Winter is upon us! Many people have the view that winter 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 of selling in Winter:
- Properties that heat well and are warm and cosy will often make a great impression in the winter months.
- Fireplaces can create great ambiance in winter.
- Some smaller properties or double story homes can be difficult to keep cool during the summer months, so a winter campaign can be a practical choice.
- 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.
- Less properties on the market during winter, with many sellers waiting for spring to sell their homes – so less competition!
- Buyers daring to brave the cold and house hunt through winter, are usually very serious and not ‘just looking’.
If you have found yourself running a winter selling campaign, here are my 10 tips to ensure a smooth selling process.
10 Tips for Selling in Winter
- Check your gutters. Very important this 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 is something that buyers do notice and can make them nervous, especially first home buyers. What can be a relatively inexpensive, easy thing to fix, can appear overwhelming to a less experienced person. I’ve actually been in the middle of an open home myself, during a storm and watched in shock horror, as the guttering finally gave way to the weight of the heavy rain and sludge that had built up over time! Ouch!
- Check for any cracked tiles. I will never forget the Open Home I was conducting when that horrendous hail storm hit Melbourne back in 2010. In the middle of the open home, myself and 5 – 6 buyers were stuck inside this house, watching from the front door as the hail hammered down over our cars. I will never forget that ‘tap’ on my shoulder, by one of the buyers, to get my attention. I looked around to see it literally raining through the living room ceiling. Bucket please!
- 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, may very well go wrong.
- Heating is a huge selling point, so make sure yours is working well. 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 opened and closed throughout inspections, as buyers are walking through and around your home, letting the heat out and the cold in.
- If you have a fireplace, time to show that baby off! Have a nice stack of wood sitting nearby – it adds to the ambiance. Prepare the fire well ahead of your open home, so that the flames have settled down, the coals are burning nicely and little or no attendance is required by your agent throughout the course of the open. It may be a good idea to request a second agent at your open homes, so that there is one person keeping an eye on the fire and ensuring that any children in attendance, do not get too close.
- For those of you with outdoor entertaining areas, time to demonstrate how winter friendly these spaces can really be. If you have outdoor patio heaters, turn them on. If your outdoor area is, or can be, enclosed, then close it up earlier and turn on any outdoor heaters so that the space is nice and warm and cozy, by the time your open home commences.
- Keep your 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.
- Consider evening inspections. If possible, turn on your lights and heating before the agent arrives. Not only does this make the job a little easier for your agent, it also provides safe access for your open home attendees on dark, cold, wet nights where visibility can be limited. If you can’t be there to prepare the home yourself, make sure your agent allows plenty of time to set everything up properly, well before the first buyer arrives. Nothing could put a bigger smile on the face of a prospective buyer on a cold winter evening, than being greeted by a home lit up like a Christmas tree, the smell of wood burning from the fire place and feeling the heat wrap around them as they step through the front door. Mmmmmm….
- 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 doorways = dirty shoes walking on your ‘just cleaned’ floors. Argh!
- 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.
Time now to sit back and enjoy the stream of motivated winter buyers!
Why wait until spring to put your home on the market? There are buyers out there right now looking for a property just like yours! Contact me today on 0408 991 855 to talk about your winter selling strategy.