Conventional wisdom says it’s better to sell your property in spring than in winter.
Pools sparkle, flowers bloom and potential buyers are more likely to get out and about.
The problem is, when everyone thinks the same way, you run up against plenty of competition. And that makes it harder to stand out from the crowd.
Which is why real estate agents are calling on vendors to break one of the golden rules of property – and sell their home in winter.
The way they see it, this winter is a particularly good time to swim against the tide – with prices stabilising and data on Monday revealing that auction volumes in Melbourne and Sydney were significantly lower than in previous winters.
With so few properties on the market, they argue that vendors have a higher chance of finding a buyer.
“If you wait to sell until spring, you’re going to be competing with a lot more properties,” McGrath St Kilda principal Michael Townsend told The New Daily.
“There will be a few more buyers but not enough [to outweigh the increase in supply].”
Mr Townsend said the benefit of selling in a non-competitive market outweighed the potential downside of a property not looking its best – and Ray White Randwick & Bondi Junction director Belinda Clemesha agreed.
“In winter, you’re not competing with the hordes,” she told The New Daily.
Creating a homely feel
The key to achieving a good sale price in winter is to make your property feel as inviting as possible.
As rugged-up buyers walk through pouring rain from one inspection to the next, they’re looking forward to stepping into a warm, welcoming environment – so getting the temperature right is absolutely crucial.
“Heating is the big one – whether it’s central heating or a fireplace. Getting that right starts evoking those emotions of feeling at home,” Mr Townsend said.
Once you’ve put a few logs on the fire, Mr Townsend suggests turning your attention to the lighting.
“When it’s dark in winter, it’s totally justified to have all your lights on in the afternoon, which is great for period properties that often have less natural light,” he said.
“You really notice that contrast [between the natural light outside and the need for indoor lights] in summer or spring, when buyers are walking around in T-shirts and sunglasses. But in winter, you don’t notice it as much.”
The need to create a homely aesthetic extends beyond the light and heating, too.
Ms Clemesha recommends keeping tabs on unwanted draughts, bringing in a few “winter-style” soft furnishings, and lighting a few candles.
“The homeliness thing is what people gravitate towards in winter,” she said.
“Make it ambient, use winter-style furnishings and make it cosy.”
Elsewhere, Mr Townsend recommended lighting external sales boards, tying curtains back to maximise the flow of natural light and asking buyers to remove their muddy shoes.
Do this, he said, and even if your property doesn’t look its absolute summer best, the lack of competition means you’ll still achieve a better price.
“Selling a property at a time of reduced competition is almost more important than showcasing the property in its 100 per cent best light,” he said.
“And when you sell in winter … it means you can take advantage of the greater choice in the spring market, as a cashed-up buyer, knowing exactly how much you have in the bank to spend on the next purchase.”