Let me say, first of all, that my opinion on this is based on what I have seen happening in the property market over several years. Let me also say that, whether you want to put your property on the market now or in Spring, if it is well marketed and correctly priced, it will sell. The question here is not whether, if you put your property on the market in January rather than April, or vice versa, you have made a mistake. The question is rather: if you would be happy to consider putting your property on the market sooner than Spring, is this going to be a bad decision?
The perceived wisdom seems to be that Spring is the best time of year to sell a property. It makes some sense: longer days, better weather, properties look nicer in daylight…don’t they?
Well, having said that, does your home ever feel more welcoming than when it’s warmly-lit, well-heated and cozy in the winter?
Hmmm…both good arguments. So, which is right?
My view is that your likelihood of a sale, and of getting a good price, at ANY time of year, depends hugely on the number of buyers in a marketplace versus the number of properties that they have to choose from. So, wait till Spring or go to the market now? Well, we’re selling more about double the number of properties at the moment compared to the number that we are putting on the market. Why? Because there’s not much new stuff on the market but there’s just the same number of buyers out there in the marketplace as there was a couple of months ago. I haven’t ever seen any compelling evidence to support the idea that buyers are keener to find a property in Spring.
I am also a fan of the theory that the best time to do anything is often NOW because you have no idea what might happen tomorrow. Anyone who sold their property in 2006 only to see property prices go up by 10% in 2007 might disagree with this theory. However, anyone who waited a further year and then sold their property in 2008 at a level 10% lower than in 2007 would probably agree. We hear daily at the moment about the problems in the Eurozone, of economic troubles in the UK, of companies going out of business and people losing jobs. Of course none of this might have a negative effect on the housing market in Scotland. But then, of course, it might. You absolutely never know but, put it this way, I don’t see any of these factors having a POSITIVE influence on the housing market in the coming months.
So does this mean that now is good time to sell your property and that you shouldn’t wait till Spring to sell? I’d argue that, YES, now IS a good time to sell. If perceived wisdom is that it’s best to wait till Spring, your property will be competing with that of every other person who has that view.
I’d also suggest asking yourself, honestly: does my property REALLY look or feel better under natural light or when the weather outside is warmer? I’d suggest that many properties are at their BEST at this time of year: many properties feel warmer, snugger and cozier and often look their best under incandescent light rather than natural light. Obviously this might not apply to your property, particularly where its largest selling feature is the amount of light that it, or its garden, catches in the late afternoon or evening. However, for many houses it is the case and, for what it’s worth, I bought the house that I currently live in at the end of November 2005: I didn’t get quite the same feeling about the property when I took ownership in March 2006. Of course, every property is individual and you need to play to its strengths.
I need to stress that I’m not saying that it’s a particularly BAD idea to wait till Spring. I’m just saying that, if you’re thinking of waiting because it’s FUNDAMENTALLY a better time to sell, there are other ways of looking at it and, in many cases, I believe that now is just as good a time to sell as in the springtime, if not better.
The last thing to consider is: what’s the worst that can happen if you put your property on the market right now and someone releases statistics in March showing that buyer numbers are drastically up in Spring after you’ve been on the market for a couple of months? Well, a property that goes on the market now will still be on the market in Spring. Indeed, the average sale time for a property in Scotland is around 4 months at the moment regardless of the time of year that it goes on the market. Some people will say that it then loses its ‘new’ tag and will be less attractive to property buyers. However, I’d say that if buyers are truly motivated and keen to buy rather than browse, they won’t miss it or overlook it just because it’s not got a ‘New to the Market’ tag on the internet advert.
So, in conclusion, I think that now is just as good, if not a better, time to put your property on the market than Spring is. But I’m interested in what you all think, so please do leave your Comments in the section below this post!
If you have any more questions about timing of going to market or about the marketing of your property, please just drop us a line and either I, or one of our expert Valuation Team, will happily give you all the advice that you would like. Speak to you next month!