How to secure an exceptional property deal before Christmas

There is a misconception about Christmas and property that’s costing some buyers thousands of dollars in lost opportunity, and it’s that the festive season is a bad time to purchase a property.

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Most people seem convinced that a slowdown in activity heading into December results in less chance to secure an excellent home at a great price.

Well, I can tell you for a fact that the exact opposite is true. My years of experience have shown that now is actually a prime time to lock down a home or investment.

Here’s why buying just before Christmas could be the best decision you make all year.

Prime listings rise


This looks like a counterintuitive statement on the face of it, but stay with me here, because I have a pretty compelling statistic that should change your mind.

It’s true that if you look on the usual listing portals, there tends to be fewer properties available for sale through November and into December. Owners who have the luxury of time on their side don’t want to start a four- to six-week marketing campaign that culminates between Christmas and New Year. After all, that’s when most buyers are on holidays. Good luck getting a crowd at your auction or open home then.

However, these aren’t the “prime listings” I’m talking about. The listings I want are those that haven’t yet been publicly advertised.

When we looked at the numbers for off-market or pre-market listings during the silly season, our experience suggests there are around 40 per cent more of these non-portal prospects available in November and December.

The reason is simple. Agents are collecting future listings during this period. They are priming their new sellers for February auctions. They are putting together their marketing plans for 2024 during December. This preparation period is a long lead time when pre-market homes are gathering on the agents’ books.

And we’ve found many of these sellers are incredibly receptive to pre-market discussions. If their agent can secure a sale via a direct approach from a buying agent, it saves them thousands in marketing costs. They also avoid open homes, so they won’t have to worry about all the cleaning and preparation that’s conducted before each, not to mention avoiding the cost of professional styling.

Selling to a well-resourced buyer pre-market also allows them to maintain privacy if it’s their own home, or not impinge too much on tenants if it’s an investment property. In the same way buyers dont want to start the new year having to reignite their home search, sellers are happy to avoid beginning a year with all those open market selling issues if they can.

Investor-owners love getting their assets away in this manner around Christmas as well. If they run a normal marketing campaign, it often requires vacating the tenant to enhance the offering. That means several weeks without a rental income during the period it’s advertised, plus several more during the settlement period. The net result is thousands of dollars in lost rental income. A quiet sale can be completed more easily with a tenant in situ, so there’ll be ongoing rent while the property’s sale moves towards completion.

These off-market properties are exactly the ones well-connected, experienced buyers’ agents and advisors want to chase.

If you compile a comprehensive, realistic buyer brief that sets out plainly what you’re looking for in a property, it can be sent to the right agent network. Now, if these agents can sign up a deal on a pre-market home for their vendor quickly and without fuss prior to Christmas, they will happily do so.

Sellers are keen to trade

The other group to watch are sellers who actively market their properties during the Christmas season. We know, as property advisors, that selling now is a sign that these vendors are keen to trade quickly for some reason. They have chosen to sell their home during a holiday period when there are fewer buyers about and things are shutting down.

Add to this those listings that have been sitting around for some time. A huge proportion of those sellers will be desperate to sell prior to the end of the year. They do not want to have the stress of proceeding through Christmas and New Year knowing they will have to try marketing a home again once January rolls around.

This is the sort of seller we like to deal with. The majority will be open to negotiating a contract on their property and securing a sale with minimal fuss.

If your advisor shows you a listed opportunity at this time, the seller’s short timeline can play straight to your advantage during the contract discussions.

Less competition

There’s no denying that there’s less buying competition around this time of year.

Most potential purchasers are gearing up for their holiday break or are away enjoying themselves already. They are putting off their search until February.

If you or your representatives are taking action in December, there will simply be fewer people to bid against when buying a home.

Less competition means more options and usually plays into the end price and conditions. An expert negotiator knows how to leverage this sort of advantage to their client’s benefit.

The outcome can be even more extraordinary if you can make an unconditional offer at this time of year. Buyers who have their finance secured and can quickly do their due diligence are very attractive to sellers. In my time I have seen some incredible discounts achieved by buyers putting forward unconditional offers at Christmas time.

The equation is simple. For those willing to act while all others sleep, there are unbelievable benefits to buying prior to Christmas.

The key is making sure you’re fully prepared and well-represented by experienced professionals. It’s the easiest way to have a very Merry Christmas and extremely Happy New Year.

Scott Aggett, founder of Hello Haus.

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