There is a belief that the winter is not a good time to sell your property, yet there are benefits and challenges to selling your home whatever the season. Some estate agents argue that with less properties to compete with and only the more serious buyers on the hunt, winter can be a great time to market your home.
Don’t believe the myth, winter can be a good time to sell your home!
Traditionally, buyers were discouraged from putting their houses on the market before Christmas, however doing so will often get a much quicker sale and completion process as new owners wish to be in their homes before Christmas day. January also offers benefits with those looking for a new start in the new year, with fewer properties on the market to compete with. There are, however, some challenges to be aware of when putting your house on the market during the winter months:
Japanese knotweed identification
Two words that are likely to send a shiver down the spine of any homeowner in the UK, Japanese knotweed will push its way through walls, paving and tarmac and left unnoticed it can damage the entire structural stability of a home.
Add to this – it grows at a rate of up to 20 cm per day! When selling your property in summer you can easily see it and clear your garden in preparation. Property surveyors are not experts in Japanese knotweed identification, nor should we expect them to be. Whilst knotweed is a really easy spot for a surveyor in the late spring, summer and autumn, winter and early spring identification requires a level of scrutiny that many surveyors cannot provide as part of their service.
Selling near to the Christmas period can be disruptive to your holiday plans
Making sure your home is clean and tidy for viewings takes a considerable amount of work, particularly if you have children. The natural hive of activity in the run-up to Christmas can add to this stress. If the weather is bad, it’s not easy to entertain a family outside while the viewings are taking place. Many people also want to go away on holiday over this period – sellers and potential viewers alike.
Selling near to Christmas can cause delays
Most businesses wind down over Christmas, including including financial advisors and solicitors, meaning a property sale may be delayed.
Houses often don’t look their best in winter
Dark lighting and shorter daylight hours can make your home look less than its best. The garden may also not look its best without the colour of flowers, particularly if there is heavy rain or snow.
Tips to sell your house during the autumn and winter months
- Old seasonal photos of your property online with trees full of leaves can make the property look like it has been on the market for a while. Make sure you update them if needed
- Make sure the price is competitive
- Offset the season’s poor natural light by painting your house off-white to make it appear lighter and larger
- Christmas decorations can make a room look cluttered or too busy, so take any photos without them and keep them to a minimum for viewings
- Be flexible with viewing times and dates
- Make your home look cosy with lamps, a real fire and fur throws to offer a warm welcome – and make sure the central heating is on! Channel the Danish trend for ‘hygge’ to create an inviting atmosphere
- Let in as much natural light as possible and turn on all the lights if it is dark outside
- Lawns should be cut and free of leaves. Giant trampolines are popular at the moment, but make sure they are clean and free of leaves too
Rightmove experienced a surge in online activity at the start of 2017 starting on Boxing Day – the date it believes would-be movers start preliminary searches. This boded well for the market in 2017, despite Brexit and political and economic uncertainty. Here’s hoping that 2018 will be the same. There are certainly some huge positives to selling at this time of year.