No sooner was Halloween done and dusted than attentions turned to Christmas: shops were dressed with festive decorations; town centre lights were switched on; and just this week we’ve had Black Friday – the US import that signals the start of the Christmas shopping frenzy.
Indeed, the Christmas holiday season seems to start earlier every year. This means the “I won’t be able to get that sorted until the New Year”, “I’m so busy in the run up to Christmas” and “There’s probably no point in thinking about that before the holidays” tirade of excuses across both our professional and personal lives also start earlier too.
In the world of estate agency, however, this mentality could cost dear.
At the end of the summer we witness a real focus on achieving completions before the festive season kicks in and when prospective sellers reach the point where they believe this may not be feasible, the risk is they’ll defer putting their property on the market until after the New Year.
Does the industry have a part to play in exacerbating this issue? Do we ourselves possess the 'not this side of Christmas' mentality? I certainly hope not and take reassurance that an increasing number of key players are, like the team here at Andrews, taking positive action to eradicate the 'wait until New Year' approach.
Rightmove recently reported on the millions of people who search for their new property as soon as the last Christmas cracker has been pulled and claimed that the site received, on Christmas Day alone, over one million visitors. I can well believe this.
Some 65% of all property searches are believed to start on a mobile device and with the popularity of such items as Christmas presents, it’s no wonder that this peak occurs. Our own stats back this up.
In a sign that Christmas traditions are not what they used to be, we’ve seen a significant peak in visits to our own website at the exact time that in years gone by families would gather round to watch the Queens Speech together.
Having monitored this, we’re able to present our prospective sellers with a compelling reason not to wait until the New Year to put their property on the market.
By preparing property details ahead of the festive season, we’re able to exclusively market a property at the exact time when we know there’ll be a captive and interested audience – and it works!
I’m not, of course, going to share all the details of how we approach this campaign, but needless to say in our third year of running it we’re witnessing consistently positive results that allow us to demonstrate why Christmas most certainly isn’t a time for the estate agency world to pack up until the New Year.
More and more agents are starting to do similarly but, in order to shift the perception that selling a house at Christmas is a no-no, many more in the industry need to promote the opportunities that present themselves at this time of year.
On which note, I shall wish you all a very happy (and busy!) festive period!
*Chris Chapman is managing director of Andrews Estate Agency