IF you want to sell your property before the festive season really sets in, it's time to get a move on. By Vicky Shaw.

If you want to sell your home before Christmas, there's still time - just about, if you act fast. New analysis suggests those wanting to secure a buyer before Christmas need to get their property on the market by Monday, October 21.

This comes from estateagent4me - a free estate agent performance comparison tool available on the HomeOwners Alliance property advice website (hoa.org.uk).

According to estateagent4me, over the past four years, homes listed in October have taken an average of 61 days to sell.

Generally, properties listed in autumn can be slower to shift. On top of this, some buyers tend to be more hesitant about committing to a 'big ticket' purchase such as a home amid the current political uncertainty. That said, estateagent4me says the average length of time to sell a property has remained relatively constant in recent years.

Paula Higgins, Chief Executive of HomeOwners Alliance, says: "If you've been waiting for certainty over Brexit before putting your home on the market to sell this year - unfortunately, time has run out. Deadline day for advertising your home if you want to sell before Christmas is October 21. So it's time to get a move on."

Here are some tips for those hoping their home will be snapped up by Christmas...

1. Boost your home's kerb appeal

The HomeOwners Alliance found that 68% of buyers found kerb appeal to be important. The features that matter most to buyers were found to be windows being in good condition and a roof that doesn't need repair.

2. Make sure the price is right

If it's too high, you won't get many viewings, but if it's too low you could miss out on getting what your house is worth.

Recent analysis from Zoopla suggests that over-priced properties can languish on the market for around two months longer than homes which have been given a more realistic price tag from the outset. Homes were considered over-priced where their original asking price had been reduced at least once - and the average time to sell was compared with homes where sellers had not needed to chop down their asking price.

3. Get your house looking 'good to go'

Buyers may be feeling a bit hesitant right now, so make sure your home is looking its best. As the days get darker, make sure your home does not look too gloomy - it is vital to let in light with lamps, candles and mirrors.

As the festive season approaches, it may be tempting to drag down all the decorations from the loft, deck out living room out with tinsel and put reindeer on the roof. But buyers need to be able to imagine how they would live in your property, so make sure it's not looking too cluttered - or too personalised. Also, bear in mind you wouldn't want to have festive decorations in photos advertising your home, if it turns out you're still trying to sell in January.

4. Set up your solicitor

Instruct a solicitor early and start pulling paperwork together now to help your sale run smoothly. Some firms have substantial experience around the legal work involved in buying and selling homes. You may want to ask friends and family for any recommendations if they have had good experiences in the past.

5. Optimise your viewings

Let your estate agent take the lead and tackle any tricky questions, but if you're around during a viewing, listen in to make sure they're putting your house in its best light. And make sure you do a final clean before any prospective buyers arrive. With a chill in the air, you may also want to highlight anything that makes your home energy-efficient and would help buyers to save money on bills.

6. Choose the right buyer

Many people see an ideal buyer as someone who is in a position to move quickly and has evidence that they have their finances in place, and will be swift in getting themselves organised. Good communication between buyers and sellers is often key when it comes to a successful house sale.


One in eight (12%) first-time buyers say they'd choose a property specifically for its Instagram appeal, Skipton Building Society found. On average, they plan to budget £11,263 on styling their new pad, taking inspiration from social media.

But while 77% of aspiring homeowners say they're confident with getting the interior decor right, just over half (56%) are confident with the surveying, and the same proportion (56%) understand the legal aspects.

The research also uncovered aspiring first-time buyers' property 'must-haves':

1. Good parking

2. A garden that gets the sunshine

3. Easy commute to work

4. An en-suite

5. Near good schools

6. Good entertaining space inside and out

7. Low maintenance garden

8. A walk-in wardrobe

9. Stunning view

10. A funky/modern kitchen with appliances

Skipton Building Society has partnered with personal finance expert, Iona Bain, to give tips on the property purchasing essentials. Iona says that from roll-top baths to rose gold fittings, social media can set a very high standard for interior design.

She suggests sticking to classic, durable interiors that won't need regular upgrades. Real structural improvements can also add value to a property, such as a downstairs loo.

Giving general tips on handling home buying costs, Iona says: "Speak to your mortgage broker, or your local bank/building society, to understand what the whole buying journey will be like. You can also mitigate the shock of unexpected costs by having a pot of cash for repairs, improvements, legal fees and insurance. The value of this pot will depend on how ambitious - or rather realistic - you are when it comes to home decor."


Financial fact: Savers may find they receive better returns on easy access accounts by choosing an ethical provider, according to Moneyfacts.co.uk.

The website found that many ethical brands are offering higher returns than high street banks on easy access accounts.


A fifth of workers have spent more than half of their spare cash for the month within 48 hours of receiving their wages, a survey by Nationwide Building Society found. Some 22% of people polled said more than half of their spending money, excluding bills and essential items, is gone within the first two days of being paid. Six in 10 said there is less than £100 left in their accounts the week before payday.


More than a quarter of women (27%) say they have never asked for a pay rise - compared with less than a fifth of men (18%) - a survey to highlight October's Good Money Week found.


Workplace pension schemes have stepped up their Brexit preparations - with nearly two-thirds saying they have formally assessed the potential risks during the past year, a survey has found. Some 63% said they had, while 32% had not, and some others did not know, the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA) found. The number formally looking at Brexit-related risks to their schemes has increased from just over a quarter (26%) who said they had done so in 2018.