28 Nov Why Winter is perfect to buy and sell property
Conventional wisdom has it that the best time to buy or sell a property is in the Spring. On the contrary, it is actually in winter, when there are more committed buyers, less competition and homes are at their cosiest. Yes, Winter is a perfect time to buy and sell a property.
Sometimes, it’s best to be countercyclical. Selling a property in winter can be advantageous. There are fewer people selling and there will always be people who need to buy. If you like a house when the hail and sleet are lashing against the windows, you will definitely like it in the summer. On the whole, it is a positive time to sell, with prospective buyers likely to spend longer looking if your home is nice and cosy. On the flipside buyers will notice if the wind is blowing through a window that doesn’t close properly, the roof is leaking or there is damp.
So here are the reasons why it is best to put a home on the market before the daffodils come up.
Sellers get noticed
Property websites report record traffic levels over the festive season, with some of the biggest sites, such as Rightmove, registering two million house-hunters on Christmas Day. Boxing Day and New Year’s Day attract similar figures. The first working day after the New Year always sees the highest levels of traffic to our website, which shows that interest in residential property is alive and well at the height of winter.
The run-up to Christmas and into the New Year can be a good time to list a house as there is less stock on the market, meaning less competition. Stock shortages can be a big plus, as they often lead to competitive bidding and premiums being achieved. Although it may feel like there are fewer buyers out there, this is a common misconception as we certainly see a spike in our website listings being viewed from Boxing Day onwards through the holiday period. People have more time to look at properties, mainly online, while they are off work, and moving house might also form part of people’s New Year’s resolutions.
Christmas is a time when families get together and make property buying and selling decisions — every year the property portals report record viewing figures; if a home is up there it has the maximum chance of being viewed. The presentation is key: cosy-looking kitchens, roaring fires and nicely lit pictures attract viewers.
Selling over the winter might seem like an odd thing to consider, but there are some strategic advantages. First, competition among fellow vendors may be lower, with many waiting until well into the New Year to market their properties. This could mean that when the New Year instructions pick up, you are already under offer and at the top of everyone’s shortlist to call.
Buyers are committed
The calibre of buyers, in terms of their seriousness and eagerness to proceed quickly, is likely to be greater than at times of the year when the market is busier. Buyers looking pre-Christmas tend to want to be in their next home as near to the start of the year as possible, so generally don’t mess about. The colder, darker winter days, and the abundance of Christmas events occupying many evenings and weekends, will put a lot of people off venturing outdoors and view properties on a less-than-serious basis. Put simply: winter buyers mean business.
Generally speaking, the applicants who are looking over the winter and particularly at the start of a new year will be serious and committed buyers, which makes it easier for sellers to move forward quickly when a deal is agreed. Inevitably the New Year brings a fresh resolve for vendors as well, making it an ideal time for people that need to move swiftly.
It makes economic sense
The market used to be much more cyclical, particularly in London when lots of City workers got their bonuses in March. Now pay is spread more evenly through the year, so it doesn’t make so much sense to wait until spring.
Christmas is also a time of year when you look at a property when it hasn’t got its clothes on, so you see the real bones, and probably get a truer picture of the asset, rather than having to uncover what is behind the leafy boundary in late spring. It’s all about the naked truth.
Homes look good
With winter comes the opportunity for vendors to show off just how cosy and inviting their property is. It is a great time to have some fantastic wintry images taken of the property to ensure that it stands out online and in the window.
Some properties, such as those with contemporary additions — bifold doors, contemporary decor and expensive lighting — and anything with a really good skyline view may well have a special feel when photographed or viewed at night. You can use the winter to show this off. Holding viewings at 6pm or 7pm in winter could show off an amazing city view to its full potential.
Use the internal features of your property to maximum effect. If you have an open fire, have this lit for viewings if it’s safe to do so. Ensure the heating is on; the warmth of your property can be very welcoming to someone who has made the effort to journey there in the cold. A hall light on, showing off your beautiful stained glass panels and windows can add to the kerb appeal. Make sure your house name or number is visible by popping your outside light on.
Light candles and a fire . . .
- Good lighting on the approach to a property can significantly increase its kerb appeal, especially on dark nights.
- Put your lights and heating on timers so buyers don’t walk into a dark, cold, uninviting property when you are not at home.
- If you are in, light a fire or candles. A cosy home will encourage people to spend longer viewing.
- Gardens need extra care: leaves need to be swept up and outside spaces tidied.
- Encourage buyers outside with a fire pit or patio heaters in the garden.
- With more rain and leaves blocking drains at this time of year, it is important to prevent water ingress and damp.
- Change your house fragrance to something more alpine.
If you’re thinking about buying or selling your house in Darlington this winter, for expert advice why not call us now on 01325-776424