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How to sell your house in winter?

While many property professionals prefer to advise their customers not to aim for a winter house sale, many vendors find that it is unavoidable for a variety of reasons. Luckily, the chances of selling a house in winter aren’t low as many people believe.

When is the best time of year to sell a house?

There are many people who like to pass on their opinion of the best time of year to sell a house based on their prior experience. Fortunately, we don’t have to rely on the subjective approach to the matter thanks to the vast amounts of data available from estate agents, lenders, banks and conveyancers.

Without a doubt, if you can afford to wait until it comes around, then March is always the best time of year to sell a house1.

Why? During March, the hours are beginning to get longer, allowing for more viewings and more natural light to help your home looks its best. Furthermore, with the onset of spring people are generally more jovial and if they wish to buy, they prefer to do it before summer arrives.

There are certain individuals who believe that selling a home in January is a great idea as it is the start of a new year and the Christmas holiday celebrations have been and gone. However, while certain types of valued property can sell early in the year such as one or two bedroomed flats or houses2 – often due to young people having ‘enjoyed’ one Xmas too many in the family home – but more often than not, you will have lower levels of success than in March.

Generally, you want to sell your home when the majority of buyers are looking, and they won’t be doing so when they’re busy – that means school and Christmas holidays are out. Buyers are also more likely to consider purchasing if they can attend a viewing in the evening after work while there is still daylight outside.

This is why many professionals will push their clients to sell at the beginning of spring, and if not aim for early autumn once the schools re-open3.

Why selling a house in the winter is smart

  • The benefits of selling your home winter always start with the obvious answer – there is a huge lack of competition amongst sellers4. Many of those who aren’t in a rush will be hanging around for the March sales-window, without realising that the increased competition will always leave the sold property prices in favour of buyers.
  • People will always need to buy a home, regardless of time of year. If an individual decides to permanently move to a new house as part of a career choice, they may believe that there’s a good deal to be made during the market’s quieter seasons.
  • Solicitors, conveyancers and agents tend to be busier during the warmer seasons, as do those intending to sell. This often leads to house moves getting delayed due to lengthy chains. In winter, this is generally much less of a problem.
  • With colder weather, people are more likely to spend time at home on the internet browsing properties – making newly added properies stand-out.
  • Stay heated – during viewings, the contrast between the cold weather outside and the warm temperatures inside your home will make your property seem much cosier and welcoming than during the summer months5.
  • People who are willing to come for a viewing when it’s the middle of winter tend to be a lot more serious about purchasing than the ‘serial-viewers´ in summer, who often visit homes on sale solely out of curiosity.

Will Your House Sell in the Winter?

The ancient Chinese general and philosopher Sun Tzu once said that “if you know your enemy well and know yourself, you need not fear the results of a hundred battles”. And this is very true for those who wish to beat their competitors to sell their house during winter first. So, yes, it’s definitely possible to do – but only if you exploit the benefits of being on the market when the pickings are slim.

Those who own cheaper houses such as one or two bed flats and house can certainly prosper as smaller homes tend to be bought by younger people who can’t face another holiday season at the family home, and so tend to shift quite quickly2. Larger houses can take longer, but that doesn’t mean it’s a lost cause to attempt to sell in winter.

Although miserable and cold, winter can benefit those sellers who are savvy enough to realise that in this cold period, many potential buyers would prefer not to be traipsing up and down the high street looking through estate agents’ windows in the rain.

Of course, what many people forget, is that you can ALWAYS sell your home in the winter if you think outside the box. For a large number of homeowners, the need to sell can be extremely time-sensitive – and for that reason, many owners are finding themselves discovering the benefits of selling to a home-buying company.

The benefits of home-buying companies such as National Homebuyers is that from first point of contact, the sale will often be completed in as little as two weeks, allowing the buyer to regain capital in a short space of time.

Another advantage is that home-buying companies are not put-off by certain details that your average buyer may be deterred by; such as distance from shops, unappealing paintwork and structural issues etc.

