Many people associate winter with hunkering down at home, preparing for the festive season, and thinking about the potential of the New Year. Because of this, the winter season isn’t traditionally seen as a prime time for home sales.
However, the property market doesn't go into hibernation over winter. Property portals - like Rightmove, Zoopla & OnTheMarket - all report record numbers of visitors over the Christmas period. And, the New Year is often reported by estate agents to be one of the times of year that they get the most enquiries.
This is partly because people have more time over the Christmas period to look for homes. And the New Year offers a fresh ‘starting point’ for many people to make major life changes.
Indeed, there are actually many pros for putting your home up for sale during the winter months:
Reduced competition - because there are fewer sellers on the market over the winter months, there will be fewer properties for your home to compete with for the attention of buyers in your area.
Motivated sellers - usually home sellers report having fewer viewings over the winter months, but these viewers are more likely to make an offer. The cold weather and earlier nights put off more speculative, casual buyers. So, those looking around your property in winter will have a higher intention of buying.
Property professionals have more time - solicitors, estate agents, surveyors, are typically less busy this time of year. This means they'll be able to devote more time to prioritising your sale.
If you’re keen to put your home on the market this winter, there are plenty of ways you can grab a buyer's attention, and ensure you sell quickly. Some of our favourite tips for winter home sales include:
Maximise the cosiness
There’s no point fighting the fact that winter is colder, darker, and a bit less inviting than summer. But, this can work to your advantage.
For some buyers, walking into a warm, cosy home on a wintery day can be as inviting and positive as seeing a property on a sunny day.
Take the time to make your home feel seasonally warm and cosy. Consider adding some blankets, or soft cushions to your living area. If you have a fireplace, think about lighting it for your viewings.
Scented candles can also add to the cosy winter effect, whilst having the added benefit of making your home smell lovely too.
Watch the temperature
In keeping with the cosiness theme, the temperature of your property can make a huge difference to its appeal too.
Not only will a warm home be more comfortable to walk around and view properly, the temperature of your property gives potential buyers an indicator of how well your central heating works - and in consequence, how much heating bills might cost.
Make sure that your heating is on before viewings, and that any radiators you normally keep switched off (for example, in a spare room) are also turned on.
First impressions start outside
Although gardening is the last thing on many people’s minds during the winter months, if you’re selling your home, paying attention to your outdoor space is vital.
Before you have photographs taken, make sure your garden is tidy and clean. Start by ensuring your lawn is neat, and leaves are raked. Clean any hard surfaces such as decking, paving stones, or paths, and put away any garden furniture.
These small improvements can greatly improve the ‘curb appeal’ of a property.
For more ideas on making the most of your garden in winter, check out our blog.
Let in the light
With the winter months come earlier, darker evenings. Although you may not always be able to show your home in its best light over the winter months, there are a few ways you can ensure that it still demonstrates its potential.
Firstly, ensure you’re maximising any natural light you do get. You can do this by cleaning all your windows, trimming any trees or bushes that cast shadows over the windows, and encouraging your estate agent to invite buyers to come for viewings during the daylight hours.
However, you’re not always going to be able to have viewings during the daylight hours, so it’s also important to also make sure that your home is well lit. Introducing lamps into your main living areas can boost the brightness of your space - as well as being an opportunity to add to your home decor.
It can also be useful to install some outdoor lighting, particularly if you have a driveway, or front garden. This will make your home look more welcoming as those coming for a viewing walk towards it.
Prepare for seasonal disruption
Before you decide which estate agent to work with, make sure they stay open over the festive period. There’s no point putting in all the work to get your home ready for market, to find that your estate agent won’t be fielding requests from buyers until the New Year.
Need help finding the best estate agent for your sale? Try this free tool. It looks at how estate agents in your area have performed on house sales in the past, and lets you know which agents consistently get the best results. Head there now.
Find the balance with your Christmas decorations
The holiday period is an exciting time, and it’s part of the festivities to decorate our homes in bright colours and lights.
If you’re selling your home it’s important to find the right balance between all-out festive decor, and no decorations at all.
As a general rule, it’s best to stay simple. White or gold lights, jewel toned baubles, and decorative wreaths can all be tasteful additions to homes. Done right, sophisticated decor can even evoke that aspirational feeling in those looking to move. Buyers will imagine enjoying future Christmases in your home.
Try and avoid anything too garishly coloured - like coloured trees, or flashing lights - which can be off putting to some people. Some estate agents also suggest that you should avoid outdoor decorations, as they can devalue a property.
Pro Tip: Have your professional photographs taken before you put up your decorations. This will keep your photos from looking out-of-date after the festive period is over.
For more advice on preparing your home for sale, check out our blog, here.
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