Why Sell your House In Winter?
Received wisdom is that you should sell in the Spring.
There are a number of significant points that support this traditional view: Longer days mean that viewing houses is easier in the evenings.
Perception is reality: because people perceive it to be the busiest time of year, it is. If you are told as a first-time buyer that Spring is the time to buy, then that’s what you do.
Shelling out hundreds of pounds on surveys, mortgages fees and search fees just before Christmas is obviously not ideal. This challenge continues into January as credit card bills land after Christmas.
However as the title to this piece suggests there can be advantages to selling your home in the Winter. As estate agents, we find that one of the bonuses of selling property in the winter is that the buyers viewing are generally very serious buyers. We measure this through our viewings to sales ratio: it increases significantly in the Spring and decreases sharply in the winter. Why?
Choice: because fewer sellers market their home in the winter, there is less choice for buyers. Instead of ten similar properties for buyers to consider, there may only be two or three. This means that when you have a viewing there is significantly less chance of the buyer going elsewhere.
Motivation: typically, if you are prepared to get out and view in the winter, you are serious – you have a strong reason to purchase now. While this may not always true, the key question we ask as agents is “Why?” Once you understand why someone needs to buy and what they have to lose if they don’t, it is possible it is possible to represent your sellers’ interests much better.
Another factor that is making this Winter a record-breaker at Preston Baker is that we have had about four to five months of sales where the level of sales has nearly been equal to the number of new listings. This is not a typical market. A normal market is 65 to 70% of new listings sold, and we have been selling nearly 100% of new listings (more in some offices). This has created an ever diminishing supply of available property and this makes it a hugely attractive place to sell now: you have limited competition for buyers’ attention.
In addition, the Government’s Help to Buy scheme has injected life into the market, patrticularly at the bottom end. This means that there is a huge number of potential purchasers looking for first-time seller properties. These properties are being sought by an ever expanding buy-to-let market and first-time buyers who previously thought they were excluded from the market.
Help to Buy Can Help Trapped Sellers!
Trapped sellers are those people who purchased their properties towards the peak of the market in 2006-2008, depending on where you live. If you purchased with a 90-95% mortgage then you may have wanted to move within the past five years, but have been unable to because of the level of deposit required to purchase a larger property.
I would strongly recommend anyone in this position to speak with one of my colleagues in Preston Baker Financial Services who can assess whether or not this scheme could help.
In summary, I believe that this Winter presents a fantastic opportunity to those who would like to move, but think that it’s the wrong time of year. Even in November and December, Preston Baker’s sales-to-listings ratio is running close to 100% in nearly every branch we have, demonstrating that these super-normal sales levels are not being affected by the traditional Christmas slowdown.
I suspect that by the Spring of next year there will be significantly more competition for these buyers and that more sellers will be drawn to the market by the amount of sold boards that they’ve seen over the preceding nine months.
Call your local branch for some free expert advice.