The housing market traditionally begins to slow in the run up to Christmas as people tend to postpone big life-changing decisions until the New Year.
However, there’s no reason why you can’t proceed with your sale in December, or at least get a head start in marketing your property before the traditional New Year rush – and with a shortage of homes going up for sale it may stand out more.
By following some simply steps you can progress towards a successful moving date.
The following advice, produced by the National Association of Estate Agents, is aimed at making sure your property ‘looks and feels attractive’.
David Mackie, president of National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA), said: ‘Traditionally, sellers hold off from marketing their homes in the bleak winter months, because they think it’s a bad time to sell.
‘But it is time to go against these out-dated claims and get your homes market-ready by making small but effective changes to make your home an inviting prospect for potential buyers looking to make a winter purchase.’
So, what is its advice to ensure a queue of buyers at your door this winter?
1. Don’t forget about the exterior
Make sure the property looks well maintained and cared for from the outside, with windows and walls freshly washed to remove any dirt. Clear the path of leaves and make sure there isn’t any ice on the paths that could cause potential buyers to slip. The first seconds upon arriving at the property are the most important in terms of impacting the buyer’s decision.
2. Keep entryways clutter-free and clean
As rain is falling outside, keep your home clean and tidy inside. Make sure there is a door mat present for visitors to wipe their shoes and remove any wellington boots from the front door mat, so potential buyers won’t trip over them.
3. Let there be light
With shorter days during the winter months, it is crucial to maintain a good level of lighting in your home to make it inviting for visitors, especially during evening viewings to create a warm and cosy ambiance – and that includes outdoor lighting too. Make sure you should check all bulbs are working prior to a viewing.
Use lighting to create a warm feeling in your home and make it look its best
4. A warm welcome
Decorating your home may encourage potential buyers to stay longer – and having a roaring fire going can create a warming feel. Don’t go too overboard with the tinsel though, as you don’t want your property to look over-cluttered. Buyers should be able to envisage themselves living in your home, so it pays to make it as inviting as possible. Smell is also important, so putting out a diffuser, or some freshly cut flowers works really well.
5. Garden space
A messy garden can detract buyers, as it looks like lots of work needs to be done. The winter weather can also tire garden furniture, and make it look unsightly. If possible, clear patio furniture away, if not, ensure they are securely covered. It’s worth spending a few hours trimming bushes, mowing the lawn, removing fallen leaves and dead plants to make a tidy outdoor space.
It is also a good idea to trim back overhanging branches, particularly those blocking the windows in order to encourage as much light into the property as possible. Increased rainfall over the winter months take its toll on guttering too, 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 unappealing.
6. Tackle the DIY jobs you have been putting off
Make sure all small maintenance jobs have been made prior to putting your house on the market – such as fixing leaky taps or painting over cracks on the walls. Despite the fact you might not notice it, potential buyers will and fresh internal décor and paintwork goes a long way.
7. Winter break
If you are planning to get some winter sun and have a holiday booked, don’t forget the heating in your home 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 set on a timer.
Longer spells at a lower temperature can be more economical than shorter blasts at a higher temperature. This will ensure there are no problems upon your return to be dealt with before showing your home to prospective buyers.