Tradition tells us winter is a difficult time to sell: it’s easy to think that buyers are staying at home and waiting to buy when the days warm up again.
But, while the fire crackles, wine is mulled and chestnuts are roasted, the most common reasons for buying and selling property continue to occur. People will still have job changes, promotions, pregnancies, marriages and bereavements. They’ll still need to upsize, downsize, change location or move for financial reasons. Rain, hail or snow, people always need to buy and sell houses.
In fact, some places in New Zealand actually report more real estate activity in the colder months.
In June 2016, Wanaka recorded its highest median value of the year at $989,000. In August 2016, Queenstown reported the most sales in a month for years. In August the year before, Alexandra saw the highest median dwelling price of the year while main centres like Dunedin experience huge demand all year round, no matter the season.
“Many people are under the impression that it’s no use trying to sell in winter,” says Harcourts Otago CEO Kelvin Collins.
“But there are actually several advantages. On a national level, there are fewer properties available, so buyers who need to move quickly are more likely to compromise on certain aspects of their preferred home. The need to move quickly can mean they’re willing to pay more for the right place, and they’re also more likely to be genuine buyers.”
“On top of that,” says Kelvin, “Cold days bring more people to our open homes — the rest of the year, they’re enjoying the sun in their own gardens.”
“And winter can cause people to realise they’re not content with their own property — maybe it’s not warm enough, not comfortable enough or the location isn’t ideal when it’s snowy or icy.”
So selling in winter can be a success, and there are certainly a few tricks to help make it so. Here are our top tips to make your home extra appealing in winter:
- Make sure your fire is crackling away at inspection time, is stoked with firewood and has a clean chimney. It’ll make the home warm and inviting.
- Air your home the day before the inspection by leaving windows open for a few hours, making sure mustiness and cooking smells are totally cleared.
- If you have heat pumps and portable heaters, pre-heat your home then pack them away for a clean and tidy look when visitors arrive.
- Position winter essentials like stylish blankets, quilts and cushions in appropriate places throughout the home to add a feeling of cosiness.
- Choose your open home and private inspection times to coincide with the best light and sun. For example, an east-facing living room may enjoy the best light first thing in the morning.
- Make sure your windows and doors are clean to allow as much light as possible to stream in.
- Bake a cake or brew some coffee just before inspection time — there’s nothing better than a familiar homey smell.
- Consider buying some potted plants to add a splash of life and colour to your garden. And take the time to remove weeds and moss, especially from pathways.
When you’re thinking about the best time to sell, look at market conditions rather than the weather forecast. Speak to your sales consultant, focus on the market and present your home to its best. We’ll help you achieve a successful sale result no matter where the mercury’s sitting, so get in touch if you’re thinking about selling.
And don’t forget to sign up for our free, no obligation home appraisal if you’d like to know how much your home is worth right now.