ESTATE AGENT KERRY BARNHAM’S TOP TIPS FOR SELLING YOUR HOUSE IN WINTER
It may not seem like the perfect time, but moving house is often prioritised in the New Year, so you might be surprised by the strength of demand come January and February. Property websites are often extremely well-visited over the Christmas break, and the winter cold will sift out the more uncertain buyers on your behalf. Solicitors, conveyancers, and agents are often busier during the warmer months, delaying house moves and sales – this is much less of a problem in winter – and, no matter the season, people will always be looking to buy a home. And with fewer properties on the market, there is less competition.
Though your Christmas tree may still be adorning the corner of the sitting room and the length of winter days may not feel ideal for flattering natural light, the time to put your property on the market has never been better.
Here are a few tips to make sure your home is at its best, whatever the weather.
Make sure it’s warm.
If you are out at work all day, pre-set the heating to come on ahead of the scheduled visit. Prospective buyers will want to know that your central heating works well, as well as feeling comfortable. If you don’t normally have the radiators turned on upstairs, or in any spare rooms, you may want to turn them up while you sell your home. The contrast between the outside climate and the inside warmth will make your property feel much cosier and welcoming, too, which is always worth some bonus points – you want it to feel like home from the moment potential buyers step through the front door, after all.
Gardens can often be a bit messy at this time of year. Make sure that the front garden in particular is neat and tidy, with the leaves raked up and the edges of any grass trimmed neatly. Try to clear any moss off the path, and add a couple of pots with brightly coloured, winter bedding plants by the front door. Even a new doormat or a freshly-painted front door can make the front of your house more welcoming and convincing. First impressions really matter.
A messy garden can detract buyers. Winter weather can tire garden furniture, and make it look unsightly. If possible, clear patio furniture away, or at least ensure they are securely covered. It’s worth spending a few hours trimming bushes, mowing the lawn, and removing fallen leaves and dead plants to make a tidy outdoor space. It is also a good idea to trim back overhanging branches, particularly those blocking the windows in order to encourage as much light into the property as possible. Increased rainfall over the winter months take its toll on guttering too, so check the gutters and drain covers are properly cleared of dead leaves and other debris, as leaky gutters and downpipes cause damage and are unappealing.
Good lighting will be essential on a drab day, so make sure all your lights are working. Adding some lamps into dark corners and turning them on before the viewing will help. It is best if the viewing can take place in daylight, but if a potential buyer is coming in the evening or at dusk, make sure the porch light or outside light is working.
Though the ‘sterile’ approach works great in the summer, adding personal touches to make rooms can add to the comfort and cosiness of the atmosphere that many buyers crave. Do feel free to decorate your house for Christmas or other festivals, but don’t forget the golden rule to avoid clutter. A twinkling Christmas tree will be attractive, but try not to make the room feel smaller by squeezing too much in. Temporarily moving a piece of furniture into a shed or a neighbour’s garage may solve the problem.
On that note, if you had a chance to photograph your home during the summer, demonstrating how well it adapts to the seasons can shine a unique light on its assets.
When selling your home, the time you put your house on the market will impact how long it takes to find a buyer, as well as the final price agreement you reach. If you have decided that this is the year to sell your property, keep in mind the type of property it falls under, the individual variations of your local market, and the amount of competing sellers – these factors, among others, will influence the process.
“From start to finish Prestige & Village were excellent. Not only a really a brilliant conduit between myself, solicitors and seller but they went over and above helping me with the transaction and move.” Mr. F. Akehurst, buyer.