The start of a new year can often be the dawn of many lifestyle changes.
And that could include selling your home and buying a new one that better fits with your life in 2021.
January can be a great time to hit the property market, but where do you start and how can you take advantage of this busy period?
Here, we’ll look at what you can expect from the market in January and give you some tips on how you can take advantage…
Is January a good time to buy or sell a house?
January can be a great time to sell your home and buy a new one.
The start of the year often brings eager buyers to the table, while great properties can come on to the market, too.
January 2021 is looking like it will be even busier than usual, as well, thanks to the fast-approaching stamp duty deadline…
Rush to beat the stamp duty deadline
Changes to stamp duty were brought in during July 2020 to stimulate the property market after the spring coronavirus lockdown.
Under the new rules, buyers can save up to £15,000 after the tax exemption threshold was raised to £500,000.
However, the new rates are only in place until March 31, 2021, meaning buyers face a race against time to complete their purchases and beat the deadline.
Buyers and sellers have a ‘fresh start’ mindset
It’s fair to say buyers are thinking differently about what they want and need from a property in 2021.
The Covid-19 pandemic has already seen an increase in buyer desire for rural properties with larger outdoor spaces, for example.
So, many are heading into 2021 with a ‘fresh start’ on their minds.
That could see a flurry of hugely motivated buyers enter the market in the new year.
“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 strong decision-making.
And with those savings in place and record low interest rates making borrowing affordable, the new year is a huge opportunity for both buyers and sellers.
Here are some 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
Although Christmas is a time for rest and relaxation, property market interest tends to surge once the last remnants of turkey have been eaten.
In 2019, Rightmove saw its traffic increase by a huge 231% after Christmas Day, proving that despite the festivities, buyers are rarely switching off.
And with the stamp duty deadline on the minds of buyers, that figure could be made to look small as we move into January 2021.
If you’re fixed on moving in the new year, start looking for properties to view now, or try to get viewings booked in for the first few days of the new year.
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 to get it in front of eager buyers between Christmas and the new year.
2. Price your property well and be realistic about what you pay
The ‘lifestyle’ mindset of buyers has intensified 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 rather than what they intend to pay.
Realistic pricing is always key to a quick sale, however.
The demand for property has generally outstripped supply since the property market reopened in May 2020 following the lockdown.
So, you should also be realistic about what you’re prepared to pay for your next home, too, as trying to secure a bargain could open the door for rival buyers to leap in front of you.
3. Make your property feel like a home
One of the keys to selling your home quickly in winter is using the time of year to your advantage.
Yes, it’s cold and rainy more often than not, but 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.
Try, also, to limit viewings to daylight hours only while the evenings are dark.
4. Pick a proactive agent to sell your property
Rightmove had more than 150 million visits in January 2020, with over 32 million page views on average a day.
That’s a lot of potential buyers.
So, if you’re looking to get your property on the market to capture buyers’ attention early in 2021, make sure you use an agent with a good track record of marketing homes on platforms like Rightmove, Zoopla and OnTheMarket.
5. Be motivated to move
Buyer motivation is at its highest in January, with many pushed on by the desire to make a fresh start at the beginning of a new year.
In order to get yourself moving, you should be able to match that motivation yourself and be firmly set on finding your new dream home.
With Brexit and the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic, feeling a little hesitant, or nervous, is perfectly understandable.
But if you’re in a good position financially and ready to move, it’s a great time to do so thanks to record low interest rates and the stamp duty cuts.
To give yourself an even better chance of beating the stamp duty deadline, you could also consider buying through the Modern Method of Auction, which has strict completion timelines.
It’s possible to secure a quick sale in January thanks to that buyer motivation, but there are a whole host of things you can do to get things moving quickly. Our guide explains everything.