In general, winter can be a more challenging time of year to sell a property. This can be down to an unwillingness to pack up and move during the more dreary and miserable weather. For those with families, it may be a reluctance to uproot so close to Christmas, when all you want to do is put up the decorations and start those advent calendars, as opposed to unpacking boxes and painting walls.
Even more so, the days are darker and shorter, leaving us feeling more tired and drained by the end of the day, and lacking in enthusiasm for any activity that isn’t the epitome of relaxation.
However, this does not mean that houses are not bought and sold at this time of year. A number of factors, such as relocation for a job, or the inheritance of a property, could put you in a position for buying and selling. With this in mind, Just Landlords, providers of Landlord Insurance for property investors, has put together these helpful tips:
Don’t forget that first impressions can be very important. Whether we’re talking photographs or property viewings, you need to make sure the place looks as appealing as possible. It doesn’t matter that we have just entered the gloomiest few months of the year – house hunters aren’t going to let you off! They want to look around a home and instantly picture themselves living there, which they won’t be doing if the sight before them is dingy and derelict…
Give the inside a thorough clean, or hire someone to come in and do it for you. The same goes for the décor – a fresh coat of neutral paint will breathe some life into the place. Lighting is also important, so make sure to illuminate the rooms well, but don’t forget to point out the potential for natural light during spring and summer.
Remember to give the outside of the property an equal amount of attention. It can be difficult at this time of year, when it tends to be drizzling with rain every few days, but try to keep the lawn trimmed. Just don’t attempt to mow it whilst the ground is still wet, as you’ll only end up with a churned up mess. Give any patio and decking areas a good sweep and pull up any pesky weeds, and you’ll have a neat and tidy outside area in no time.
Make sure that your property is out there for all to see! Get it online and in the window displays of your chosen estate agent. You could even go with multiple estate agents, if you feel it is necessary. If you are in a particular rush to sell, then utilise social media and share links to wherever it appears as a listing online. After quick bit of hashtag research, you will hopefully be in a position to reach the right people. However, social media can be fickle, especially Facebook, with its ever-changing algorithms, so don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
There are certain things you will want to do, to make sure that your property stays safe whilst it lies empty. Especially at this time of year, you’ll want to pay attention to the pipes. Leaving the temperature on a constant low temperature will prevent them from freezing. Just Landlords recommend keeping your heating set to 12°C, during periods of unoccupancy.
Keep an eye on your guttering, as that can quite easily get clogged with moss and leaves. Check on it after any particularly windy days, to make sure all brackets are still intact and that none of it has come away from the building.
As a deterrent for any possible burglars, consider asking a neighbour if they would like to leave their car in the driveway. This can help to make it look as though someone is at home, as well as your neighbour getting an extra parking space for a while, so everyone wins in this situation! You could also leave a light on, to give the impression that someone is home. Consider using smart bulbs that you can control via your phone, allowing you to turn lights on and off, without having to physically go to the property.
Overall, these tips should help deter any tempted thieves, but, to be on the safe side, it is worth considering Unoccupied Property Insurance. Unlike standard Home Insurance, this will provide your property with the cover it needs, despite the fact that there is currently no one living there.
Don’t forget to prepare for what comes next, once you have begun to obtain interest from potential buyers. Either make yourself available for property viewings, or entrust this task to an estate agent. Turning down potential buyers because you’re busy for one reason or another is not going to help you get any closer to finalise that sale!
Being part of a property chain is never easy, but we hope that our tips will come in handy and help you on the way to a successful completion, this winter.