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Why January Is a Prime Time to Prepare to Sell Your House

Posted on 04th January 2024 in Residential Property

Posted by

Nick Conner

Partner and Solicitor
Why January Is a Prime Time to Prepare to Sell Your House

New year, new house? If selling your property features in your plans for the year ahead, make the most of January to get yourself organised and beat the competition of spring sales.

The beginning of the year is traditionally a time to set goals and resolutions for all the things we want to achieve over the coming months. It's also a good point to begin preparing your home for sale.

Seasonal trends mean the property market tends to get busy during spring. You can get ahead of this by taking key first steps, such as finding a conveyancing solicitor, checking what paperwork you will need to complete a sale and ensuring your house is ready for viewers.

In fact, preparing to sell your home in January is a perfect New Year's resolution.

What is the impact of seasonal property cycles?

There is a recognised pattern for property sales throughout the year in the UK.

The housing market generally sees a small decline from October through to December. The theory is that people do not want to move in the lead-up to the festive season – and that the cold winter's weather puts people off the thought of transferring their possessions from one house to another.

But this changes in the New Year, as people start to look once again at taking their next step on the property ladder.

The data from a number of sources shows property prices climb again from February and March as demand grows, before another dip in the heart of the summer holidays. This means spring is a good time to sell your house quickly as there are more potential buyers looking to make a move.

The benefit of getting ahead of spring sales 

More properties for sale during the spring months also means more competition, however.

The vast majority of homeowners choosing to sell do so in the spring, which can lead to a saturated market. This is good news for buyers but, as a seller, it may mean a deflation in the price you can hope to achieve. If you have an asking price valuation you want to sell at – or even need to meet to make a move worthwhile – this could take longer during this period.

Alongside this, there is a greater chance of being stuck in a property chain when the market is busier. This makes the sales process longer as there will be buyers before you, who have a more complicated conveyancing process to navigate.

Selling your home before the spring rush allows your property to be viewed before others join the marketplace: your property will be seen first and it's likely you will then be earlier in the chain. Later in the season, the conveyancing process takes longer, with a knock-on effect of having to wait months before you get your new property.

Getting ready to sell

It therefore makes sense to begin preparing your home for sale as early in the year as possible.

If you're looking to move within the next twelve months, January is a good time to start making those plans a reality so you can put your house on the market before everyone else.

There are several things to consider when selling a house and taking the initial steps in the New Year can help everything go as quickly and smoothly as possible.

  1. Find a conveyancing solicitor

The sooner you get your property on the market, the sooner you can instruct a conveyancing solicitor who can start work on all the basic documents you need to sell your home, helping speed up the process.

It's important to work with a qualified solicitor or conveyancer who can handle the legal aspects of the sale. Although there are fewer conveyancing steps as a seller, instructing a solicitor when you decide to list your house gives you a head start on organising the paperwork, which will hopefully prevent delays when a buyer is found.

  1. Get your paperwork in order

As a seller, it's your responsibility to pass on certain information to your buyers.

Preparing your home for sale means ensuring you have the relevant documents ready at this stage to avoid delays in the future. This includes locating any title deeds or property documents (such as guarantees) that may be useful for the buyer.

You need to have a current Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), which is a legal requirement for all residential properties placed on the market. The EPC must be available at the point your estate agent advertises the property for sale, so it's important to have this ready.

You will also be asked to complete a property information form (also known as a TA6 form) and a fittings and contents form. These provide a prospective buyer with key information about the property. You should allow plenty of time to complete these and ensure the answers are genuinely accurate, as this can cause problems further down the line if not.

  1. Prep your property

A big part of selling your home is being ready for the moving day. Take advantage of the colder weather in the New Year to get yourself organised:

  • Time to declutter – clearing out those items you no longer want or need makes moving much more straightforward and also makes it easier to present your home properly for viewings.
  • Freshen up – adding a coat of paint makes key areas appear brighter. You can also upgrade small areas such as lighting or bathroom fixtures. These types of minor changes can be effective in improving the overall impression of your home.
  • Ensure curb appeal – clear away the fallen leaves and debris that have collected during the autumn and winter months. First impressions last and a well-kept exterior is inviting for potential buyers.

What should you do next?

If you're considering moving during the coming year, it's sensible to start preparing your home for sale as early as possible in January.

Adding your property to the market before the competition increases could put you in a much stronger position for a better sale. And the sooner you find the right conveyancing team to help you, the smoother the process is likely to go.

Our residential property solicitors are on hand to help you navigate the pitfalls of selling and buying, so you can reach completion with the minimum of fuss. Find out how we can help you – request a conveyancing quote online or contact us to speak to a member of the team. 

How Tozers can help

The Tozers residential property team has built a strong reputation in Devon, offering an efficient and comprehensive conveyancing process for everyone from first time buyers looking for guidance through to commercial investors wanting to get the deal done.

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