During the winter, the housing market is renowned for being slower, with many people holding off on selling their property until the spring. However, by incorporating a few simple tips, sellers can make their properties look and feel more attractive, increasing the chance of receiving an offer during the winter, says the National Association of Estate Agents.
Martyn Baum, president of National Association of Estate Agents, says: “Traditionally, properties are harder to sell during the winter. It’s dark and cold and while homes don’t look as attractive, we’re less inclined to be proactive and search for a property – and this can leave sellers feeling in a stalemate position, waiting for the spring to kick in. Your estate agent should be well equipped to adapt to selling homes in these quieter periods but you can start by making changes as small as turning on a light or clearing out clutter.”
The National Association of Estate Agents top tips for those looking to sell their property during winter are as follows:
First impressions count: The first seconds upon arriving at a property really impact the buyer’s decisions, so clear your front entrance of any winter weather damage. Winter can make the front garden and paths look dull and dirty, so ensuring these are clean and clear of leaves will improve the attractiveness of the property.
Bright and beautiful: Ensure your home is well lit, this means simply checking all the bulbs are working prior to a viewing and switching them on, including any outdoor lighting. You’ll know which lighting looks best in your home so work with this, especially when viewings run into the evening. During the day you can make the most of natural light by ensuring all blinds and curtains are fully open and clutter is moved out of the way.
Warm and friendly: It’s important to make your house feel warm and homely; it will encourage potential buyers to stay longer and to be able to vision themselves living at home. Smell is also important and each home smells different, so in order to not risk putting buyers off, freshen up your home. Open the windows prior to the viewing to let some fresh air circulate – unless it’s freezing – and display some freshly cut flowers… the old cliché of fresh bread or roasting coffee really does work as well. It is also advisable to accentuate any features that are particularly important in the winter such as a fireplace, which can be a real selling point of a home.
In the Garden: A messy garden can signal the need for too much work and thus detract buyers; the winter weather can also tire garden furniture, which looks quite unsightly. If possible, clear patio furniture away, if not, ensure they are securely covered. It is also advisable to trim back overhanging branches, particularly those blocking the windows in order to encourage as much light into the property as possible.
Be flexible: With less daylight hours available for potential buyers to view your house, you should be as available as possible, for prospective buyers to view it when it’s convenient for them. Your estate agent should help you work around these tricky daylight hours.
Tackle any winter damage: Make sure any problems with the property that are more prominent in the winter - such as damp or a faulty boiler – are fixed prior to putting the house on the market. Increased rainfall over the winter does take its toll on guttering, so check the gutters and drain covers are properly cleared of dead leaves and other debris, as leaky gutters and down pipes cause damage and are unsightly.
Flying off for the winter: If you are going away for any period over the winter, the heating should be left on at a low temperature (minimum of 15°c), in order to prevent the pipes from freezing. If you are away for a long period and don’t want to keep the heating on 24/7, make sure it is on a timer. Longer spells at a lower temperature can be more economical than shorter blasts at higher temperatures. This will ensure that there are no problems upon your return to be dealt with before showing to prospective buyers.