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 (like moving house) at the start of a new year.
However, you may need to be prepared for some fierce competition from buyers and sellers of a similar mindset.
Our estate agents say getting your own house, and finances, in order can often put you ahead of the game.
If you are selling, and have chosen your agents and agreed a realistic selling price:
- First impressions/kerb appeal. The approach to your house is really important, and the outside of your property is the first thing potential buyers will see. Paint and repair any weather beaten gates and replace any frost bitten or dead plants with some colourful seasonal bedding plants.
An outside door mat is not only welcoming to visitors, but shows you care about those little extras – as does a working doorbell and gleaming outside light. Make sure you sweep away any cobwebs or leaves from the porch.
- Keep it cosy. A warm and well-heated home will ensure that viewers take their time to look around. If you are expecting a viewing, make sure you allow enough time for your house to warm up. Buyers will most certainly be interested in how the heating system works and how the rest of the home is insulated to keep out the cold. Highlight any energy efficient aspect of your home, including draught and loft insulation.
- Run an open house. Speak to your estate agent about holding an open house event. Buyers will often brave the cold if they are serious about moving house, although the prospect of walking the streets looking at properties in the cold isn’t that 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 , who will be grateful for your offer of a warm drink and a slice of homemade cake – and may even put them in the mood to make you an offer!
- Lighten up! It is essential that your home is well lit, particularly with the current darker days. Without much natural light or sunshine at this time of year, it is down to the seller to help brighten up the house to show it off at its best.
Switch lights or table lamps on in rooms during viewings, and make sure blinds and curtains are well pulled back. Safety conscious buyers may also be impressed by outside and security lights, so invest in those if you can.
The Nottingham’s Head of Estate Agency Su Snaith said: “We know that there are some really serious buyers out there, who have set themselves a goal of moving early in 2016.
“A welcoming home with well thought-out attention to detail, and sellers going that extra mile, could clinch that all important offer.”
As well as ensuring your home looks attractive (as a seller), there are other checks that can help with a smooth move for both parties:
- Get your finances in check so you’re ready to start discussing selling and legal fees, as well as any moving costs. Speak to your estate agent about your options and seek advice on finding a mortgage.
- Prepare an inventory of items that you are including or not including in the sale of the property. For instance, curtain poles and light fittings.
- Dig out all the documents, guarantees or certificates you have relating to the property, no matter how trivial they seem. In addition, any building work will result in you needing to produce building regulations and planning permissions, as well as the relevant completion certificate for the work.
- Conveyancing. This is the legal act of transferring a property from one person to another, which has to legally be carried out by a solicitor or licensed conveyancer. Solicitors can prepare all the necessary documentation to reduce the time from offer to exchange. The longer the process takes, the more likely the sale may fall through.
Su added: “When homeowners consider moving home, the first thing that often comes to mind is getting their property looking perfect for potential buyers. But there’s a lot more ‘behind-the-scenes’ work that should be done too, especially to accelerate a sale.
“Legally preparing a house for sale can make the process run a lot more smoothly and to make that happen homeowners must talk to their estate agents. It’s important that people keep on top of their finances from the moment they decide it’s time for them to sell their home.
“Our estate agents are proud of the fantastic relationship we develop with our customers. It means homeowners can pop in and discuss the sale (or purchase) of their property with confidence, knowing they are talking to experts who are always welcoming. That extends to offering them advice on their financial and legal requirements regarding their relocation.”
If you are considering selling your house come in and talk to our estate agency team or if you're thinking about selling, why not take advantage of our free valuation service.