If the resolution of your new year is to move from home, you better sell yours first. But to get a quick sale at the right price, when is the best time to quote?
Spring and autumn were traditional showcases for sale. In July and August, everyone was on the beach. But house hunters can now search 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with property alerts that run through work days, weekends, and holidays. Although a sale is possible at any time, the calendar month can still determine the competition, the psychology of the buyer and the weather and, ultimately, its final result.
Jump into action
Nothing is as beautiful as spring and with green gardens, brighter light and a general air of possibility, it is not surprising that it is a peak moment to list. Those who resolve to buy in 2020 are new to the search and nibble the way.
“In January, people tend to have a little more motivation to buy,” says Stephen Day, director of residential sales at Lisney. “When the new year comes, suddenly they really want to commit.”
Early sellers eager to capitalize met with Day in November.
“His job now during the first three weeks of January is to prepare the house, be it painting or disorganization.”
The photographs, floor plans and the BER certificate are classified with a brochure ready to be launched in February.
“In the first week of February, there is a large influx of properties in the market and then, once it arrives in mid-February, there is a constant flow,” says Day.
The first to get out of the traps with a well presented and good-priced house in this less crowded field can catch the worm.
But as the weeks go by, with daffodils blooming and the “big stretch”, the disadvantage is that your property is not the only one that benefits.
“Some people would say that the gardens look great in the spring or closer to the summer, but the problem is that there is also a considerably larger offer. The fewer options buyers have, the better, “says Day.
Exemptions to the Central Bank mortgage loan rules are another factor. They allow banks to lend at multiples greater than 3.5 times income, or for deposits of less than 20 percent for top merchants or holders, or less than 10 percent for first-time buyers. The amount of exemptions that banks could offer was exhausted in early April 2018. Therefore, selling at the beginning of the year when buyers can access larger budgets can also determine the price that is obtained.
While few will choose to launch in summer, there are some exceptions.
“If I had something impressive on an acre of pleasant land or overlooking Killiney Bay, I would probably place it between April and September,” says Pat Mullery of DNG Terenure. “A property like that will look better then.”
House orientation can also be a factor, says Geralyn Byrne of Sherry FitzGerald, Terenure.
“A north-facing house sold during June can have full sun in the garden.”
Holiday homes are another matter. In a break from the work routine, the sun and the sea can leave visitors captivated by their holiday location. Looking out the windows of real estate agents, they marvel at this parallel universe where they can afford a couple of acres with ocean views.
So how do vacation home sellers hook these summer lovers?
“A general rule is to prove and obtain ownership by [St] Patrick’s weekend, “says Maeve McCarthy of Charles McCarthy Real Estate Agents in Skibbereen.” You’ll have a good chance of the spring / summer season and then also in the fall. “
While the months of July, August and September are the quietest for McCarthy transactions, vacation buyers are making a recognition.
“There are people in the summer and they are looking, but they probably won’t buy again until fall, but they will in summer.”
Of the four visits to holiday homes he made on December 9, all were summer visitors.
And if your house launched in spring has not been sold for June, is there hope?
“It can certainly be a little stigma,” says Lisney Day, but all is not lost. “In 2019 we made several sales in August. It used to be the quietest month of the year, but it wasn’t last year. “
DNG’s Pat Mullery agrees that summer doesn’t have to be a disaster. The deadline to return to school can focus minds.
“Our months of July and August have been as good as the best months of the year, or not far away. There are many people who want to buy before September. “
Hit out of the beak
Myhome.ie data shows that there were a total of 23,700 properties listed for sale on the site in September 2019, 2,450 more than in March. More properties can mean more competition for your home.
“If I had a good property, I would tell people to start it in January, to move on,” says Mullery. “Or if it is a sufficiently standard property, it may do better in December than in May when the market is flooded,” he says. “It can be improved out of season with a lot of properties because there is less available.”
Byrne of Sherry Fitzgerald agrees that there is something against the flow. “We have launched houses very early in the new year. You can do very well by going early because there is less competition.”
It’s the same in the last part of the year, she says.
“Traditionally, November has always been a really excellent month for sales because there are people who have been looking to say, look, another year is about to happen. Let’s focus.”
The only exception could be some rural houses, says Will Coonan of Coonan Property that operates in Kildare, Meath and West Dublin. What seems bleak in winter will be a beauty when summer comes.
“A rural dormer bungalow may not look good in December,” says Coonan. “It begins to look better in March, but the frustrating thing is that when a property looks better in July and August, it is the holiday season for buyers.”
Challenging all seasonality are the apartments. With buyers that include investors, reducers and beginners, children and their schedules do not enter the equation.
“It’s a market open all year,” says Stephen Day. He quotes a bed of two in the development of Lansdowne Wood in Ballsbridge, in the market in a matter of weeks, he placed the order for almost € 750,000 with an agreement made before Christmas.
Regardless of the time of the year you launch, preparation must begin months in advance.
“The photos and the price, that’s what attracts people to click on their link,” says Will Coonan. A property with photos of the height of the summer can beat another with more bleak photos of January.
“A seller needs to call his lawyer first, not his real estate agent,” advises Maeve McCarthy. “Ask them, if you were acting for someone who buys my house, where are the problems?”
Is the title of the property correct? Does it comply with construction and planning standards? If the property is on a larger plot, is the assignment successful? If it is a rural property, is the septic tank registered? Is the right of way to the house registered? Has the local property tax been updated? All this takes time. A delayed or problematic contract can scare a good buyer, sending it to the arms of a rival seller.
“You want to be able to do business once you find a buyer,” says McCarthy. “The important thing is not only the time of year to continue, but it is actually preparing all the paperwork in advance.”
According to myhome.ie figures, the average sales time agreed at the national level had increased to 4.8 months, and 3.9 months in Dublin in the first quarter of last year. But the agreed sale is not the same as sold. If it goes on sale agreed in June, it could be the fall before the deal is made.
With an appropriate price and presentation, visits to the property should begin within days of release, says Coonan.
“The key window is the first four to six weeks. The activity tends to be hotter then. Expect an “agreed sale” in the first six or eight weeks. “
From the moment a seller enters an agent until the buyer gets the keys, it can be five to six months, says Day of Lisney, “and that is a relatively simple sale.” Legal ones should take two to three weeks, but when they are not resolved before they go on the market, they take much longer, he says.
Time is money
When it comes to listing your property, time is money. Choose a time when buyers are focused, your property looks better or when you can surprise the competition with your guard down. But not ordering the legalities in advance could mean a lost sale. Market in a hurry and regret at leisure.