It’s a common question we often get asked during the winter months, “surely this isn’t the best time to list our property for sale?”. Summer and spring, when the leaves are back on the trees and gardens are in full bloom, have traditionally been known as the ideal times to list your property. But if everyone follows suit, are you missing a market opportunity in the months when new property listings are not in their prime? Those who are looking for a property to buy during the winter months especially, tend to be focused on securing a property and extremely motivated. In January, the Christmas festivities are behind us, and buyers and sellers alike have decided on a new year, a new property. Perhaps a new job takes buyers and sellers to new locations. Some of our best deals have happened at the start of the year.
So when the days are shorter, the sun doesn’t make as much of an appearance as most of us would like, and we are wrapped in a number of coats, how does one make their property stand out from the crowd and shine through?
A wonderfully warm welcome
Whether the property is occupied or not, try to keep the heating on low. Stepping in from the cold into a warm house makes all the difference; allowing buyers to take their coats and scarves off so they feel more relaxed and “at home” in their potential new house! Do have a quick check of all the light bulbs throughout the house to make sure lights work. Cosy lamps and well lit rooms, with fires lit if possible, can make all the difference to a welcoming feeling on a cold and damp January day!
Timing is everything
Decreased daylight over the winter months minimises the times that buyers are able to view your property, thus be prepared to be a little flexible. If the light is fading, buyers may well wish to come back on another day to see your home in all its glory in daylight. Do try and be flexible and allow buyers to come back at the weekend for example, if they are struggling for daylight in the week. Everyone hopes for a sunny day, but these can be few and far between. Don’t be put off if the weather is atrocious – we do live in the UK after all so it’s unlikely a buyer wouldn’t buy your home because of the weather on that day!
A “New Year Spring Clean”
Take time before you put your house on the market to fix any superficial cracks/settling cracks in plaster, minor damp patches or marks on walls, floors or ceilings. These minor things are typically inexpensive to resolve, but buyers will notice them and inevitably be wary and ask questions, despite whether you fixed the issue a few years ago, or there is no issue. First impressions count!
It’s still a competitive market!
As with any time of the year when selling your house in today’s market, it’s important to be pragmatic with the guide price. Many buyers looking in January or February tend to be serious buyers who naturally want to make a purchase relatively quickly. There is no need to undervalue your home, but do keep in mind in a buyers’ market, a perception of value by potential purchasers is key for maximising the potential of your property and it’s sale price.