The season to sell?

Many people presume that the end of the year is not a great time to put your home on the market... right? Wrong, says Gerhard Kotzé, CEO of the ERA South Africa real estate group.

The fact is, it’s an excellent time to do so on the basis that many buyers, notably those in senior positions, prefer to take their annual holidays before Christmas or after New Year to avoid the Christmas rush.

Accordingly, they spend the peak Christmas period at home and what's more they are free of the normal pressures of business and have more time to househunt, says Kotze.

"These are genuine buyers who are in the market at this time of the year and they tend to have real buying power.

"What's more if they turn out for a show day, you may be certain that they are serious buyers as opposed to curious ‘sight-seers’.

"December is a very popular month to buy property in Johannesburg," says Neville Brits of RE/MAX, "there are three kinds of buyers here; people who buy for love, people who buy for investment and people who are prestige buyers. The latter buy all year round, the ‘investors’ tend to buy during the winter months and the ‘love’ buyers favour December through to May."

Brits points out that this is also when gardens are at their best in Johannesburg and this is a big motivating factor for the dream-home buyer.

Processing can be quicker

"There are other plus factors. Bank's bond departments are less pressurised and processing of applications is therefore that much faster," says Kotze.

"The mood of buyers is also generally more expansive at this time of the year with the warm weather, and buyers have stronger bank balances courtesy of their 13th cheques.

"Finally, this is the time of year when transfers or job changes take place and house hunting almost invariably takes place. In short, far from being the wrong time of the year to market your home or to househunt for that matter, the holiday period provides an additional window of opportunity."

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