While the general thinking may be that spring or summer is the best time to sell your home, think again. If you talk to seasoned agents, they will argue emphatically that winter is their busiest time of the year.
And, in 2023, when there’s an election in October that will interrupt the traditional spring selling season, it might just be a good idea to get your property sale done and dusted well before that event.
Why Winter 2023 could be a good time to sell
Martin Dobson, senior agent with Kellands Real Estate, has just brought a luxurious, light-filled home to the market in Freemans Bay. He has no hesitation doing this in late May. There’s still a dearth of good properties, he says. “The driving force is people are still wanting to buy and transact for the right property. Things are still happening,” he stresses.
Ray White agent Martin Honey says a common vendor’s objection to selling in winter can be that it’s better to wait until it’s nice and light in summer and the flowers are out.
“In 30 years, I’ve never had a buyer go, ‘I want to buy a home when it’s nice and light and the flowers are out’,” says Martin.
“They buy because they don’t want to rent anymore, because they can afford it, because they’re changing areas or jobs or they might have had more kids so they need a larger home,” he explains. Equally, they might be a couple who’ve met and want to combine their income and buy a nicer home, or they might be trading down.
Martin is marketing a stunning Hillsborough home, describing it as the Bali Bach, presented with outside twinkly lights with windows open to show views to the Manukau harbour. You’d think this would be the kind of property you’d market in the middle of summer, but it shows well at this time of year, the tempting photography prompting viewers to envisage what the home would look like on a hot summer’s day.
Hawkes Bay top selling agent, Harcourts Napier’s Brayden Coldicutt, is an experienced real estate salesman and another one who says winter is his busiest time.
“I explain to people that buyers don’t mind what time of year it is. People may decide to sell in spring, but everyone hits the market in spring so there’s a lot more competition as a vendor.” In winter, you have more of the market to yourself, the Harcourts agent argues.
It’s a good idea to show the kind of living you can have in the summer when marketing the home in the winter months, adds Brayden. A very attractive South Napier home he’s marketing has a backyard with a separate entertaining area, so, on a fine day, the doors from the kitchen are wide open to accentuate the indoor-outdoor flow. “It shows that you can live inside or outside,” says the Harcourts agent.
Styling tips for marketing your home in winter
At a time when agents across the country are reporting an increase in open home attendance, how can you get your home sparkling for a winter sale?
Lighting is key to marketing in winter. And it’s not just about having all the lights on, it’s being thoughtful about lighting placement, says Tommy’s Real Estate agent Alice O’Styke. She’s a big believer in tasteful, well-positioned lamps and using warm light bulbs.
Never have the curtains drawn, they close off a room, she adds. And be generous with having the heating on, especially if it’s a vacant home.
Then, to help the home smell fresh, there’s nothing like vases of fresh flowers, says Alice. They look bright inside and perfume the air with an authentic smell. If the property has a garden, trim it back so it seems lower maintenance, and get the lawn mown every couple of weeks so it looks manageable, advises Alice.
Meanwhile, if a dog has been living in the house, have the carpets washed and the animals living away somewhere else, she adds.
If your home is close to town, wintertime is the perfect time to sell. Show pictures of nearby locations, Cuba Street in Wellington, for instance to stress how close you are to central fun places to visit.
Sharn Potaka from Evoke Home Staging in Wellington, says textures are really important when marketing a home in winter. Use fluffier, woolier, thicker fabrics in winter, sheepskin and generally a lot more rugs, she recommends.
And, rather than setting out a bottle of wine with glasses on a table, you might put out a jug and mugs to give a cosy feeling of winter, suggests Sharn.
In bathrooms, have soft towels with lots of colour, in rich tones of plums or deep greens, advises Sharn.
And don’t forget to make your foyer or entrance hall as striking as possible, with a place to put your coat, shoes and scarves when you come in on a chilly day.
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