Spring may still be peak ‘open’ season, since most people don’t want to get out into the cold winter months or even consider planning to move when it’s ‘freezing’. Yet it actually pays to list in winter, when buyers tend to have more urgency and are more serious in purchasing a home.
Yes, while spring and summer are the busiest times to market your home, it’s not always the best time to sell. Common wisdom suggests avoiding selling in winter, but at Century 21 Hurstville we argue that with less properties to compete with and only the more serious buyers on the hunt, it can be the ‘best’ time for you to market your home.
A study (redfin.com/blog/2013/12/why-winter-is-the-hottest-time-to-sell-your-home.html) by online brokerage Redfin found that average sellers net more above asking price during the winter months than they do from Spring. And homes listed in winter sold faster than those posted in spring.
Christine He (Pricipal of Century 21 Hurstville) states that, “in fact the darker colder winter months have been our most active in the past one and half years. Buyers are more focused to purchase this time. There’s also less supply because there are few new listings and many properties have been taken off the market only to return in Spring.” Call it hibernation of some sort! After careful explanation, proactive vendors know it is the best time for them to sell in a competitive sellers market (that is Spring).
There’s a common misconception that selling your home in the cooler months isn’t a great idea. We’ve found this couldn’t be further from the truth – if we look at NSW (realestate.com.au/auction-results/nsw) for example, clearance rates are currently still holding at 75%.
Facts tell us, what you’ll find is less people are selling in winter, which is good news for you. Therefore, the buyers that you do attract will be looking at a smaller pool of properties and you may land yourself a better price.
Add to this the fact that Australia’s Sydney winter is generally mild, there’s really no reason that buyers would avoid inspections, especially if they are motivated buyers. Ask yourself this question? Would you purposely go out in the cold winter day and look to purchase a home unless you are motivated!
Current open for inspections at Century 21 Hurstville concurs with Winter season listings. Starting July 1 in NSW First Home Buyers are exempt from stamp duty for properties purchased $650,000 and under. Pundits say this could increase property prices. Time will tell if this will be the case.
In the past few weeks, we have seen a mix of home owners and investors come through our OFI. Those who have made offers were the lucky ones who got the vendor’s green light without much fanfare! It definitely is not as competitive as with Spring sales, however, more importantly putting in an offer surely doesn’t hurt your chances of an exchanged contract.
So should you put your home on the market now?
Unless you need to sell, the time to sell always depends on supply and demand in your market.
At Century 21 Hurstville, if it’s an option for our vendors, we encourage coming to market sooner. It’s at these times that we discover to have more serious buyers, rather than those just tagging along to enjoy a warm Spring day.
If you do move forward, these strategies will help make your home a ‘hot’ seller this winter.
Price It Right
Unlike in spring, when there are more purchasers it makes sense to price low to try to generate a bidding war. Winter is also not a time to test the market and list high. If the house doesn’t sell, you may need to drop below market value.
With your agent, take a conservative approach and price at market value. Check sold prices of comparable properties in the past 30 days, then eye current list prices to make sure your home won’t look overpriced.
Winter buyers are particularly attuned to issues related to heating and maintenance. Get your fire place, HVAC, gutters and roof inspected, and make any necessary repairs. Many cold-weather house hunters will also be thinking about heating costs. Consider low-cost upgrades like insulating door trims or installing energy-efficient windows, which can lower energy bills. Tip: It’s probably best to put away mobile heating appliances.
Brighten Your Home
Snow and gray skies make for a gloomy first impression – unless it’s Christmas. Warm up your garden with basic landscaping, and add inexpensive cool-weather plants to invigorate outdoor space. Fix chipped paint, caulk windows, and repair cracked window seals, which can cause condensation and dampness.
Offset the season’s poor natural light by painting your house off-white throughout.
And create a sense of warmth throughout the home, starting with the living room. De-clutter and depersonalize. Put away family photographs so that buyers can see themselves living in the home; instead display pictures that show what the property looks like when the temperature is warmer, like the garden in full bloom or the backyard in the summertime.
Clean foggy windows
What can sometimes happen in the cooler months is your windows will fog up and all the dust and dirt unseen to the naked eye will appear. So before inspection day give them a good clean and let more natural light enter. A few nice pieces of mirrors doesn’t go astray too.
Decide on the right time of day
As the days are usually shorter in winter, it’s important you choose a time that has the most amount of sunlight. This will depend largely on the orientation of your home. Make the most out of your daylight.
Turn up the heat
You can turn your property into an inviting space by simply setting your heater or air conditioner at a comfortable temperature without being overbearing.
Take it to the next level
If you really want to make potential buyers feel at home, consider offering beverages like coffee, marshmallows and hot chocolate, as this will create a relaxed atmosphere and may encourage buyers to stay for longer for chit chat.
CASE STORY (as seen in thisismoney.co.uk/money/mortgageshome/article-2850422/Why-winter-good-time-sell-home.html)
WE SOLD IN A WEEK IN JANUARY WITH LESS COMPETITION
‘Sold in January:’ Graham had an offer in a week
Graham Loader, 50, put his house in Crawley, West Sussex, on the market in January this year.
Within a week he’d accepted an offer on the five-bedroom property. He completed the sale two months later.
‘We were relocating to near Glasgow for my wife’s job,’ says Graham, a dentist. ‘Three potential buyers came to see the house and we had two offers. We were really fortunate, and a little relieved it all went through so quickly; it was quite a mission keeping the place tidy with three young children!’
The family, who used online estate agent Zoom995, kept all lighting on in the house during daylight viewings.
They also put out fresh flowers and kept the front of the house and doorstep clean.
Graham believes a couple of things worked in their favour: ‘Even through there was plenty of rain, there was no snow.
‘Also, there were very few other properties of a similar size for sale at the time. That’s the good thing about selling in winter – people tend to delay putting their properties on the market, which makes yours stand out.’
So Are You Ready To List Your Home?