Winter typically tends to be a quieter time for the property market – but this year could be different.
Official figures show the average UK house price hit a new high of £239,000 in August and the market has been busy – in part due to buyers looking for places where they have more space to work from home, as a result of the pandemic.
Buyers are also looking to snap up homes before a temporary stamp duty cut introduced in England and Northern Ireland ends on March 31, 2021.
Similar temporary reductions have also been introduced for the land and buildings transaction tax in Scotland and the land transaction tax in Wales.
And while there’s no single solution to guarantee a sale on your home, there are ways to make sure your property stands out – and putting in some preparation can make a huge difference.
Boost the chance of selling your home this winter
Here, Sam Mitchell, CEO of online estate agent Strike.co.uk, shares some tips for how to boost your chances of selling your home this winter…
1. Maximise your online presence
Do some due diligence and consider your options on how to sell over the winter months. Online agents can get your house on the market within hours, so there’ll be no delays. During the colder and shorter winter days, people might be more hesitant to view lots of properties. The pandemic may also make physical property visits difficult at times too.
So, first impressions online – including great photography – couldn’t be more important. Online agents are experts in how to make your listing stand out.
If you choose to sell via an online estate agent, you will also have access to online support agents throughout the festive period for any questions or viewings you want to organise. You may also find you save some money too by going online, which will be handy at Christmas.
2. Price realistically
Price is often the single biggest factor in how quickly a home sells. Do your research and get ahead by pricing competitively. An overly high price can put off buyers, but a competitive price can trigger offers above the asking price – and even biddings wars in a hot market.
If your property has been on the market for a while and you’re determined to sell before Christmas, you might want to consider lowering your price expectations slightly. When you change the price of an online listing, an email gets sent to all potential buyers on the portals which can be a good way to capture attention.
Also, people often search online in price bands. If you are priced at the top of a particular band, this could help you appear at the top of searches. Alternatively, you could also refresh your listing by simply re-ordering the images of your house to help it appear as a new listing.
3. Be the ultimate host
You only get one chance to make a first impression. So put the heating on or light the fire to make sure your home is as warm and cosy as possible from the moment your visitors walk in from the winter cold.
If possible, have a place near the entrance to store coats, hats, scarves or boots, to avoid visitors walking around in damp clothes or muddy shoes.
Share why you love your home with buyers. Even if coronavirus restrictions mean the buyer is conducting a virtual viewing online rather than a physical viewing, or you aren’t present, the advice still applies. Ensure the virtual tour shows your property and consider offering a phone call to discuss anything that might help the sale.
4. Dress up (your house) for the occasion
If you’re organising viewings closer to Christmas, dress your home for the festive season. But if you don’t want to go very Christmassy, fairy lights will still make your home cosy and welcoming as will warm furnishings and candles.
Focus on the first room viewers will see. It should be de-cluttered, smelling fresh, and giving a ‘wow’ factor.
5. Don’t neglect the garden
Kerb appeal is key, as buyers’ minds can be made up in seconds. It’s easy to neglect the garden in winter. But clearing leaves, weeding, storing away patio furniture, and ensuring outside lighting is working can help. Plus, outdoor space is more appealing than ever right now.
6. Get your paperwork in order
Create a folder with the documents you need. That might be mortgage documents, as well as energy and appliance certificates and planning permission documents.
Stay in regular contact with your estate agent to check buyer feedback so you can make changes if needed. A good estate agent will keep you in the loop and guide you throughout.
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