Is July 1st the best day to sell your home? Not in Scotland

When it comes to selling your home quickly and profitably, is it all about timing?

I read this week a study that stated the best day of the year to put your property on the market is 1st of July.

1 July might not be the optimum date for sellers in Scotland1 July might not be the optimum date for sellers in Scotland
1 July might not be the optimum date for sellers in Scotland | xtock - stock.adobe.com

Developer St Modwen Homes analysed data to pinpoint the best season for sellers, revealing that last year the first day of July was the day when online searches for a new home peaked.

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That may be true of the UK as a whole, but I doubt it is the case in Scotland.

Schools North of the Border break up at the end of June and anyone with school-aged children, and financial sense, tends to try to take their annual holiday abroad in those two relatively inexpensive and quiet weeks.

If you add in the Glasgow Fair fortnight and the Edinburgh Trades fortnight, both held in July, when traditionally businesses shut down as everyone took the same two weeks’ break - still practiced by some industries - July can be a month when our cities feel like they have been emptied out.

It is the reason John Swinney protested the date of the General Election, but while you can submit a postal vote if you’ve got a jaunt abroad booked, you are unable to view a new home while sunning yourself, so sellers looking to attract the maximum bids might want to avoid the peak holiday season.

But the election does raise other issues for those about to move. Property platform Zoopla predicted that the announcement of the vote was likely to stall the pace at which home sales are being agreed to in the coming weeks.

Most buyers who are close to completing on a house will ideally want to push through and agree a sale now, according to Zoopla. Those who are earlier in the process, however, may look to delay decisions until after the election is over.

And there will also be buyers looking for any assistance that a new government could offer.

If you are a first time buyer, for instance, you might prick up your ears to talk of the return of Help to Buy schemes, and hold off putting in an offer in the meantime.

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Other would-be buyers might be more focused on the football in France in the next couple of weeks, rather than looking for a home too. Major events, and this year we have the Olympics too, tend to slow the number of bookings to view.

In any year, there will be regional differences for the best time for your home to go on the market too.

Anyone who has a house with difficulties of access in inclement weather, perhaps with a private drive, will want to avoid January and February, when ice and snow might restrict your viewers’ path. 

Spring is said to be the ideal time to have exterior brochure pictures taken, but trying to gauge exactly when the garden will be looking its best, and avoid an onslaught of heavy rain or high winds can be a fool’s errand in the Scottish climate.

Estate agents report that in the last few years the market has moved from having peak selling times of Spring and Autumn, to more year-round activity, but certainly a deadline such as the start of a new school year in August, or wanting to be in by Christmas, can hurry bids along, if timed right. 

My one piece of solid advice, riven from bitter experience, is never market a home on the West Coast in summer, unless you want to sell to locals only. From October to mid-May, you can get away with presenting the location as utterly idyllic to anyone from elsewhere.

But in a warm muggy summer, a cloud of midges will drive viewers from your door, faster than a leaking roof.

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