Winter is traditionally seen as the most undesirable season in which to transact property, with many agents counselling sellers to wait for more complementary spring months when the sun is shining and gardens are in bloom.
But can we really reduce the buying and selling of real estate to a question of whether the weather will be kind to us?
Isn’t it more about the needs of both vendors and purchasers at any given time, irrespective of the elements?
I spoke with Hocking Stuart Sandringham’s leading female estate agent and seasoned (pardon the intentional pun!) industry expert Jenny Dwyer, for her insight and advice on buying and selling success in the winter months.
Do what feels right for you
While sellers naturally want to present their property in its best light in order to gain maximum traction in the market, the most important consideration when timing the listing of your property is you.
If you need to sell at a particular time, for a particular reason and that just happens to be in winter then, as Jenny explains, the onus is on the agent you engage to advise and guide you in the most favourable presentation and marketing approach for your property at that time.
“Typically a lot of people hold off into the latter part of the year with spring looming, but my advice to people is always sell when it feels right. And the winter sales can often be a wonderful time to put your house on the market,” says Jenny.
“It’s incumbent upon us as agents to ensure that we give our owners the correct advice in terms of what they need to do.”
Present your property as a winter wonderland
So how do you maximise the saleability of your home in winter?
Jenny suggests presentation and timing is key to a successful mid-year marketing campaign, with the colder months providing the perfect opportunity to showcase a cosy space that makes buyers forget the outside winter gloom.
“So maybe running an open house at times when the natural light is at its very best,” suggests Jenny.
This means accounting for the effect that winter’s naturally shorter days and lower sun will have on the property and perhaps adding more vibrant colours to a darker or neutral décor to give rooms that extra lift.
“You always make sure that homes are warm and welcoming and typically, recommend to owners – especially if they have deciduous gardens – to try and have as much colour as they can by planting annuals or plants that flower in the winter months.”
Winter sellers who recognise the potential presentation pitfalls and are happy to adjust their approach accordingly, can actually take advantage of this historically quieter phase of the market says Jenny.
“There are buyers around all year. I think those days of selling in spring have long gone and this is really a market that is at play 12 months of the year.”
In fact holding off on the sale of your property until Spring, when we often see a glut of properties hit the books all at once due to sellers waiting out winter, means more choice for purchasers and therefore, more bargaining power.
Conversely, selling your home around June, July and August, when a lack of new listing activity creates the feeling of a cyclical market lull, can potentially put sellers in a more powerful negotiating position and create a sense of greater competition among active buyers.
“I certainly would encourage people to avoid holding off until October or November just because there’s a general belief that it’s the best time to sell,” says Jenny.
“Often prices will plateau (in Spring) because volumes are very high and buyers have more choice, so the supply and demand line is skewed very heavily in favour of buyers at that time of the year.”
The facts is, clever vendors who recognise the importance of engaging a great agent and taking their counsel as to what the market looks for in any given area, will inevitably come out on top and realise sales success, come rain, hail or shine!