The benefits of selling in winter are far-reaching for vendors, especially when safe in the knowledge that the people who are thinking about buying a home will be spending the cold evenings browsing web portals such as Rightmove, eMoov and Purple Bricks, so maybe it’s worth considering how to make your home stand out from the other listings?

Tips for selling your home fast in winter

So, you want to ensure a fast winter house sale? Thanks to the ‘ever-wonderful’ weather in the UK, many property market professionals have shared some fantastic ideas that can help you tip the odds in your favour:

  • By adding attractive outdoor lighting to your home for dark photos in winter, you can make the entrance seem much more inviting that the average house, helping it to stand out in photos. Many designers consider this ‘kerb appeal’ to be extremely important5 – especially in town houses – as it always adds an element of prestige.
  • Why stop at external lighting? By brightening up your home with a variation of direct, indirect and candle sourced room lighting, you can make your home seem especially alluring to those looking to buy a new winter house6.
  • Make sure you decorate for the season. Many sellers try to go for the sterile approach that works so well in summer. Due to joint consciousness of the human condition, however, we seek out comfort and cosiness when it is cold outside7, so try adding touches such as a cosy sofa throw or an attractive rug in the bathroom? Remember though – don’t let your personality be reflected in these simple ideas.
  • Ensure that your garden is kept tidy – even though it is unlikely to be in use during winter, it should still look attractive when it is viewed from inside the house.
  • Odours can often be easier to notice when you try to sell your home in the winter. This is because moisture builds up inside the home from coats, shoes, and of course – pets. You can easily use a dehumidifier to dry the air, but these can be costly. An easier way to cover up the odours is to use the old trick of fabric softener or furniture polish on heated radiators8. Thanks to how drift-heating works, within an hour your home will be showroom fresh.
  • Take the time to sand and varnish external window frames and sills, while also cleaning the windows – a dirty façade can often be emphasised by accident in a photo depending on the way it is processed.
  • Ensure that any photos on your listings are free from clutter – nobody wants to move into a disaster zone.
  • Take photos of your home during the summer for use in the winter – it’s always important to show how wonderful your home can look all year round.

Are you looking to sell your home during the winter? Why not ask National Homebuyers for advice, as we buy any house. Call 08000 443 911 or request a call back to find out how much you could get for your property before it’s too late.

Sources:

1Turrill, K. (2017). Selling your home? This is the best MONTH to put your property on the market. Available: https://www.express.co.uk/life-style/property/794435/selling-your-home-house-tips. Last accessed 24 Sept 2019.

2Brazg, G. (2016). When Is The Best Time To Sell Your House? Available: https://www.theadvisory.co.uk/house-selling/best-time-to-sell-house/. Last accessed 24 Sept 2019.

3Norwood, G. (2010). How to sell your house in the autumn market. Available: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/property/buying-selling-moving/7964544/How-to-sell-your-house-in-the-autumn-market.html. Last accessed 24 Sept 2019.

4Butterworth, M. (2016). Want to sell your home this winter? Follow these seven tips to win over buyers and get it sold. Available: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/property/article-3960370/Seven-tips-sell-home-winter.html. Last accessed 24 Sept 2019.

5Anon. (2017). How to sell your home in winter. Available: https://hoa.org.uk/2017/11/how-to-sell-your-home-in-winter/. Last accessed 24 Sept 2019.

6Robson, I. (2017). Selling your house this winter? 9 tips to tempt buyers to make an offer. Available: https://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/property-news/selling-your-house-winter-9-13973477. Last accessed 24 Sept 2019.

7Harris, B. (2015). 10 Ways To Create A Cozy Home For Winter. Available: https://www.forbes.com/sites/houzz/2015/12/10/10-ways-to-create-a-cozy-home-for-winter/. Last accessed 24 Sept 2019.

8Brennan, S. (2016). Store bedding in a pillowcase, clean radiators with fabric softener and wet wipe the carpet: Women reveal their VERY clever life hacks for busy mothers. Available: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-3790960/Women-reveal-clever-life-hacks-busy-mothers.html. Last accessed 24 Sept 2019.

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