There is no denying, it can be harder to sell your home in the Winter months. We have less day light hours and the worst of the weather to contend with, so viewing opportunities are limited, not to mention the distraction of Christmas. Read on for tips and advice on how to maximise your opportunities this Winter...
Buyers are out there and they do not stop looking just because Winter is coming… however, you will have to work a little harder in terms of presenting your property both for photographs and for viewings. The buyers that are looking this time of year, are serious and committed so if you can attract them, you have a better chance of a sale. Remember too that the supply of homes coming onto the market dwindles in Winter, especially in the run up to Christmas, so there is a little less competition for you if you are selling. My tips and advice to sellers . . .
External appearances . . .We lose the light and it can be really hard getting bright sunny photos in the winter. But if you feel your photos are dull, get them re-done on a bright Winter’s day because it will make a difference.
Garden . . .No-one’s garden is going to look great in December or January but the garden can look tidy. Make sure you check it weekly for rubbish blowing in, branches coming down. Empty tubs and planters with dead flowers in and consider some Winter pots with conifers.
Maintenance . . .If you have a leaky gutter, chances are your viewers will spot it in the Winter so get those outstanding maintenance jobs done. A small water leak in October can lead to a big repair job by December if it isn’t nipped in the bud.
Evening viewings . . .I never recommend viewing a house in the dark. It can be difficult in Winter as weekends can be precious but try and make time for weekend viewings. No point saying if you like it you can come back in the daylight, it should be the other way around – you want all your plus points on show for the first viewing.
Warm & cosy . . .Please put the heating on! If viewers feel comfortable, they will like the house better. If it feels cold and damp, they will not want to spend as much time there. Better still, if you have a fire – put that on too.
Lights on . . .It goes without saying, you want to make the house welcoming so make sure the lights are on for viewings. Put them on before you enter the rooms, as low energy bulbs can take a minute of two to power up. If you have spots out and bulbs gone, get them fixed as little signs of neglect will lead viewers to thinking more serious neglect may be lurking. Don’t forget to draw the curtains, let in as much natural light as you can.
Pricing . . .Winter is not a time to test the market. If you have been pushing your luck with a higher price then now is the time to review your pricing strategy. Remember there are fewer buyers out there and maybe you have been overlooked because of pricing. If you adjust your price you could catch a buyer in the Winter and be moving by Spring.
Welcome . . . Have you got a door mat? Never be afraid to ask people to take off their shoes and boots when they are coming into your home wet and muddy. But make them welcome, offer them a mat to wipe their feet, offer to take their coats and have somewhere to hang them up. If we have snow, then clear a path to your front door and make it easier for people to approach.
Empty homes . . . Empty homes are harder to present in Winter because often you simply cannot do some of the above points. If the house is left empty over Winter you may have to drain it down and leave the heating off (do this to avoid bursts) other than pay to keep it on continuously. Empty homes can be prone to damp and maintenance issues in the bad weather and can go unchecked if they are not getting regular viewings. This is another reason you have to get the price right. An empty house does not improve over Winter, quite often it can deteriorate so better to adjust the price in October/November and secure that sale.
And buyers . . . you can expect to find motivated sellers in Winter, so don’t stay home – get out and view what is on offer, maybe look again at something you have passed by.