The umbrellas are up. The jumpers are out. The mince pies are in supermarkets. Winter has come once again, which means that house-hunters are hoping to move into a new pad by Christmas and the New Year.
With darker nights and crueller weather, though, finding a buyer for your property during November and December can be a much harder task than in August or September. How can you sell your home in winter? Here are seven simple steps:
1. List now
If you have not done so already, list your home on the market immediately. Recent research from Rightmove says it takes an average of 65 days to sell a home in the UK - 41, if you live in the fast-moving market of London. With 50 days until 25th December, get your home onto a property portal now. If that means uploading photos and tweaking descriptions at a later date, so be it. If you are not in the race, though, you cannot expect to win it.
2. Turn on the lights
It may be getting darker earlier in the day, but offices are not shutting any sooner: the chances are you will be arranging to show your home to someone outside of work hours, which means one thing: darkness. Be sure to turn your lights on, not just so they can see around your home, but so they can find it from the street: a warmly lit window from the cold outside will only make your property seem all the more welcoming.
3. Turn up the heating
Much like light, heat is a key step to ensuring any visitors feel at home. Keep your house as cosy as you can to make tired house hunters appreciate your property even more.
4. Clean up after the cold
Rain, snow, sleet, wind. All these are your enemy when trying to impress potential purchasers. Try your best to clean up after the cold weather, from muddy footprints on the carpet and blocked gutters to blown over dustbins in the driveway. Every step you take to look after your property will only create a positive impression: a home that is cared for is worth having. If a neglected home is unwanted by its existing owner, why would anyone else want it?
5. Do not let damp in
Damp loves winter, almost as much as it loves your home. Keep an eye out for dark patches on the wall - a big turn-off for any house-hunters - and treat any damp you find. The last thing you need after agreeing a preliminary contract is a surveyor discovering structural problems with the building, lowering its value.
6. Remove any unpleasant odours
Mud, dirt and damp all have their own unpleasant scent, but damp clothes alone can spread an icky odour - one that can be easily overlooked when coming in from the cold and wet every evening. Remove any traces of odours, especially when your have a viewing scheduled, to keep buyers from turning up their noses.
7. Be energy efficient
Being energy efficient is important for your finances during the winter, but do not just save on your bills - tell people you are doing it. Grade A appliances and green boilers are increasingly common, as buyers not only want to save the planet but also save coins in their wallets. Indeed, they are now expected by many house-hunters. Make it clear that your property is energy efficent and you could find yourself winning over a buyer far more easily.