New year. New you. New property?
If you’re considering selling up and buying a new home in 2021, January can be a great time to do so.
But where do you start and how can you take advantage of the busy January sales in the property world?
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?
Spring is traditionally the busiest time for the property market in England, but with the Covid-19 lockdown having curtailed spring 2020 activity, buyers and sellers are still hugely active this winter.
And that means January 2021 is looking like it will be even busier than usual.
Rush to beat the stamp duty deadline
Buyers can save up to £15,000 on stamp duty currently after the exemption threshold was raised to £500,000 in July.
However, the new rates are only in place until March 31, 2021, meaning buyers are facing a race against time to complete their purchases and beat the deadline.
Buyers and sellers have a ‘fresh start’ mindset
The pandemic has changed the way many buyers think about property and what aspects of a home are important to them.
On the back of that, many are heading into 2021 with a ‘fresh start’ on their minds.
That could see a flurry of 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
Buying a property in January is all about speed and getting settled in your new home before the first blooms of spring.
In 2021, however, it’s also about beating the stamp duty deadline.
January is a huge opportunity for both buyers and sellers, so here are some things you should be doing to give yourself the best chance of making a move…
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.
Property portal Rightmove had more than 150 million visits across January 2020.
And with the stamp duty deadline on the minds of buyers, those figures could be made to look small as we move into January 2021.
If you’re determined to move, 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 currently taking, on average, 52 days to secure a buyer, so if you’re selling, 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 over the Christmas period.
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 concerned with what they buy than what they pay for it.
But pricing your property realistically will always stand you in good stead as a seller – giving you the best chance of a quick sale.
The last few months have seen a demand / supply discrepancy when it comes to good properties, so you should also be realistic about what you pay for your next home, too, as trying to secure a bargain could open the door for rival buyers.
3. Make your property feel like a home
Although spring and summer are great times to sell because of the longer evenings and warmer weather, winter is also a great time to welcome buyers into your home.
But you should try to limit viewings to daylight hours only and ensure that your property feels as welcoming and homely as possible when the weather is cold and wet.
4. Pick a proactive agent to sell your property
Traffic the main property portals tends to surge after Boxing Day, with Rightmove averaging more than 32 million page views a day in January 2020.
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
Buyers are arguably never more motivated to move than in January – and with the stamp duty deadline approaching, that motivation could reach new levels in 2021.
If you’re selling and buying a new home in 2021, your motivation should match that of other buyers and sellers if you want to really take advantage of the busy January market.
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.
Buying through the Modern Method of Auction, meanwhile, has strict completion timelines, so this could give you an even better chance of beating the stamp duty deadline
Uncertainty surrounding Brexit and the coronavirus means predictions for property market growth are slightly cautious for 2021. We’ve rounded up everything here.
If you are looking to sell in 2021, though, you’ll need to ensure you’re in the best position possible to make your move – our guide on the mistakes to avoid when selling can help.