Chain-free houses you could be living in by Christmas
Anybody house-hunting over the last few weeks has almost certainly been dreaming of being in the new place by Christmas.
Whether you're dreaming of a grand pile where you can entertain the whole family - or a little bolt-hole to escape them all - the festive period is the deadline for many.
Unfortunately, though, it tends to take an average of 65 days to sell a property at this time of year, according to estate agent comparison website EstateAgent4Me.
In other words, unless you get a move on, the chances are that you've missed the boat.
However, one way to speed up the process is to buy a place that's chain free. From auction properties to new-builds, we look at seven properties where you could be waiting for Santa this year.
Knightsbridge, London SW1
Christmas will be a very grand affair if you buy this chain free penthouse apartment in the building next door to to One Hyde Park. On the eighth floor, it has three bedrooms and a huge open plan reception room with wonderful views of Hyde Park. Newly renovated and within an attractive period block, it's kitted out with a very high quality finish. But with a price tag of just under £9.5 million, you might not have much left over for pressies. Contact Property Inside London for more details.
Haworth, West Yorkshire
In the heart of Bronte country, this six-bed house has beautiful views and is built of random stone under a pitch slate roof, with stone-flagged sun terraces. The former show home of this new development, it has a large kitchen/diner and a 22-foot living room. There's external disabled access to the lower ground floor and south-facing gardens. It's priced to attract early attention, say agents Hunters, at £325,000.
Drayton Beauchamp, Buckinghamshire
It's easy to imagine Christmas dinner in the enormous living/dining space of this four-bedroom barn conversion - and with no onward chain, there's every chance of moving in within weeks. There's a lovely kitchen with a double oven big enough for even the largest Christmas dinner, and beams all over the place. Outside the back door, there's a small lake in the large gardens; agents Hamptons International are looking for offers over £1.1 million.
One way to guarantee that a property is chain-free is to buy it at auction, and this three-bedroom detached home could be yours within a couple of months. The chalet-style building has a very festive look to it, and is surrounded by conifers. It's up for sale by conditional auction with a starting bid of £180,000 plus reservation fee; contact agents Your Move for more information.
Built just three years ago, this brick-and-tile built home has no onward chain and is in beautiful condition. There's a stunning modern kitchen/family room with bi-fold doors onto the garden. It has a central entertainment hub for all those Christmas movies, and under floor heating on the ground floor. Two of the four bedrooms have en suites. It costs £900,000 through agent Capital Sidcup.
Port Erin, Isle of Man
If you're really serious about having Christmas in your new home, you'll appreciate that this place comes fully furnished - all you'll need to do is turn up with the gifts. With no onward chain, Beachcombers Cottage has three bedrooms plus an attic room, with two receptions, and has a tiny but pretty courtyard at the back. It's in the middle of town, and just yards from the beach; it costs £219,995 through Chrystals Estate Agents.
Matlock Bath, Derbyshire
Of course, one reason a home may be chain free is because there's nobody living there - and sometimes that's because nobody really can. But once this glorious eight-bedroom Georgian house is renovated, it could make amazing apartments or even a large family home. It's currently set up as seven bedsits and has a decidedly dingy feel, and there's only a small garden at the rear. But a bit of work could restore it to its former glory. It's priced at a rock-bottom £250,000 through agent Century 21 Graham Penny.