When hot chocolate is disappearing off the supermarket shelves, and families are rugging up and heading off to the ski fields for holidays, what about selling your home?
Tradition tells us winter is a difficult time to sell. Buyers are huddled under blankets, watching TV or roasting chestnuts on an open fire, thinking it too cold to venture to an open home.
However, while temperatures rise and fall, the reasons for people buying and selling properties continue – job changes, transfers, promotion, pregnancy, marriage and death in the family. Rain, hail or snow, people are always buying and selling houses.
There are always people looking to buy, and some counties even report that the market during winter can be just as active as any other time of the year.
“We also find that when the weather is mild and cold we always have more people at our open inspections than when its lovely weather."
“This is because more people spend time out and about pottering in their own gardens during autumn and entering winter.”
True, nationally less homes sell in the winter, but this can create several advantages for the seller.
With less properties on the market, buyers who need to move quickly are more likely to compromise on certain aspects of their preferred home.
They are more likely to be genuine buyers, and with less homes available for sale, they are therefore likely to pay more.
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 stoked 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.
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.
Bake a cake or brew coffee just before inspection, to give your home an even warmer feel.
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.
If you're in an area that snows, be sure to clear paths and salt to ensure no ice forms that could be a potential hazzard for guests.
If you have an outside fire pit, make sure it is lit and giving off plenty of flame (if the weather allows).
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.