As the colder months approach, many people speculate that it is a bad time to be selling a property. But with property prices still strong, combined with a little real estate savvy, selling in winter – especially this winter – could be a very lucrative idea.
Benefits to Selling In Winter
Some properties really can be shown off best in winter. Properties that heat well and are warm and cosy will often make a great impression in the winter months. Small fireplaces and excellent ducted heating can create great ambiance in winter, whereas some smaller properties can become far too hot in the summer months. What may seem stifling in summer can be just right in winter.
Also, with the harsh light (and heat) of summer gone, you can open up all the blinds and curtains and let that beautiful natural light in.
There is always someone looking to buy a house – no matter what time of the year it is. This is especially true in Melbourne where the real estate market is always buzzing! Many sellers will be waiting for spring to put their home on the market – so why not get in first? In winter time, there are generally less properties on the market to complete with, and those buyers that are out braving the cold winter days are super serious.
13 Tips For Selling in Winter
Make a few checks before you put your property on the market in winter:
- Gutters! Very important one. Nothing like a bit of rain to highlight any leaky problems with your guttering. So clean them out, check for rust and holes and fix/replace as necessary, including down pipes. Check that water runs away from the house and into the drains. This something that buyers definitely notice. It might be obvious, but I’ve had it happen to me – turned up the open home, showing people through and watching it rain right through the gutters. What might cost a few hundred dollars or so to fix, can look like a thousand dollar (or so) job to a potential purchaser, especially to first home buyers.
- Check for any cracked tiles. I will never forget the day I was conducting a Saturday Open for Inspection and a hail storm passed through. In the middle of the open home, myself and 5 – 6 buyers were stuck inside watching the hail hammer down over our cars. One buyer tapped me on the shoulder to get my attention. I looked around to see it raining through the ceiling. Not so awesome.
- Which brings me to my next point – have a little ‘in case of emergency’ cleaning kit on hand for your agent. A bucket and some old towels would suffice. Because what could go wrong, could actually go wrong.
- Heating is a huge selling point, so make sure your heating is working, perhaps even get a service to ensure it doesn’t break down during a crucial inspection. Consider the heating levels in different parts of the house. If a comfortable level of heat downstairs means upstairs becomes unbearable, consider closing off some heating vents or opening a small window to let some fresh air in. (I usually advise for the thermostat to be a little higher than usual to compensate for doors being open and closed more often than usual as buyers are walking through and around your home.)
- If you have a fireplace, ensure you have a lovely big stack of wood sitting next to that crackling fire. It’s all about inviting people to imagine just how lovely it would be to be sitting there in front of it. So get it started at least 30 minutes prior to your Open Home to ensure those flames are roaring!
- For those of you with outdoor entertaining areas, try and make them winter friendly – if you have outdoor patio heaters, turn them on. Show potential buyers that this outdoor area is an all year round entertaining space.
- Keep the front path nice and clear and maintain it prior to each inspection. This will help reduce the chance of mud being trampled up to your front door.
- Ambience: For evening inspections make sure the lights are all on before the agent arrives. Particularly important for safety as well, is lighting to your front entry. If it is not possible for you to get home prior to have all of this organised, ensure that your agent arrives early enough to prepare the lighting and heating for you. Nothing nicer on a cold winter evening than coming up to a home lit up like a Christmas tree, the smell of wood burning from the fire place and the feel of the warmth wrapping around you as soon as you walk in. Mmmmmm….
- If you have an umbrella stand, make it available near the front door for your guests to leave their umbrellas in so that they are not brought into your home.
- Consider investing in a new, heavy duty door mat for the front door entrance and also have an indoor mat for people to be able to step onto as they remove their shoes. Do the same at the back door you are using for buyers to access the rear yard.
- Have a ‘no shoes’ policy. I always carry a ‘Please Remove Your Shoes’ sign in my inspection bag, for wet weather days. (Rainy days = wet footpaths = wet door ways = dirty shoes walking on your just cleaned floors.)
- More natural lighting means that dirt and dust can be more visible… so a little extra attention to detail with the dusting and wiping may be required.
- Last, but not least, wet areas can be slippery areas, especially outdoor decking and tiling. Rubber mats on steps could help to prevent accidents.
Then sit back and enjoy the stream of motivated winter buyers!