Selling a Property in Winter

So winter is just around the corner, and we’re all hoping for as much rain as possible.  Wet and cold weather present some challenges to a property seller.  So just how can you ensure your property shows well and hooks the best buyers?

If you are considering selling any time in the next 6 months then now is the time to “get your house in order” – so to speak.  There will be a number of maintenance issues you can take care of now to prevent problems later.

The obvious big item is the roof.  Have it inspected to ensure there are no cracked or missing tiles or damaged sheets, and that all waterproofing and flashing is in good condition.  At the same time, have all your gutters cleared out and joints sealed.  It’s extremely off-putting for a buyer to see water leaking through a roof or gutters.

The next focus area should be your windows and doors.  Ensure they are sealed well, and that window sills are in good repair.  If any wooden doors stick in the rain have them serviced.  At the same time, address any areas where there is evidence of damp.  And don’t be tempted to just patch those areas up, as you may well be liable to have them repaired later at your cost if not disclosed or properly fixed.

In the winter months there is usually much less sunlight and homes can appear dark and gloomy.  Ensure all your lights have working globes.  Consider adding tasteful lamps to add extra light and create ambiance.  For evening viewings, candles add romance and enhance the emotional appeal.  For daytime viewings ensure the curtains and blinds are open to let in as much light as possible.

It’s always a challenge to keep the garden and swimming pool looking appealing with rain, wind, and storms being experienced – but the effort is well worth it.  Prune back plants that require it and keep the grass cut short.  Train the kids to clear the pool of leaves and if you have underwater lighting switch it on for evening viewings.

In your entrance hall have suitable mats that allow your visitors to wipe their feet and feel at ease when entering in the rain – possibly even having a few umbrella’s handy.  External lighting at the front of a property can make the property appear warm and inviting on a gloomy day.

In cold weather it’s a great idea to keep the home warm, and if you have a fireplace then a roaring fire is a winner – just make sure the chimney draws the smoke properly.  The smell of coffee, freshly baked cakes, and soft music adds to the homely appeal.

Selling in winter does require a little extra effort, but it allows your property the opportunity to appear homely, warm, and inviting.  So plan ahead now to make sure you have a Sold board outside before summer comes again.

Steve Caradoc-Davies

Principal of Harcourts Platinum, and Director of Harcourts South Africa

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