a fresh start in a new home for those who have not already acted.”
How to take advantage of the property market in January
With the stamp duty deadline looming, buying a home in January 2021 will be all about speed and conviction when making decisions.
With the stamp duty savings in place until March 31, 2021 and interest rates at a record low of 0.1%, it’s a great time to buy if you’re motivated to do so.
Here are five things you should be doing to give yourself the best chance of making a move in January…
1. Start looking now and get your home on the market
Christmas is a time to step back and relax after a busy, and in the case of 2020, testing year.
But that doesn’t mean the property market grinds to a halt – far from it in fact.
In January 2020 Rightmove saw more than 150 million visits to its site, proving that despite the festivities, buyers rarely switch off.
And with the stamp duty deadline on their minds, the market could be set for its busiest January for many, many years.
If you’re set on selling and / or buying in the new year, the time to start looking for properties to view is now.
Sellers are taking 52 days to secure a buyer on average, so you should try to get your home valued and on the market as soon as you can so eager buyers can check it out online during the Christmas break and in January.
2. Price your property well and be realistic about what you pay
The ‘lifestyle’ mindset has been one major change in buyer persona in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, and property hunters in 2021 are likely to be more focused on the type of property they want and how it works for them, rather than the price of it.
A realistic asking price, though, is always key to a quick sale, so ensure you price your property at a figure that works for you but is still attractive to buyers.
You should also be realistic about what you’re prepared to pay for your next home, too, as trying to drive down an asking price could open the door for someone else to jump ahead of you in the queue.
3. Make your property feel like a home
Selling in winter is all about how you can make your home ‘feel’ to a buyer.
While spring is often a better time to view properties, due to lighter evenings and warmer weather, winter is a special time and can really emphasise the best things about your home.
By making your property feel as welcoming and homely as you can, buyers will be able to visualise themselves living there in the colder months.
4. Pick a proactive agent to sell your property
Rightmove averaged more than 32 million page views a day throughout January 2020.
Many of those could potentially be the next owner of your home.
So, make sure you choose an estate agent who will market your home on all the key online portals, such as Rightmove, Zoopla and OnTheMarket, and be proactive during what is a great time to sell.
5. Be motivated to move
Your motivation to move should match that of buyers and other sellers.
Buyer motivation is generally at its highest in January, with many driven by that desire for a fresh start.
If your motivation to sell doesn’t match theirs, there’s a chance they’ll be moving quickly on to other options.
With Brexit and the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic, feeling a little hesitant, or nervous, about selling up and buying a new home is perfectly normal.
But if you’re in a good position financially, ready to move and motivated to take that step, it’s a great time to do so thanks to record low interest rates and the stamp duty cuts.
You could also consider the Modern Method of Auction if you’re desperate to beat the stamp duty deadline, as auctions have strict completion timelines.
It’s easy to be overwhelmed when viewing properties to buy and that can mean allowing your heart to rule your head.
Our guide on the things to look for when viewing a house can help keep you focused.
And if you really want to try something different when searching for your next home, how about auction? This piece explains everything you need to know.