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Winter wonders

Tags: Residential

How savvy vendors embrace the season and take advantage of the cold, dark days to fire up interest from buyers and secure a great sale.


Winter: the days are colder and darker, the nights are longer and it’s a time of year when activity in the housing market typically takes a bit of a breather. But it’s no contradiction to say that it can also be a great time of year to sell your property.

If you embrace the season and get it working for you as you present your property as a warm and homely haven from the cold, you stand to reap the benefits of some powerful seasonal advantages.

Winter home-seekers tend to be more motivated to buy; a seasonal drop in listings means you will potentially face less competition from other vendors; and cold, dark and wet conditions outside present an opportunity to warm up buyers with a statement in cosiness.

As Daniel Coulson, Bayleys National Residential Manager and National Auction Manager, puts it: “Buyers shop with all their senses when they attend an open home. A warm, dry, well-lit and well-presented home will make an instant impression when they walk in from the cold.

“Buyers who are prepared to brave wintery conditions to house-hunt are already more committed than those in other seasons. If you can draw them in and present your home as a haven that radiates cosiness, warmth and light you will go a long way towards securing a great sale.”

Industry figures confirm that, despite perceptions to the contrary, properties do sell in winter and, amid fewer other listings, can fetch strong prices.

REINZ data from 2018 shows it took a median of 37 days to sell a property in August, only slightly longer than the 35-day median across the whole year. Despite the seasonal dip in sales volumes, national median prices last August were up 3.6 percent year-on-year; with Auckland seeing its first year-on-year median price rise in six months.

Bayleys agents have pooled their experience of helping vendors achieve the best possible results, to offer these expert tips for a rewarding winter sale.

Help buyers see the light

Given the season, natural light is in relatively short supply. Make the most of what there is by ensuring all windows are clean and unimpeded, with curtains and blinds fully open. Prune back trees or plants outside that throw unwanted shade. Hold open homes at the middle of the day when the sun is highest and brightest. Supplement available sunlight with plenty of bright, warm internal lighting; add lamps to any rooms that are particularly dark.

Warm and dry

Any hint of dampness or visible mould will be an instant turn-off for buyers. Address any dampness issues in advance. Give your home a good airing in the lead-up to viewings, then turn on heating throughout the property to make sure it is warm and inviting when potential buyers come through. If you have one, nothing says cosy like the glowing embers and dancing flames of a wood burner or fireplace. Add to the impression by deploying warm-looking quilts, duvets and blankets on beds, couches and shelving.

Outside

A similar principle applies outdoors, where you will also want to eliminate anything that looks damp or dull. Get to work with a water blaster or suitable cleaning product to eliminate any build-up of lichen, moss or mould on the building’s exterior, decking, driveway, paths and fences. Garden areas can look a bit lifeless in winter. Remove dead and fallen leaves and add a splash of colour by planting pots or prominent garden areas with eye-catching winter bloomers such as polyanthus, pansies or lobelias.

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