Why you should be selling your home in winter

When it comes to selling a home, many people assume winter is the worst possible time to enter the market. After all, the days are short and cold, gardens are suffering, and damp can be a real issue – it stands to reason that most homes won’t be looking as good as they do in warmer seasons. Contrary to popular belief however, Tony Clarke, Managing Director of the Rawson Property Group, says winter can actually be an excellent time to sell a home.

“When you’re selling a house, you’re competing with other houses that are showing at the same time,” Clarke explains, “not with other houses showing in a warmer, dryer, brighter season. Buyers choose a property by comparison, no matter the season, so while your home might not look as inviting as it does in summer, it only needs to be more inviting than other properties in order to sell well.”

“The good thing about that,” Clarke continues, “is that in winter there tends to be far less competition, so it’s much easier to position your home as the most attractive option – especially if you’re willing to put in a little bit of effort on show days.”

Don’t buyers stop looking for property in winter, you may ask? Doesn’t demand dramatically decrease in colder months, and prices drop accordingly?

“You definitely get fewer window-shoppers,” Clarke admits, “because people are less likely to visit show-houses for fun when it’s cold and rainy, but that can work in your favour, since those who do come are almost guaranteed to be serious buyers. It can actually be quite smart to house-hunt in winter,” he adds, “because if you like a house when it’s cold and dark, you’ll probably love it when it’s bright and sunny. Plus you’ll know exactly how comfortable it is in winter.”

Clarke is also quick to dispel the commonly-accepted myth that properties achieve lower sales prices in winter than they do in summer. “Sales prices have much more to do with demand, availability and the amount of repair or renovation your house might need than they do with the season you happen to be selling in,” he says. “In fact, there have been international studies that have shown properties on sale in winter to sell more quickly – and for higher prices – than similar listing in summer.”

To show your house to its best advantage in winter, and compete effectively against other properties, Clarke recommends a few simple tricks to create a warm and inviting environment.

“Open all your curtains and blinds,” he says, “and turn on a light or two in every room – a bright house is a cheerful house, and that counts twice as much in winter. Running a heater or lighting a fire to take the chill out of the air also helps, as do clean and uncluttered spaces with a few vases of fresh flowers placed here and there to add life and colour. Make sure you put fresh towels in the bathrooms,” he adds, “to avoid damp or musty smells, and clean away any mouldy marks on your tile grout, walls or ceilings.”

As for gardens, Clarke suggests planting winter-blooming flowers a few weeks or months before you plan to sell, or placing some flowering pots in strategic positions if you don’t have time to prepare in advance. “It’s also important to keep grass and hedges trimmed, and rake up any stray leaves,” he says. “A winter garden doesn’t have to be dishevelled, and it can do wonders to brighten up the first impressions of a property.”

Approached correctly, selling your house in winter can be a very smart choice that allows you to stand out from the crowd far more than you might in summer. For more information and advice, or to request a complementary property assessment, contact your nearest Rawson Property Group franchise.

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