Selling your home in the new year? For sellers and buyers, we’re entering what some estate agents call ‘downtime’. It’s that unusual period in the final six or eight weeks of the year when the housing market goes quiet. Most would-be purchasers know there’s no chance of getting into a new home by Christmas, and many vendors consider putting their marketing on ice until New Year.
There’s good reason for this: neither seller nor buyer wants viewings when the decorations are up and everyone’s priorities are shifting, temporarily, to planning the festivities. However, there are also a lot of advantages to selling your house in the winter.
But if you’re planning to take the plunge next year, potentially to downsize. Is it just a case of taking it easy, wrapping the gifts, and waiting until mid-January to start the ball rolling? Sorry to be the Grinch here, but no it is not!
Preparing your home to sell in the new year
If you’re going to hit the market running when buyers return in force – usually at the start of February, in my experience. You will need to work hard between now and Christmas to get your home ready to sell in the new year. Including working on a house maintenance checklist.
1. First off, make sure to choose your estate agent carefully. By doing so this side of the festivities means you may well get more time and attention than waiting until January when more sellers will be knocking on their door.
2. Secondly, and something the agents will be quick to point out – marketing photographs of a property are vitally important. There’s a good chance that some outside areas may look better now. Than, say, in January or February, especially if it’s a harsh winter.
3. Thirdly, and perhaps more obviously, you have between now and February to do that mix of repair work, routine maintenance and sprucing up. That is an important cocktail to make your home look as good as possible to would-be purchasers.
Some of this work is familiar but nonetheless important. There are some advantages to getting it done over winter, ahead of the first viewings of your home.
Kerb appeal of your home
Enhancing the kerb appeal of your home is crucial when preparing to sell. This involves more than just a tidy front lawn and clean windows. Consider adding fresh, colorful flowers or potted plants to create a welcoming entrance. Updating outdoor lighting can also make a significant difference, providing a warm and inviting glow in the evenings. Repainting the front door in a striking, yet tasteful color can make your property stand out. Don’t overlook small details like a new, stylish mailbox or house numbers that add character. Additionally, ensure that any fences or gates are in good repair and freshly painted or stained if necessary. Remember, the exterior of your home is the first thing potential buyers will see.
Declutter & home staging
Over-busy rooms look deeply ‘personal’ to the owner and it’s hard for the buyer to imagine themselves in there. While too much furniture makes a room look small. Use the winter to declutter in preparantion for selling your home in the new year. Pass some of the photos and those armchairs to family members. it’s important that you’re aware that first impressions count. So it’s good to get clued up about home staging too.
Check the roof and clear gutters
Not the merriest of jobs before Christmas, but a winter regime of regularly clearing leaves and blockages will mean you’re in good shape for a buyer’s surveyor once the marketing begins. This proactive approach not only helps prevent water damage and leaks but also demonstrates to potential buyers that the property has been well-maintained. It’s a small but significant step that can greatly influence a buyer’s perception.
Energy efficiency to sell your home in the new year
Heating, boilers and windows are really important to buyers who are more budge and environmentally conscious when it comes to energy these days. It’s also good to read about how the Energy Performance Certificate system works. And what can be done over the winter to improve the rating your home receives when it’s put up for sale.
Fore-warned is fore-armed so it’s sensible to check whether your home is in a flood risk area. There are multiple websites where you can feed your postcode to check for the long term flood risk. But remember that mapping of flood potential is so sophisticated these days, that often the risk is incredibly small. If you think this might be a problem when it comes to selling, talk to your estate agent. It is all about how best to address the issue head-on with potential purchasers.
Deep clean before selling your home
If you’re anticipating a full house over the holiday season and especially if you have pets year-round, it’s a good idea to book a deep clean for in the new year. This is so to help maximise potential and give yourself and your estate agent confidence ahead of viewings.
Many think this is too difficult over winter, but I disagree. You can trim trees and hedges, remove mossy areas on pathways, repair any broken fences or gates. And finally complete that raised flowerbed you’ve meant to get around to.
Well, that’s all enough to be getting on with over the next few months!
Of course, it could all wait until next year when it comes to selling your home, but with delay comes the risk that any remedial work could take longer than expected. And it jeopardise your home being ready in time for the resumption of the sales market.
And remember that in a tough sales market, prospective buyers are understandably cautious. So they will want reassurance on a wide range of issues when they view your home.
Good luck…and enjoy that winter work!
Last Updated: December 20th, 2023