Winter is almost upon us. The nights are closing in, frost glistens on the windscreen each morning, the boiler rumbles into life after snoozing through those summer months and the cats will no longer go out at night. 

It all sounds very romantic but when it comes to selling or letting your home, is it a time to be concerned about? Lets have a look at some areas in which sellers and landlords need to pay attention to if they are going to make hay while the sun isn't shining.

People selling their homes often worry about the latter part of the year. Asking quesitons like 'is it a good time to sell?', 'do people want to buy in winter?', 'are there any tips to help sell in winter?' and so on. Everyone has an opinion on everything, so we can only speak from our own experiances. What we can tell you from the last few years is that we do not now see a huge drop off in selling numbers over the festive/winter period. We put this down to the technological advancements in online marketing and the buyers ability to engage quicker, easier and from anywhere. On that basis, people who are wanting to buy, will buy, regardless of the time of year as they can access all of the information quickly, and see the house in its glory when the sun was shining, even if they view it on a dark cold night. 

Also, people do buy in the winter months because they want to get a head start on the new year. Having that security of a home under offer waiting for them to move into in the new year can be quite relaxing and exciting and allows them to enjoy the festive period and plan ahead rather than rushing to the market in the new year when everyone has the same idea. Selllers can also gain an advantage too, buyers braving the cold to view are typically quite motivated to buy something and you are unlikely to have 'window shoppers' browsing and wanting to see how the kitchen is laid out.

 

Five tips to getting sold in the winter - 

 1. Keep the heating on! Its the time to make the house cosy and warm, creating a snug space that people can see themselves living in.

2. Try and have some external lighting. Buyers walking upto a dark house, unable to see the door or pathway may get a little spooked. Security is always high on the agenda. 

3. Snow is the markets worst enemy. If it does snow, do your best to clear the paths. But if the snow on your roof is melting and next doors isn't - invest in some insulation!

4. Consider a launch just before xmas. Did you know, the highest number of online searches happen on Boxing day!!

5. Make yourself or your house available for daytime viewings. Its more likely that someone will offer sooner if they can see what they are buying!

Landlords. Much of the above stands when trying to let your home in the winter months. Problems can arise as some landlords are distant and may not live in the same area. Ensure your managing agent is able to set your heating on a low, or the frost setting. Or, if your property is empty and it is really cold - have a plumber drain it down. What you really do not need is a burst pipe causing major damage. When a property is empty, it can become damp and stale quickly, expecially is there is no heating so you may have to accept a bit of a bigger bill. 

Demand for rental property rarely dips in thhe current market place. Typically, if a home is struggling to let, it is likely to be the price or condition. The follwing tips will help if you find you have an empty property needing a new tenant in the depths of the winter months. 

1. Keep it warm - it proves to a potential tenant that the heating works! But it also protects the house from damp and staleness.

2. Keep it lit. why do so many rental properties have missing bulbs! Make sure people viewing can see where they are going and what they are looking at. Plus, a lamp on a timer helps with security if the house is empy.

3. Maintain your rental home as you would your own. Little things like drafts, leaks or slipped tiles on the roof can lead to larger problems with unpredictable weather. 

4. Price your property correctly within the location and market you are trying to let in. Each week it remains empty, the less your annula income becomes. 

5. Ensure you have an accredited, professional and competant managing letting agent who can service and maintain your home if you are not around to do so. 

 

So with that said, you shouldnt have any issue with selling or letting your home. Now to sit back and wait for Santa.......!

 

Source - David Bruckert ANAEA Partner Hawkins Estate Agents