“Possibly the best date to put in an offer in the whole year is the 15th December,” says Nick Wooldridge of Stacks Property Search. The vendors will be staring down the barrel of a potential three months of non-activity and are likely to welcome an offer that may have sounded aggressive in September. And it leaves just enough time for everyone to instruct solicitors before they disappear for the Christmas break.
“But even if you don’t make an offer this side of Christmas, the dark days of winter are good property hunting days.”
- There is softer competition as less hardy types take time off from the hunt
- You will get first look at ‘soft’ launches – property that’s due to be properly launched in the new year, but that agents already know about and will show you
- Your commitment will mean that agents put you top of their list for the New Year
- If you like a property in the gloomy days of December, you’ll love it in the spring and summer
- You will see many of a property’s faults – bare trees will reveal local eyesores; dark houses will be very dark; badly insulated houses will be cold, draughty and condensation will be streaming down the windows. This is warts and all property viewing at its most hard core.
“Our best advice for winter property viewing:
- Choose your viewing time wisely, factoring in the limited daylight hours you have available to you. There’s little point viewing a property in the dark.
- Take warm clothes, wellies and brolly – you don’t want the cold and wet to prevent you from having a really good look outside, not just at the garden, the surroundings and the view, but at the fabric of the property itself.
- Without the benefit of the sun, you’ll need a compass to establish the aspect, and check what trees and buildings will obscure the sun at various zeniths when it reappears next spring.
- Check the state of the plot. At this time of year you should get a fair indication if there’s a tendency to waterlogging or flooding in the garden, grounds and land.
- Wear your best socks – vendors may expect you to remove your shoes!
- Once inside, ask the agent or vendor to turn out all the lights (they will have been instructed to turn them all on!) so you can establish how much natural light the property gets. And check whether the heating’s turned up to the max – it may feel warm and cosy, but at what cost?
Stacks Property Search & Acquisition