Should I avoid putting my home on the market in winter?

Published by Paula Higgins on 28 December 2018.
Last updated on 28 December 2018

Q

Is there a best time of year to sell? Is it a mistake to put our property on the market in the winter, in darker months?

A

This is a question we get quite a lot at this time of year. Homeowners who are looking to sell generally ask us whether they should sit tight until spring. And that is understandable. It is widely accepted that spring is the best time to sell. Unlike the summer, potential buyers aren’t likely to be on holiday and, unlike the winter months, they will not be distracted by Christmas festivities or put off house hunting by the cold weather.

That said, if you are keen to sell there is nothing stopping you listing your property now. This is particularly the case when you consider that the Brexit deadline falls slap-bang in the middle of spring 2019, which may leave some buyers a little jittery about buying.

While there may be fewer buyers during the winter months, due to the dark nights and colder weather, there will still be people looking to buy and all you need is one buyer who loves your house to get that sale. Indeed, the festive season can actually be a great time to sell. According to Rightmove, last Christmas there were over three million visits to the site across Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

Rather than worry about the dark nights and cold weather, use them to your advantage, embrace the current hygge trend and make sure your home is cosy and welcoming for guests. Opt for low, atmospheric lighting, layered soft furnishings and have a real fire burning (if you have one) when potential buyers come for viewings. Do not use photos of your property with decorations up for marketing materials. Once Christmas is over most of us are sick of the sight of our festive decorations.

Give yourself the best chance of selling by choosing your estate agent carefully. Don’t just look at their commission or fee, check out their performance. HomeOwners Alliance has a free comparison tool EstateAgent4Me to help you compare agents in your area by factors such as the fees they will charge; the average time they’ll take to sell your property; how close they’re likely to get to your asking price; and how successful they are at selling homes like yours. You can also compare online agents at Hoa.org.uk/advice/guides-for-homeowners/i-am-selling/compare-online-estate-agents.

This article was written in response to a reader’s question. If you have a financial or work/career question that has left you scratching your head ask our panel of experts who will aim to shine some light on the matter.

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