Tricks for selling during winter
The skies are dark and ominous, the floors are icy and wet, and the 'For Sale' sign is dripping in the driveway in front of your poorly attended show house. Selling in winter certainly has its drawbacks. But, on the plus side, says Adrian Goslett, regional director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, there are usually fewer properties on the market this time of year, which means that you might be able to sell faster and fetch a better price than you would have done if you had waited for summer like everyone else.
"The seasonality of sales is a bit of a fallacy. Over the last few years some of our best sales months have occurred between May and August," says Goslett. But, if you are going to put your property on the market during the snuggle season, then you need to be aware of certain practicalities. For starters, buyers' habits change according to the weather.
"Properties that go on the market during the winter months will generally receive less physical traffic and more online attention. Fewer people will attend show days in favour of staying warm and cosy at their own homes instead. To lure viewers out of their homes when it's cold and rainy, buyers need to ensure that their online listing is really enticing by posting high-quality photos and mentioning all the extra features in the description. Social media marketing can also be very effective in this regard," Goslett explains.
The next thing sellers need to consider is how to stage the home for when buyers come to view the property. For starters, make sure there is a welcome mat for viewers to wipe their shoes before tracking mud through your home.
On particularly wet days, have a towel at your front door so that viewers can dry off before they see the rest of your property.
It is also a good idea to make sure you have a box of tissues available in case any of the viewers has a case of the sniffles.
Next, sellers should try and make the space feel as warm and cosy as possible. Goslett suggests that you switch on a heater or light a fire before the viewers arrive so that the space is already warm for when they get there. On cloudy days, homes can also feel dark and dingy. By turning on some lights and lighting a few candles, sellers can create a warm glow that makes the space more appealing.
Finally, Goslett says, the way to a buyer's heart in winter is through their taste buds. "The clichéd trick of having freshly baked cookies come out of the oven before viewers arrive can be particularly effective during the winter months. Not only does the heat from the oven help to warm up the space, but the aroma also makes the home feel more inviting. Sellers could also give their estate agent permission to offer the viewers a hot beverage upon arrival.
The longer a viewer spends in a home, the better. In the time it takes for them to finish their hot chocolate, your agent might have bought enough time to convince the viewers to purchase the property."