It’s not too late to buy before Christmas

The silly season is almost upon us and the shops are full of festive decorations. There’s only a handful of weeks left before Christmas and so many buyers have given up on their thoughts of buying a home or investment property in 2019. But all is not lost, there is still time and it could actually be the best time to be buying, not the worst.

Most property advertising and marketing campaigns run for 4-5 weeks and so if the property hasn’t been listed on a portal yet, it’s true, there isn’t much chance of many being listed between now and the new year.

A typical property settlement is 42 days from exchange of contract and so if you’re planning on moving in this year, I wouldn’t be setting your hopes too high as it’s probably not going to be happening.

However, if you are still wanting to find a property, then I would keep your energy up and this is often the best time to be looking as many of the other buyers will already have given up, leaving a door open for you.

Concentrate on the current listings – whilst auction clearance rates are significantly higher than last year, they’re still not 100% and so there’s no guarantee of a property selling. If owners do need to sell, they’ll be hesitant about leaving it to the last minute and more likely to take a pre-auction offer as they know that if the auction campaign fails, they’ll only have a few more days to negotiate a deal before the market closes.

Go to every auction – Owners with properties that don’t sell at auction will be under massive pressure to negotiate a deal either that day or in the days following. Being the highest bidder will give you the first chance to negotiate and even if you’re not, make sure the agent knows that you’re still interested and willing to make a further offer.

Agents want to go on holidays – Real estate agents work hard and they look forward to a good 6 weeks off if they can from mid-December to Australia Day and so they’re very keen to sell off their final listings of the year as that means they can have more time with their families. If the property you want to buy is the last listing they need to sell, work on their emotions as you put in your offer.

Deals still happen on Christmas Eve – Whilst most deals will be done and dusted by mid-December, not everything will have sold. Many buyers will have already disappeared off on holidays and that creates an opportunity for those that are still around. Check in with your solicitor or conveyancer to make sure they will still be around and happy to take a last-minute call.

Try and pick up a 2020 listing in 2019 – Agents are still listing properties now and are advising their clients to wait till early next year to start the advertising and marketing campaign to give it the best chance of selling. However, they still maybe open for offers and get some extra revenue into this year. As you go around the open homes, ask them what’s coming up and who might be open to an early guaranteed deal

Not all agents go on holiday – The earliest deal I’ve ever done was in the first week of January as not all agents go on holiday and not all vendors wait to make sure all the buyers are back from holiday. Some like to get an early start to the New Year as whilst there may not be lots of buyers, there’s also not many competing properties and so the odds of success might actually be higher.

Consider using a professional to help you – Buyers agents often have very good working relationships with sales agents and have often done many deals together over the last decade or two. They are used to getting off market deals that often aren’t advertisied to the public. This could make it the perfect time to avail of their services and could make the difference between securing a property now versus waiting another 3 – 4 months until the market is back in full force.

If a vendor doesn’t sell in Nov/Dec 2019, chances are, they’ll often be waiting till after Australia Day to re-list the property (end Jan) to get the most exposure. Then they will have another 4-5-week campaign (end Feb) and then 42 days to settle and so they won’t be seeing any cash until mid-April. This makes it a massive incentive to do a deal in the next few weeks and so make sure you don’t miss out.