Tips for selling your home in winter

Many homeowners believe that winter is a bad time to market a property, but the upside is that with fewer homes on the market, the effect of a stock shortage is felt even more by buyers in general, and this is always to a seller’s advantage, says Mike Greeff, chief executive of Greeff Properties an affiliate of Christie’s International Real Estates.

“It’s a mistake to discount winter as a selling season – in fact our revenue figures indicate that July and August have resulted in our best performance over the past three to five years,” says Greeff.

“Although the current stock shortage in many areas does increase buyer competition, sellers are still likely to fare better and achieve their listing prices or close to, if a property is well maintained and neat. The property should ideally be in a state of good enough repair to make it immediately habitable.”

He says sellers should organise a thorough inspection of the building, preferably with the aid of a building contractor who is a member of the Master Builders Association, to assess any damage or shortcomings with a view to repairing any faults.

Greeff suggests making use of the following checklist before you put your home on the market, particularly during the winter months.

Check that gutters are parallel to the roof edge and not sagging. Clear out leaves and branches, especially during autumn, and ensure that downpipes are clear of blockages and draining properly.

Scan for damp marks on ceilings which, like bubbling and blistering paint, are indications of roof leaks. Above floor level, crystallisation and or mould are signs of rising damp.

Window frames should be in a good state of repair and regularly varnished, as rotting and split wood will be a source of leaks. Loose or creaky timber floors are often a sign that a structural weakness is present.

“A fresh coat of paint and new carpets or flooring add instant appeal to any home and this cost should always be factored into any preselling budget,” says Greeff.

“Windows should be cleaned from inside and out.

“Ideally, when selling, you need to create the impression of a clean blank canvas that buyers can imagine putting their personal imprint on.”

“A home being marketed in winter should ideally be fitted with a functional fireplace, so ensure that your fireplace is filled with fresh wood and perhaps pine cones. A retro-fitted gas fireplace is a good investment and not too expensive either,” says Greeff.

“It’s also a good idea to convert any spare rooms into bedrooms as additional bedrooms are always perceived as adding value,” says Greeff.

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