There’s no avoiding it, the season to be jolly is just round the corner. The shops are starting to put up the decorations, mince pies are stacked on counters, and the indelible strains of Slade and Wizzard will soon be on interminable loop. And with all this comes the inevitable question… “should I wait for the New Year to sell my house?”
As with everything, there are pros and cons to selling through the winter. But let’s remove one myth before we start. It isn’t impossible to sell in between November and February. Buyers don’t suddenly vanish and not every property disappears from the market. Last year, we at Q, enjoyed a record breaking November and December, selling every property that we were instructed to sell in that period. The simple fact is, that homes on the market at that time have less competition and therefore have a good chance of selling very speedily, and those sellers become buyers and have the jump on all those that decided to wait for the New Year – but more on that later.
The downside to selling in winter boils down to a few points. If the property has a garden it rarely looks its best. People are busy with office parties and Christmas shopping, and finding time to view homes can be tough. And property photos with Christmas decorations up can look a little strange – particularly come January. But the counter argument is that those house-hunting in winter are normally the most motivated buyers, which means a quicker sale and a good price.
Now back to having to jump on other buyers. The fact is most sellers will look to buy again. And whatever advice we give, most sellers will wait until the New Year to sell. This means in January and February more property will come to the market. If you have shrewdly sold before Christmas you’ll have the pick of the market while everyone else will have to wait until they have sold.
Five tips for winter selling…
- As always, first impressions count. Sweep up any leaves from your front porch, pathway or drive. It’s the first thing a buyer sees and you don’t want them thinking it’s difficult to keep things clear. For this reason also clear any drains.
- If you decide to sell in December (and there are plenty of reasons to do this) don’t have Christmas decorations up in the photos… or at least, if you do, make sure your agent takes new photos in January. A house on the market in March with decorations in the photos looks very stale.
- As above, a house in the snow can look very picturesque, but if you’re still on the market in June it can look very stale. A good agent will always be happy to pop back and freshen up any photos.
- Remember to price competitively. Whether we like it or not there are fewer buyers in December/January but those looking are very motivated. And the best way to secure a motivated buyer is get them through the door in the first place. Have a look at similar homes in a half mile radius and price against them.
- Finally, don’t panic. Things can take a little bit longer at this time of year but if you’ve properly prepared your home, priced correctly, and ensured your agent has delivered the best marketing, you will find a buyer. And does it matter if things take a little bit longer; Christmas is coming up so it leaves you with more time to enjoy some festive cheer.
For more advice on selling or to hear our predictions for the coming year call 01273 622664 or email [email protected] to arrange a free, no obligation, consultation.
*This article was first published on 29th October 2015. Though some of the finer details may have changed the advice still stands.