8 Ways To Prepare Your Home For A Winter Sale
Traditionally the winter property market is quieter as many vendors choose to wait for the warmer months before listing their home for sale. However, this year as a result of COVID-19, we are seeing the number of listings steadily rise across many of our offices. With a level of uncertainty as to what may happen post September when the various stimulus packages and loan deferment plans end, many homeowners are opting to list their property now. Winter 2020 is fast becoming the new spring market.
If you are looking to sell over the next few months, here are 8 ways to prepare your home for a winter sale to ensure it appeals to the greatest number of active buyers possible.
1. Brighten your curb appeal
Curb appeal is more than simply what a home looks like. It is an important marketing tool when you are trying to sell your property. Curb appeal sets expectations. Prospective buyers often do a drive by a property before deciding if they will come in for an inspection and they are more inclined to come back if they like what they see on the outside.
Improving the exterior of your property may not be as exciting as trying to figure out how to cosy up your family room, but in many ways, it is more important.
Here are some simple ideas to help you get started:
- Cut back overgrown planting that may block the views of the front door or spill over any pathways or public pavements
- Sweep the pathway outside the front of your property and if you have an on-street planter or grass verge in front of your property, make sure that it is tidy and free of weeds
- Trim any shrubs and bushes, mow the lawn and remove any dead or dying plants
- Ensure the number of your property is clearly visible from the street, trim any branches that might block it from view and if there is a light check the globe is working
- Get rid of dirt and cobwebs on the fence. If it’s looking really tired, consider painting the fence, letterbox and even the front door. Some hardware stores are currently still open so this may still be possible
- Clean all your windows and remove any cobwebs
- Add some winter flowing plants to the front garden or in pots on a balcony
2. Cosy up the home
Warmth is key in winter and nothing helps create a feeling of cosiness more than a fire. If you have a gas or wood burning fireplace, consider featuring it in one of your listing photos, even having it in the background sends the right ‘cosy’ message to potential buyers. And of course, during open for inspections make sure the fire is lit to welcome visitors.
If you don’t have a fireplace not to worry, simply ensure the heaters are on low for open for inspections. There is nothing like stepping in from the winter cold into a warm home to create an instant welcome feeling. It’s this connection to a property that buyers remember.
Additionally, add some warm throws over the sofa and the ends of beds along, with some winter toned cushions to create that cosy feeling throughout the property.
If you have tiles, floorboards or concrete floors, consider adding a few rugs. They are an easy and effective way to take the chill out under foot and visually tie a room together.
3. Make the most of your lighting
Depending on where you live and the aspect of your home, you may not have as much light as you would like over the winter months. Light is an important feature to many buyers, so it’s a good idea to maximise what is available.
Spend some time cleaning all your windows to ensure any light there is can come streaming into the property and make sure all your blinds, curtains and shutters are open during both the inspections and the photo shoot.
During open homes and for the photo shoot, turn on all the lights in the property, and if you need a bit more, consider placing spotlights on the floor behind furniture.
4. Show how your outdoor space can be used during winter
Just because it is winter, it doesn’t mean that us Aussies need to be couped up inside. Buyers love to be able to see how they can use a property during every season.
If you have an outside table and seating area, add an outdoor rug, some layered cushions and throws to make your outdoor space feel like a lounge room.
Outdoor heating is essential in winter. If you have a fire pit have this stacked as though it is ready to use for open homes. It’s best not to light during the open homes in case of accidents. If you have an outdoor heater turn that on for open home inspections and even consider opening garden umbrellas to create a festive feel.
5. Highlight areas that will appeal in winter
Highlighting a media room, playrooms, gyms or useable attic space is a good idea in winter. Showing how a buyer can use the property regardless of the weather can be a strong selling feature. Remove all clutter in these spaces and if needed, reposition the furniture to create a flow for buyers to walk through.
6. Fix the obvious issues
With winter comes rain and more extreme weather. Ensuring any home repairs are taken care of before listing it for sale is important as you don’t want a broken tile to cause a leak as the buyers are walking through your property.
Here is a quick list to help explain what we mean here:
- Replace any chipped or broken tiles and re-grout if needed
- Repair leaky pipes including down pipes
- Cover and patch any holes on your walls
- Repair the doors that don’t swing easily. You might need to lubricate the hinges or make minor alterations
- Replace cracked mirrors or glass
- If the front gate doesn't open properly, fix it
- Replace dim light bulbs
- Keep in mind you may need to hire expert tradespeople to address some of these issues, so allow enough time between planning your home for sale, and your open home campaign
7. Choose the best time for open for inspections
Winter brings less sunlight hours during the day, so make sure you plan your open home time when your home will get the best sunlight.
Alternatively, if your home gets good winter sun, this should be a key feature of your sale and you should show this off.
If you’re lucky enough to live near the waterfront, plan your inspection time around the high tide time. If you live near a school, choose a time out of school pick up times to avoid traffic congestion and noise and if your property has magical city views, twilight viewing are a must.
8. Consider hiring a professional to help you stage your property
Presentation is a critical part of the selling process. Whilst it is not guaranteed, we have seen styling a property for sale add up to 5% - 10% to sale a price. Of course, you don’t need to hire a professional, however they can help transform a property to ensure it appeals to a wider market. Whether it be decluttering, removing furniture, personal items, paintings, or repositioning furniture to create an easy flow for buyers, professionals can really help give your property that wow factor.
A final word
Winter can be a great time to sell your property. Competition is often lower, and demand is often high. As a result of the pandemic, winter 2020 is fast becoming the new spring market. If you are considering selling your property during the next couple of months, we hope these steps have helped highlight what you can do to prepare your property for sale.
Of course, every property is different, and your local McGrath Real Estate agent has a wealth of knowledge about what your local buyers are looking for and how best to position your property to appeal to them during the colder months. They would love to share their additional insight with you. To find your local McGrath Real Estate Agent click here.
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