10 Top Reasons Why Winter is a Great Time to Sell or Buy Your Home
It’s officially winter, and traditionally this is the time when home-hunters hunker down and hibernate. But take a peek out of the window of your cosy abode and you’ll see smart buyers scurrying about, viewing properties strategically placed on the market by equally smart sellers. Could you be missing out on a great deal?
The Myth of the Property Dead Zone
The idea that the property market dies during winter - and in December in particular - is a myth. Sure, there are plenty of distractions in the month where Christmas dominates the high street and the social calendar goes wild. And those dark days and rubbish weather drive all but the most hardy indoors.
But estate agents know that the property show goes on despite all of this.
At Penrose we wanted to share our thoughts on what makes winter a great time to step into the property market, whichever side of the buying or selling fence you’re on. (And you might want to get off, because, you know, it’s cold out there - and there are deals to be had that can make those available on Black Friday pale to a murky shade of grey.)
5 Great Reasons to Sell in Winter
When selling, you naturally want your home to be presented in the best possible light. And let’s face it, winter light in the UK isn’t the brightest. But no one buys a property because the sun’s shining. They buy because it’s the right home for them. And they will only find their dream place if it’s visible and up for grabs - and it could be yours. Here’s why you should be going to market now:
1: The market forces are with you - basic economic principles dictate that something will sell when there are lots of potential buyers for it (high demand). Yet we also know that because of various distractions in winter, the number of people actively seeking a home does drop off a bit. Not great news.
But wait … economics has an ace up its sleeve. Forget the buyers and think about the property competition for a minute. When there are fewer than normal properties on the market (low supply), they will always sell. This is because when the choice is limited, those buyers who are looking are more likely to act - and act quickly - so they don’t lose out.
Perhaps it’s time to make sure your property part of that equation?
2: Smooth operations - selling and buying property doesn’t happen in a bubble, and fewer active buyers and sellers means less work for the outside agencies that are also involved in almost all transactions.
Mortgage advisors, solicitors, surveyors and removals firms are all affected by market forces too. This means that when the market is a little quieter during the winter months, they are typically:
- More available - giving you more choice
- Less busy - making your transaction quicker and smoother
- More flexible - on time, availability and perhaps on price too.
3: Get prepped for the New Year - all holidays lend themselves to periods of reflection. We generally see an upsurge in properties coming onto the market at the end of summer, and early in the new year, as people put their plans for the future into action.
By putting your home on the market in December you are setting yourself up in prime position with a marketable home ready to go. And as Big Ben chimes in the new year, and buyers hit the internet looking for the home of their resolution dreams, yours is one of the first they will see.
4: Local market influences - Luton has a high proportion of investment properties, and the market for these types of homes never sleeps. Couple this with the range of cultural diversity present in our town, and it’s clear that traditional break for Christmas celebrations may have less of an impact here than it might elsewhere.
We have a good spread of buyers looking for all types of properties year round, and competition hots up during the winter months. To rule out this period from your selling schedule means you could miss out on securing a good deal for your home from a buyer whose options are perhaps more narrow than at other times of the year.
5: Check the Statistics - home sales advice website The Advisory have been playing with some numbers from Rightmove, and have found some surprising facts about the best time to put your property up for sale:
- They found that, in terms of average days taken for a property to sell from the date you put it on the market, March is your best bet. No surprise there.
- More interesting, is that properties put on the market in December will generally sell more quickly than those listed from mid-Sept to mid-November.
- And properties placed for sale in January and February are likely to sell more quickly than those put on in the months from May to September.
It’s clear that the winter property market is very much alive and kicking.
5 Great Reasons to Buy in Winter
The upheaval of a move around the holidays is never that appealing, and predictably poor weather conditions can compound that. But moving is rarely a breeze, so does it really matter what time of year you do it? Surely it’s about finding the right property, not the right time? Here’s why you should think about starting your search now:
1: Competition is light - anyone who hasn’t read this article is prey to the myth that winter is a time to stay indoors. And that reluctance on the part of other potential buyers to show their faces plays into your hands. The competition for available properties effectively limits itself. Which puts you, as an active buyer, in a very strong position.
2: Sellers are serious - there’s nothing like a motivated seller to facilitate a good and fair property transaction. And sellers who put their home up for sale in the winter months are communicating very clearly that they are ready and willing to sell just as soon as the right buyer comes along. That buyer could be you, and if you spend winter huddled by the fire looking digital sales brochures you could miss out.
3: What else are you going to be doing?- seriously. Spring and summer are those periods when we start venturing out more, taking holidays, enjoying the great outdoors, going to the park, having a BBQ with friends. Who wants to be knee-deep then in mortgage meetings, and solicitors letters, and boxes, and removals?
It can take time to settle into a new home, and winter is the perfect period in which to make your mark on your new pad - unpack, put up shelves and curtains, construct flatpack furniture, paint a wall. Then, when it warms up outside you can spend time relaxing instead of stressing, secure in the knowledge that you are settled on the inside.
4: The feelgood factor - as winter begins, there is a general atmosphere of festive cheer and goodwill around, making sellers more willing to be flexible, and buyers better able to accept the inevitable compromises that come with any property purchase. The general sense of well-being helps buyers and sellers alike to keep a realistic head, and this can work wonders in facilitating a smooth property transaction.
This wave of good humour typically rides into early January before falling a little flat. But even this isn’t a bad thing. Once the January blues hit, people are looking for some good news - and it rarely gets better than receiving an offer on your property, which makes this a great time to buy.
5: Check the Statistics - The Advisory’s Rightmove data also revealed some interesting facts for buyers, specifically in the relationship between Asking Price, and Agreed Sale Price. These figures follow a fairly typical pattern each year, with Agreed prices peaking in Spring and Autumn when there are lots of buyers around and sellers can afford to wait for a higher offer.
In summer, Asking Prices and Agreed Prices tend to level off, as the market quietens down (because people are out enjoying themselves at the beach and those BBQs).
But as winter starts, something curious occurs. Sellers can become more flexible, and the gap between Asking Price and Agreed Price often opens up a little. This is typically due to sellers who have just come to market and are keen to sell before the end of the year, or those whose home didn’t sell earlier in the year and just want their transaction completed. It never hurts to ask.
Buying and selling property is a year-round business, and it can pay (in time, money and reduced stress) to remember that. Just because it’s winter it doesn’t mean you have to close your door on the possibility of moving. Keep an open mind, and know that if you are compelled to buy or sell during winter, whatever the reason, you are in as strong a position as at any other time of the year - just for different reasons.
Contact us at Penrose to see how we can help make your winter property dreams a reality, and add a bit of festive sparkle to your search.
Image - © Irina Viatokha | Dreamstime.com