Winter is traditionally regarded as not being the best time to put a property on the market, with many people choosing to wait until the spring arrives the following year. Conventional wisdom has it that if you put your property on the market in late autumn or winter, there might be little or no interest until the weather improves and people begin to venture outside again. However, in our experience this absolutely isn’t the case and the facts and figures speak for themselves! Here’s why winter is a GREAT time to be selling a property as well as our Top Ten Tips for how to make your home stand out from the crowd during the Winter…
If You Think Winter is Not a Great Time to Sell, Here Are Some Perhaps Surprising Facts About Selling Property in Winter
At the beginning of this year (2013) we sold the same amount of properties in January as we did in April, which is traditionally seen as being a stronger time of year for property sales. In Spring (February to June 2013), the number of properties that we sold compared to the number of new properties coming to the market was 72%: in other words we sold 72% of the total number that we brought to the market in that period. Compare that with Winter of 2012-13 (September 2012 to January 2013) where sales compared to new properties listed was 137%. This just goes to show that properties do indeed sell in the winter months!
If these figures are surprising, consider that most property buyers tend to don’t to move home on a whim or impulse: there is usually a good reason driving them to move. That reason could be relocation for work, an expanding family, or separation. As a result, they don’t simply give up needing to move at the end of September and take a break until the next Spring!
However, with less people putting their properties on the market in this period because of the received wisdom about the best times of year to sell, there are less properties for them to choose from. Simply rules of supply and demand mean that the level of interest in the stock that does remain on the market increases the chances of those properties selling.
Even then, not every property on the market sells during this period: though it did feel like they did last year when we had a fully-staffed office negotiating offers on Christmas Eve and had to cancel our usual early-closing! So, if you want to make sure that your property is one of the ones that does sell in that period, here are some simple tips to make your stand out from the crowd! Of course, if you have any other questions, just give us a call or drop us a line.
Top Ten Tips For Selling Your Property in Winter
1. If you want to sell but your property isn’t on the market just yet, don’t delay! By getting it to the market as soon as possible you’ll be able to take advantage of active buyers still looking and a dwindling amount of properties coming to market. Less competition means you’re more likely to receive an offer on your property.
2. Be realistic on price. Even though the balance of supply and demand is in your favour it’s still a buyer’s market and you want to make your property as attractive to buyers as possible. It’s also worth remembering that any offer is good, even if it’s not the price you want, as it begins a conversation between you and your buyer. Your agent will be able to advise you further on pricing structure.
3. Create a warm, cosy environment for buyers when they come to view. If the weather is chilly ensure that the heaters are on an hour before anyone come round.
4. Keep your property looking as bright as possible: there is a difference between cozy-and-well-lit and a-wee-bit-gloomy. If your property looks best in natural lighting conditions, do what you can to conduct all viewings during daylight hours. If you are doing viewings in the evenings, get centre lights and also table lamps and uplighters on. Energy saving bulbs are a great way to save money and the environment but remember that they can take quite a while to warm up to their full potential. If you have energy-saving lights, switch the lights on in each room a few minutes before your buyers arrive.
5. Do not underestimate the power of a good clean! Elbow grease and a tidy up can go a long way to making any property far more attractive. This is a great time to clean any curtains you have as it’s likely they’ll be shut if you have an evening viewer.
6. Likewise do not neglect any outdoor space you may have. Get the garden winter-ready by deadheading old flowers and giving the lawn a final mow. Consider investing in some evergreen or winter flowering plants to add a splash of colour. It’s still possible to get some late sunshine at this time of year and a buyer could make the most of outdoor space with a well-placed patio heater.
7. Christmas is just around the corner and with it come decorations and presents! Remember that you want to create the illusion of as much space as possible so avoid putting too many things on surfaces. Christmas cards can be hung on string and attached to walls or doors and if you want to put presents under the tree remember to keep them as tidy as possible.
8. Once the Christmas period has come and gone, try to return the property to normality as quickly as possible. Put new toys away and throw boxes and wrapping paper away, so that your property is viewer-ready at a moment’s notice. Remember that many buyers will be on annual leave over the festive period and will have more time for viewings.
9. If you’ve got family staying with you over the festive period explain to them that you may need their co-operation if you have viewers round. Ask them to ensure that they leave their guest room and the other rooms in the house tidy and remember that, the more people who are in the house, the smaller it will feel: perhaps a good time to send the family out to find a nice bottle of mulled wine from the local supermarket!
10. If your exterior photographs were taken in the winter months and the property is still on the market at the turn of the year, arrange a re-shoot with your agent’s photographer, hopefully to include some blue skies and greenery and at the very least without snow on the roof! Snow obviously dates the time that the property came to the market, suggesting to potential buyers in Spring that the property has been on the market for a while. We’re giving away a free exterior re-shoot to all clients who come on the market with us throughout the winter period with that in mind.
If you follow these tips, make your property as welcoming as possible and remember that buyers are still out in force throughout the winter, you will stand the very best chance of selling your property for the very best price!