Common wisdom suggests trying to avoid selling your home in winter. Spring and summer – when the sun (should be) is shining, the days are longer and gardens are often at their most beautiful – are traditionally the busiest time of year to bring a property to market.
But while this may be the busiest time of year, it’s not necessarily the best. The market may become over saturated and it can sometimes be difficult for a property to stand out from the crowd. So opting for January could prove a sensible move. The wheels of work are well and truly back in motion after the Christmas break and eager buyers who struggled to secure a deal in the December wind-down are lying in wait.
Town centre properties in particular tend to do well at this time because the streets are usually well lit and there’s less garden to keep tidy. But even properties in countryside locations continue to attract interest.
Fewer properties on the market means less competition and those who are looking tend to be serious about taking the plunge – so there are some very motivated buyers out there.
By getting in early you can beat the rush. Some of our best deals happen at the start of the year.
Tips for selling your home in January
- Offer a warm welcome
Turn the winter gloom into a positive and make your home a cosy refuge from the cold. If the property isn’t lived in then be sure to keep the heating on low at all times or turn it on just before a viewing – empty properties can soon feel cold and unwelcoming. Keeping the heating on also avoids freezing pipes. On a dull day check all your bulbs before anyone arrives for a viewing – it’s a small thing that can count for a lot. Offering a hot drink probably won’t go amiss either.
- Be flexible
Potential buyers will want to see your home in daylight but with shorter days and busy lifestyles this can be tricky. It’s therefore important to be as flexible as possible with viewings. Being available at weekends will increase your chances of finding the perfect buyer.
- Promote your home’s best features
It sounds obvious but make sure you show off the rooms where potential buyers and tenants are most likely to spend their time. This is typically the kitchen and breakfast room, dining room and reception areas. While it's not always essential to redecorate or restyle throughout the property, focusing on how these rooms are presented really can make all the difference.
- Remove any doubt
Many people are time poor and want a home that isn't going to be high maintenance. Fix any damp patches, superficial cracks in plaster or stains on ceilings or walls left by previous leaks. Such things are typically inexpensive to remedy but can be off-putting and used to negotiate a lower price.
- Don’t forget the garden
First impressions count. Make sure lawns are tidy and pathways are free of leaves. It’s also worth spending a few hours trimming shrubs, clearing gutters and adding a few colourful winter bedding plants. Window sills and frames should be cleaned and repaired if necessary. An appealing front door is essential.
- Keep the price competitive
As with any time of year, it’s important to be realistic with the asking price. Most people who are looking in January or February tend to be serious buyers who want to make a purchase quickly. Tempting and realistic asking prices are key for maximising the potential of your property.