Date Published 19 January 2012
Winter is often seen as a low-point for property sales but there can be advantages to buying or selling a property in these months.
"There are fewer homes for sale in the winter but also fewer buyers which means less competition for both parties," said NAEA President, Wendy Evans Scott.
Figures from NAEA members indicate that the number of active house buyers tends to decline during the winter months, but that, in the current economic climate, the number of homes available for purchase and the number of sales agreed remains fairly constant throughout the year - even during the winter months.
While the number of properties available remains reasonably stable, the winter months can provide an opportune moment for buyers to focus their property search. For those willing to brave the chill, the winter market can also bring a greater sense of commitment from both sides to complete the sale, as people tend to make life-changing decisions in the New Year."
NAEA tips for selling your home during the winter:
* First impressions count: the outside of your house is the first thing that potential buyers will see, and in the winter front gardens and paths can look particularly drab. Make sure your front garden is up to scratch by painting any weather-beaten walls and replacing any frost-bitten plants;
* Run an open house: buyers can often be put off house hunting during the coldest months, as the prospect of walking the streets looking at properties is not appealing. However, sellers can make this work to their advantage by running well-advertised open-house days during the winter. This will help attract committed and focused buyers, who will be grateful for your offer of a warm drink and a slice of home-made cake
* Keep it warm: it's simple but important - make sure that your home is well-heated while viewings are taking place. Plus, allow time for the house to warm up. If you know you're going to be rushing home from work to oversee a viewing, it's a good idea to set the heating timer so it comes on an hour before the buyer arrives. Buyers will also be interested in how well the heating system works, so if you have a particularly cold room it could be worth ensuring it is better insulated during the winter chill;
* Check your lights: another simple tip is to ensure your home is lit well. Buyers will be even more attuned to the mood of the house in winter, and without much sunshine to brighten things up it's important that you make sure all your bulbs are working to show off your home at its best. Safety-conscious buyers may also be impressed by outside lights and security lights, so invest in those if you are able.
Lesters Wallingford and Didcot Offices are active members of The National Association of Estate Agents.