Selling in Winter?

Although the first few months of the year are not always considered to be the best time to put your property on the market in Notting Hill, there are a number of advantages to selling in winter, especially this year.

Whatever the season, people still need to move, as the many drivers of change don’t suddenly come to a halt just because of a change of season – there are still divorces, marriages and deaths. Babies keep on being born, children grow and some of us still have to move for a new job. There are, though, some specific advantages to selling in winter. Unlike spring, there is far less competition from other sellers at this time of year and buyers tend to be more serious. And, with the supply of new housing stock coming to the market already tight in many areas, there is even less competition between sellers than normal. So, for example, if yours is the only two-bedroom flat for sale in the area, buyers will not be able to make endless comparisons before choosing a near-identical one next door just because it has a slightly newer bathroom.

In addition, mortgage rates are incredibly low at the moment but are likely to rise during the course of this year, so buyers will want to lock in those low rates while they can. And when those rate rises happen, the market may go soft for a month or two as we adjust to the new reality, so you are better off selling beforehand.

There are, however, some things you need to do to prepare your house for sale in winter. At this time of year, exteriors can look tired and grubby, gardens tend to be covered in dead leaves and plant matter and the inclement weather will have given paintwork and windows a hard time.

The old mantra that first impressions count was never truer, so the first thing you need to do is to sweep up those leaves, cut back any dead plants and give your windows and paintwork a really good wash with soap and warm water. You should mow the lawn, too. As long as you set the mower a little higher than normal (grass should be about 2 inches long), it won’t do any harm whatsoever and it’s amazing what a difference it makes.

With less natural light available, pay careful attention to your lighting. And that starts on the outside – a warm and welcoming porch light will set the right tone, right from the start. You want all the lights on inside, as well. Although, be careful, a single source of light can make a room look like a prison cell and will do more harm than good. If you want to mimic natural daylight, which should be your aim, you need multiple, low-level light sources. If necessary, go and buy some extra free-standing or table lights.

The house’s temperature is another important consideration – it should be warm and snug, but not hot. The recommended temperature is between 19-21 degrees, so make sure it stays around those levels whenever there are viewings and that you allow plenty of time beforehand for it to warm up. If you’ve got a gas fire, it is well worth lighting it, as it will help create the right kind of ambience. Lighting a real fire, on the other hand, is not recommended, as it can be dangerous if left unattended.

Some other useful tips include – providing somewhere for coats to be hung (so people relax and don’t overheat), making sure there is somewhere for visitors to wipe their shoes before coming in, that you have some pictures of the garden available of what it looks like in summer. And don’t put away all your garden furniture just yet because, otherwise, the garden would look empty, but do give it a good clean. Lastly, place some fresh flowers around the house, as it will really cheer the place up.

If you’ve got a property in Notting Hill and are considering selling (or renting it out), your first step is to give us a call at Homesite, and we can set you on the right path.