With winter well underway, many homeowners are preparing to batten down the hatches and wait for the warm weather to return before putting their house on the market. This is because winter is generally not considered to be the best time to sell, as buyers are less likely to spend cold weekends inspecting homes and attending auctions. Not to mention homes and their gardens often don’t look their best during dark colder months.
However, winter doesn’t dampen the housing market as much as you might think. With fewer homes on the market in the colder months, there is less competition and greater demand among buyers. This may give you the opportunity to negotiate a higher sale price and to show off the cosy features of your home.
Here are four things to consider before putting your home up for sale during winter.
Make a good first impression – it’s all about kerb appeal!
Finder.com.au surveyed 1,035 people and found that 47 per cent of Aussies will have already decided whether they like a property or not upon entering the front door. This makes strong kerb appeal and an attractive front entrance critical to securing interest in your property.
Fixing any loose roof tiles, cleaning out overflowing gutters and other common winter household chores can make your home appear much more inviting and cleaner even on a rainy day. It will also give buyers confidence that your home is durable and can withstand a heavy downpour. Make sure your lawn is mowed and your garden is tidy and well maintained. This will give the impression that your home is similarly clean and well looked after on the inside. Also, don’t underestimate the impact of a fresh lick of paint on the exterior or a cheerful shade on the front door. This can add vibrancy to your exterior and make your home appear more welcoming.
Let the light in.
Our Australian winter days are shorter with the sun sitting lower in the north. Make the most of this warm natural lighting by letting the light flow into all north-facing aspects of your home. Open up the curtains and clean your windows to make the most of the sunlight. Also be sure to fix any lose window frames so that buyers don’t feel any cold drafts coming through. Use lighting within your home to contribute to a warm and calming glow. Turn on lamps in any dark corners and utilise mirrors to make small rooms appear bigger and lighter.
Turn up the heat & appeal to the senses.
There's nothing better than escaping a cold winter's day and walking into a warm welcoming home. Make sure the heating features of your home are working well and are showcased when buyers are inspecting your home. Set the heat at a comfortable temperature (not too hot) and highlight features such as underfloor heating, heated towel racks, fire pits and open fireplaces. Instead of using artificial scents throughout your home, try having a cake baking in the oven as buyers walk through. This familiar and yummy aroma can create a sense of hominess and warmth.
Putting a few extra plush cushions on your lounge and some warm blankets over the ends of the beds can also add an element of cosiness to your home. Styling timber or tiled floors with rugs in winter can soften the look of your rooms and also help to hold in the heat inside for longer.
Show off the year-round use of your outdoor areas.
A seasonal outdoor entertaining area is an important aspect of a home for many Aussie buyers. Putting your home on the market in winter is the perfect way for you to showcase your home’s outdoor areas that can be used in both winter and summer months. Make sure you hose down the deck, sweep paths and rake up dead leaves before buyers enter your backyard. Having plants that flower during winter will also make your outdoor living space look vibrant and inviting, even on a cold day.
Turn on your outdoor heating features, such as a fire, gas heater or barbecue, to create a feeling of warmth. Roll down any waterproof blinds in your alfresco dining area and add some cushions to the seating areas to make the space look cosy and usable year round.
Whilst the best time to sell will ultimately depend on your individual circumstances, don’t underestimate the housing market in winter. With the right preparation, your home can sell for a great price during this off-peak season.
Bessie Hassan is a Money Expert at finder.com.au, the site that compares virtually everything. She regularly appears on national radio, TV, and throughout online publications sharing her best money-saving tips and property advice. She's passionate about helping Australians make more informed decisions so they can improve their quality of life.
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