Q: We are moving overseas and have to sell before we go, which means we will be selling in winter. Our agent says it won’t make any difference but we’re not so sure. What are your thoughts?
A: Although the market is typically a little slower during the cooler and wetter months, there are plenty of advantages to selling during winter. Serious buyers will be on the lookout for property regardless of the time of year, and you will almost certainly find that there are fewer homes for sale, therefore less competition, so definitely a chance to get a premium price. However you need to make sure your house looks its best, so here’s a few things you can do to maximise your property’s potential for a winter sale:
First impressions count
The first thing a potential buyer will see is the exterior of your home, so it’s important it makes a positive impression – particularly during the winter months. Get a house-washing company to thoroughly clean any pathways or courtyard areas, and tidy up foliage and dead plants. It’s also worth giving your front door and any window frames a lick of paint prior to inspection.
Light it up
The winter months can be gloomy, so try to make the most of both artificial and natural light. Choose open-house times that will maximise the natural light within your home, open the curtains or blinds and make sure your windows are clean. Turn on all the ceiling lights and lamps and use mirrors to reflect light into dingy corners.
Feels like home
Entice potential buyers with simple winter property styling tricks such as cushions, rugs and throws to create a warm, inviting atmosphere. Consider adding a few personal touches such as freshly cut flowers to brighten up the space. Make sure the house isn’t too cold (if you have a fire or heater – use it!) wipe down condensation and keep the property well ventilated. It may be worth investing in a small dehumidifier that can be moved around the home (but don’t leave it out for open homes).
It’s all in the detail
Now is the time to make sure absolutely everything is in working order, from light fittings through to leaking roof tiles and gutters, which can cause havoc on wet winter days. Give the house a thorough clean and get rid of any dust or cobwebs. Vacuum daily, empty out the bins and polish up all surfaces.
As we said before, you can still get a premium price in winter.