Not on this occasion twelve drummers drumming, eleven pipers piping, ten lords a leaping nor nine ladies dancing; (actually the last one isn’t strictly incorrect if you count the site team from Shiny New Homes R Us doing an inebriated performance to ‘I Will Survive’ at the Christmas shindig at The Parkway); instead, if a recent report is to be believed, many potential homeowners should aim to be surrounded in the festive season by an army of estate agents estate agenting, negotiators negotiating, solicitors shuffling fixtures and fittings lists and title deeds, surveyors surveying (and not valuing up – you know who you are) and lenders shattering the dreams of everyone in a hundred mile radius. Forget the partridge in the pear tree, there is one in the Japanese knotweed at the bottom of the garden. According to a recent report in a national newspaper, sellers across the country will be slashing the asking price of their property in the run-up to Christmas in a desperate bid to secure a sale by the time ebay is in meltdown with unwanted pairs of slipper socks, novelty jumpers or some foul smelling perfume ‘created’ by some C-list celebrity. This frenzy of future conveyancing is apparently reflected in the figures of various property listing websites that show homes across the country being reduced in price.
Aside from the normal hysteria that is now endemic to any news regarding the property market of the United Kingdom, the article did make some very valid points. One of the most pertinent was for potential purchasers ensuring that their ability to buy was sorted before seriously looking at properties, never mind making an offer. Being immediately able to proceeed with a mortgage in principle is a big fillip when negotiating on the purchase of a property and indicates to sellers and agents – when making the initial enquiry to view a property- that you are a serious buyer. As a serious buyer, who may yourself also be a vendor, you must also ensure that if are going to be part of a chain that your own house sale is in order. Putting your property on the market at the right price with the right agent is absolutely essential if you want things to move at anything other than a funereal pace. Resisting temptation is difficult at the best of times, but choosing the wrong agent purely on the basis that they propose the highest asking price (in order to secure the instruction), is guaranteed to lead to disappointment and frustration. Similarly, ignoring the advice of your chosen agent who may – through their professional knowledge and experience – have suggested a more realistic price, is another way to ensure that the season of goodwill is swiftly replaced with a variety of other sentiments, none of which would come under the banner of ‘Festive Greetings’. The article also encouraged potential purchasers to constantly scour the internet and property websites to find what could turn out to be someone’s ideal home at a relatively cheap price. As we have said in previous blogs, the footfall in an estate agency is lessening all the time; over 95% of house sales now begin on the internet. The days of people walking into an estate agency office and buying a property that is listed in the window (without having first looked on the internet), are almost as rare as walking into the office and seeing Mary, Joseph and the three wise men looking at buy-to-lets in Abertillery.
All of the points raised are wholly valid, but they are truisms that are applicable 365 days of the year. The presence of tinsel, fake snow, bored looking eleves and Mariah Carey yodelling about all she wants for Christmas do not make them any more apposite. Finally, in an effort to knock myself off every legal professional’s Christmas card list, does anyone really subscribe to the view that any house sale begun within the coming days would be completed before everyone disappears off for the festive season holiday period (that now appears to run until Shrove Tuesday). If you do believe that, then you should hurry up and finish that letter to Father Christmas.