Is Winter a good time to sell?
Have you got the winter blues about selling your home? Before you take the ‘For Sale’ sign down, read what some property experts have to say.
The bleak mid-winter can be a tough time to sell, especially in the run-up to Christmas when people are more focused on buying presents than house hunting. But some agents argue with less competition and more buyers surfing the internet for properties during the festive season, it can be a great time to put your home on the market. Price and presentation are key.
Ben Stream, of Bishops estate agents in Hampshire, says: “Traditionally, winter is a tougher time to sell but you never know because there is always someone who is looking to move. Some people may think it is a good time to get a bargain.
“We put a four-bedroom detached house on the market at the end of November and it was sold within a week. The seller was realistic about the price and motivated as she had found another house to buy. It is a buyers’ market, so you have to be realistic about pricing if you want to sell.”
There is plenty of interest out there in the dark, winter months. Rightmove had its busiest-ever days last Christmas Day and Boxing Day with page views at record levels.
Gary Marples, of Stevens Estate Agents in Henfield, Sussex, finds the market is less seasonal now. “Usually, December can be a quiet month while January is busy. It is usually a case of the Christmas tree comes down, the ‘For Sale’ sign goes up.
“Bizarrely, December is proving to be quite a busy month this year and I don’t quite know the reasons why. It is a very price-sensitive market. If sellers perceive a property is over-priced rather than view it and make an offer, they aren’t viewing it.”
Jo Bennett of Southdown Property Solutions in Midhurst, Sussex, said: “If you have a lovely property it will sell, whatever the season, it will walk out the door. There are types of properties that are always in demand.”
The estate agent is poised to put two new properties on the market on December 23 “as the Christmas period is one of the busiest times for people searching for properties on the internet.”
She said: “Don’t leave it until spring when the market is maybe more saturated. If there are fewer homes for sale, there is less competition.”
Paul Preen, of Lang, Town and Country in Plymouth, agrees there is no need to delay. “People can beat the spring rush and get in before everyone else does.”
Ten top tips to selling your house in winter
Keep the price realistic.
As with any time of the year, buyers are price-savvy. “Buyers are not stupid. If they think a house is over-priced it won’t sell, and they will wait for a price reduction,” said Mr Marples.
Deck the halls
A wreath on the front door can create a welcoming feel and be a positive advantage to selling at this time of the year. But go easy on the tinsel and inflatable snowmen as they are not to everyone’s taste.
If there are Christmas decorations in the photos, get them retaken as soon as the festive season is over. Old seasonal photos will show “the property has been on the market for a while,” said Ms Bennett.
Keep heating on
“If you are showing someone around the house you want it to be warm and not so freezing you can see your breath,” said Ms Bennett. Make sure the heating is on for a few hours before a viewing, especially if the property is empty.
An open fireplace can be a selling point, so if you have one make sure the log burner or open fire is lit for photos and viewings. Drape sofas and beds with blanket and quilts for a super-cosy feel.
Keep on top of maintenance
Mend any leaky gutters and keep them clear of leaves so rain doesn’t cause problems like damp or mould.
Let there be light
In the dark winter months, lighting is essential. An attractive porch light can boost your home’s kerb appeal. Inside the property, use table lamps to brighten rooms.
Grass should be cut and free of leaves. Paths swept clean and patios scrubbed or pressure-hosed. It may be an idea to leave outdoor furniture uncovered so buyers can see how the external space is used.
Clean your carpets
if necessary. Winter is a time when mud can be tracked into the house. Have a strict rule about boots and shoes coming off at the front door. Be aware of any doggy odours.
Colourful flowers can be found in winter too. Brighten up your front door or patio with pots of pansies or cyclamen.