Selling your home in January can feel like a bleak time, with the weather still cold and everyone suffering financial hangovers post-Christmas. Listing your home as soon as possible, though, is the right thing to do, if you want to be ready for the spring buying season. 

In the UK, for example, with the election in May, buyers are expected to start hunting for houses even earlier than normal to beat the financial uncertainty of a potential new government.

If you need your spirits lifting, though, or your property needs a boost to attract more buyers, here are six secrets to beat the January selling blues.

1. Pricing is the key

No matter what people tell you, pricing your property correctly is the key to securing a buyer: more than anything else, a realistic value will be the determining factor in someone signing on the dotted line. Be sure to research the local market, then, and find the fairest price possible. That may not be the price you initially imagined, but over-pricing is a sure-fire way to get the January blues.

2. You can always change your estate agent

Once people have signed up with an estate agent, they tend to think that is it. No luck with a buyer? Too late. You have already signed up with an estate agent. But this is not true: it is never too late to change estate agents. In fact, switching can give your property a much-needed new lease of life, especially if it has been on the market for a while. Choose your agent carefully, comparing not just prices but where they list their properties - and, of course, their success rates.

3. Floor plans are a secret weapon

When was the last time you saw a property listing with a detailed floor plan? They are surprisingly rare, despite providing buyers with a very useful overview of what the property is like - especially compared to some of the bad property photos that are relatively common. If you do one thing this year to make your property stand out, create a floor plan.

4. Paperwork can be sorted now

You do not have to wait until the conveyancing period starts to arrange your legal paperwork: you can get started now with your solicitor to make sure everything is in order. A draft contract can be prepared ready for a buyer to sign, with only minor details needing to be changed depending on their offer. Do this now, rather than later, and not only will your eventually selling process be much quicker, your January will feel twice as productive.

5. Planning permission can boost your property price

People often talk about making home improvements to boost their property price, from loft extensions to new kitchens. But work does not have to be done to increase your home's value: obtaining planning permission for that all-important DIY project, saving any new owner the hassle involved, can be enough to convince a buyer to raise their sum.

6. People will tell you their financial conditions... if asked

People will tell you their financial conditions, if you ask them: do not be afraid to insist on financial references from potential buyers ot ensure that your time is not wasted by someone who will only have their mortgage application refused further down the line. Do not tell them your financial problems, though, especially if you are trying to sell the home to recover debt: it will only risk making you appear desperate. The focus should be on the home, not the person putting it on the market.


Photo: Pawsitive Candie N

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    Carol McDonald