Should I Sell My Home in Winter, or Wait For Spring?

Tony Buckwell
September 4, 2019

At around this time of the year, I am regularly asked this question by clients considering selling – “Should we bring our home to the market now, or wait until spring?”

Real estate is fundamentally no different to any commodity sale. The market price for any product can be strongly influenced by the age old battle between supply and demand.

What I have noticed is that during the peak winter months (June/July/August), the supply of available homes falls away significantly as the autumn listings clear and many owners choose to defer their marketing campaign until the arrival of spring.

This has the net result of reducing the number of available options for buyers looking to move to a particular area through the middle of the year. This smaller pool of property provides an excellent environment for drawing more buyers to anyone who is ready and willing to sell. Increased buyer demand is one of the key elements to driving a strong selling result (price).

So, to summarise the advice I provide to my clients who are weighing up their options around timing, I say to them:

“If you want to sell now and your property is ready to be marketed, don’t delay. Strong selling results are often achieved by owners who take advantage of the reduced availability of other properties during the winter. Rather than waiting to enter the market at the same time as the wave of new listings we always experience in September – mid December, why not act now and use the drop in supply over winter to your advantage?”

Property preparation for a winter marketing campaign:

Apart from all the usual things that I always recommend a home owner to attend to when preparing their home for sale, here are a few tips from me which are extra important for a winter marketing campaign:

Natural light is at a premium during the shorter days of the year. I recommend you follow these few tips to ensure your property still presents as a bright & welcoming home:

Natrual Light
  • Trim back large trees & shrubs from around the home to ensure as much light as possible can filter through. This is especially important on the northern side of your property.
  • Thoroughly clean all windows and skylights (inside & out). It is surprising how much light can be lost as a result of dirty glass.
  • During viewings, have all your window dressings as open as possible.
  • Ensure every light in your home is working & switch them on during viewings. If the ones you have are low wattage, upgrade them to the maximum safe wattage allowed for each light unit.
  • Dark walls, carpets & furnishings will exaggerate the low light feeling experienced during winter. Providing bright & modern colours and furnishings can significantly improve the ‘light & open feeling’ of an interior space (this is where the assistance of a home staging consultant can pay dividends)
  • Set your viewing times carefully. Assess when the best time of day is for providing the maximum natural light levels. This is when you should schedule your open homes and private viewing appointments.

Certain home maintenance issues can be a lot more evident during the winter months. It is worth attending to these specific areas:

  • Assess the exterior of your home and attend to any maintenance issues which may be detrimental in wet weather. Pay particularly attention to the roof, cladding, and window & door joinery.
  • Moss & mold – treat any pathways, stairs & decks that may be slippery when wet.
  • Water blast dirty & slippery exterior surfaces.
  • Clear roof gutters. These can block easily after the autumn leaf drop and it is not a good look having the gutters over-flowing if it is raining during a viewing!
  • Check that your property drains are clear & functioning well. Buyers are definitely put off by water ‘ponding’ due to drains not doing their job properly.

Create a warm & dry environment inside your home:

  • It is very important to ventilate a home during the winter. Open your windows regularly to create air flow.
  • If you have a home ventilation system (HRV, DVS etc) check that it is set to winter mode. The ventilation requirements of your home change with the seasons.
  • If you have a heat pump or fireplace, warm the home up before a viewing if it is a cold day. A warm home is far more welcoming than a fridge!

Buyers gain a huge amount of confidence when they view a home at the ‘worst time of the year’ and it is still presenting well. Paying attention to the areas I have covered can pay dividends by engaging more buyers with your home.

I hope you have gained a few useful tips from this blog. If you do intend to sell over the coming winter, I wish you the best of fortune and invite you to contact me if there is anything I can assist you with.

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