The standard response when you’re thinking about selling your home but are not sure when, is “sell in spring”. And there’s plenty of truth in that as warmer, drier weather and post-winter itchy feet drive potential buyers out to open homes.
But life doesn’t stop for winter. People still need to move, whether it be for new jobs, for family reasons or just those itchy feet, no matter what the season, and there are some distinct positives to selling your property in winter.
For a start, there’s a lot of people who stick to the “list in spring” rule, which means you have less competition from other sellers in the market at the same time.
And while there does tend to be slightly fewer buyers in the market, those that are making the effort to get out and about house shopping at open homes on cold, wet days tend to be more focused and motivated to buy.
As always, presentation and pricing are the key to a quick sale, but what are the specific keys to presenting your property in the best light during the cooler months?
- If you have a fireplace, make sure it is stocked with firewood, has a clean chimney and is crackling away at inspection time. Light it ahead of time, so the room is at a cosy temperature. If you have air-conditioning, crank up the heat so the visitors can experience your home as a warm haven. Portable heaters can pre-heat a room, but should be packed away before the visitors arrive.
- Because all windows are typically shut for extended periods, sometimes in winter a home can get musty or left with residual cooking smells. Pick a time before inspection to open the windows and maybe turn on ceiling fans, and allow some fresh air in. Leave enough time to warm things up again before the open house.
- Check curtains and walls for any signs of mildew.
- Make sure rooms feel light and bright by pulling up blinds and pulling back curtains from windows.
- Consider investing in a dehumidifier if your home feels damp. Have it running in different rooms around the house for a few days ahead of open homes.
- To create a warm feel, position winter essentials such as blankets, duvets, pillows and quilts tastefully and appropriate throughout your home.
- Choose your open homes to coincide with the best light and sun, for example, east-facing windows may attract a lot of light in the morning. Ensure all your windows are as clean as possible to allow maximum light.
- Your garden may be a little duller during winter, so consider adding winter pots of colour to brighten things up. Also, take the time to strip the moss off pathways and other garden surfaces such as pots and walls and trim back any overhanging evergreen plants that can make areas of the garden feel gloomy and damp.
- If it’s been a particularly cold or wet snap do a thorough check for any icy or slippery areas around the section.
To understand the best time to sell, look at market conditions rather than the weather report. As your Harcourts sales consultant will tell you, focus on the market and your ability to present your home to potential sellers, no matter where the mercury is sitting in the temperature gauge.