Negotiator, National Estate Agency
Time to put to bed the idea that January and February are ‘bad’ months to sell your home.
Winter has traditionally been labelled a slow period in the property market. But as times change, winter is no longer regarded as a bad time to sell your home – and here’s why.
The idea of January and February as slow months aren’t actually backed up by the figures. Thanks to our changing habits when it comes to property, there are searches all year for new properties - whether that’s on a website or through an app.
And while there tend to be fewer properties on the market in January, there is clearly demand for them. In January last year, the National Association of Estate Agents reported that supply of available housing was at its lowest level in 14 years. Yet demand soared, with an average 453 house hunters registered per branch - the highest figure for 18 months and 21% up on the previous month.
Apart from the rising demand, there are other benefits to selling your home at the start of the year. For one, there is less competition. If the figures are to be believed, the early part of the year should be the perfect market for sellers, with lower competition from other sellers and plenty of demanding buyers.
Whether it’s a New Year’s resolution or just taking stock of your current property situation, winter months can spark previously reluctant buyers to become more active. These should be your target market.
So why wait?
If nothing else 2016 showed us how unpredictable life in general can be (only a very brave person would have predicted both a Brexit and Trump victory) so, is there really such a thing as the perfect time to sell? Geopolitical events have typically had an effect on the economy and thus on housing market trends, but with uncertainty as ‘the new normal’, selling seasons are out of the window too. There is no reason to delay.
Top Tips for selling before spring:
- Stay competitive. People shop for bargains at the start of the year. Don’t under-price your home, but keep it realistic to attract the early savvy buyers.
- Avoid dated photos. It’s tough to get your photos right when selling in the winter. Lots of our clients tend to plan ahead and get photos of their house taken during spring or summer, ensuring it is displayed in the best possible light. If a picture speaks a thousand words, don’t underestimate the effect of a blue sky, green leaves and sunlight.
- View during the day. It’ll still be getting dark by the time most people finish work – not the ideal situation to sell a home. If you can, do viewings during the day to show off the house at its best. Make sure all curtains are open to make the most of what light there is.
- Warm it up. No one likes a cold house so make sure the heating is on, especially in colder rooms such as bathrooms and spare rooms.
- Keep up the kerb appeal. Fix anything that’s been damaged by the weather, clear the paths of leaves and try and drain any damp patches in the garden. If you’re off the beaten track, keep any access roads in good condition, especially in bad weather.