Winter is coming..
Well that’s it.
The clocks went back, the trees really are shedding their coats (and what a lovely view that always is) and the temperature is steadily dropping. Not to mention the various media reports of a bitter cold front and inches of snow coming our way. Actually, perhaps that’ll guarantee a BBQ winter this year, but who knows. It is inevitable, winter is coming.
So, how does that affect people wanting to sell their property?
Actually very little. Although the property market isn’t as busy during the darker months as it during the rest of the year, there are some advantages to going on the market at this time of year. For starters the market is less busy. There are fewer properties for you to compete with. And with the longer nights, people are inside more, and that means high internet usage rates. When’s the last time you cuddled in front of the fire with loved ones and no one was on a tablet or mobile? #holidaysarecoming. Thanks Coca Cola.
Showing a property in winter gives potential buyers an opportunity to see how well insulated it is and if you’re lucky, how lovely it looks in the snow. Because everything looks lovely in the snow.
Darker nights means opportunities for amazing lighting indoors and that proper homely feel, with an open fire and chestnuts roasting. Remember, we’re appealing to emotion when we sell. Floor plans are great, but the smell of warming Glühwein speaks volumes.
And remember, all the things that lead people to buy – a new job, a growing family, up- or downsizing, etc. happen all year round. There are still plenty of buyers out there. Rightmove have reported 500,000 visits over Christmas, rising to 1.3M on Boxing Day and January 2015 saw traffic hit 100 million!
So, should you decide to go against the grain and go on to the market, what should you look out for? Here’s some basic tips.
Lighting. Ensure you have the right (amount) of lighting. We’re selling on emotion, so set the mood. Little or no sunshine means no natural light, so let’s compensate. If you have a fireplace, natural or gas, have it on. If you live in a less than lovely neighbourhood ensure you have security lighting, to give a safe feeling. Turn off TVs and computers, use soft lights.
Welcome people with warmth. As mentioned, have the fireplace going, and/or the heating on. The last thing you want is cold visitors. Besides the hospitality aspect of that, buyers will be interested (consciously or sub consciously) in how well your house heats up in winter. That doesn’t mean run it all the time, we can’t always afford that, but do ensure the house is warm before a viewer arrives.
Make it smell like family. Cookies in the oven, mulled wine on the stove, even potpourri. We have five senses, let’s use them all. Have dogs? Taken them for a walk? We don’t want wet dog smell, so make sure they’ve been cleaned up.
Protect your floors! People will be traipsing in with leaves, ice, slush or rain. Put down rubber mats and maybe even offer one size fits all comfy slippers. You know it makes sense!
Play a little music. Christmas carols, the closer to Christmas it is, otherwise jazz or classical. Softly. In the background. It’s mood setting, not a concert.
Remind people of the other times of the years. Put up pictures of your garden in bloom, or kids playing outside.
And, of course, have an open house. None of these things will work unless you actually get people into your home. Pictures paint a thousand words, but sight, smell and touch also sell.
As always, please do get in touch if you have any questions, or need any assistance.
Featured image – Bert Kaufmann