If I had a pound for every time I am asked this question I would definitely be a millionaire! House sellers are very focused on timing it right to put their house on the market to maximise interest and therefore the price they might achieve for their home.
Conventional wisdom suggests the Spring is the best time to put a property on the market and I think it is fair to say historically that has been the case for many. The weather is improving, the days are getting longer and people are getting over the Winter and an expensive Christmas and higher utility bills!
A shift in peoples house buying habits
However, I have noticed over the last 5-10 years a distinct shift in peoples buying habits and there is much less seasonal movement and with a more upwardly mobile work force moving freely around the country it is far less cyclic than it has ever been.
The reality is there is no real right or wrong time, however it might also be important to think about your property and decide is it a Spring, Summer, Autumn or Winter house!?
Whilst many sellers may traditionally have favoured the Spring market, there tends to be more properties coming to the market, creating more choice for buyers and therefore potentially less scope for you to chance your arm so to speak with a speculative asking price.
During the Summer months, there can be a dip in activity with school holidays, however it doesn’t mean these prospective buyers are not browsing the internet from their sun loungers on the beach and planning with military precision an Autumn move in order to be in their new home for Christmas! the Summer months also give longer days and lighter evenings therefore increasing the hours available for viewing.
Buyers buy the lifestyle not the bricks and mortar!
If your garden is one of the key selling features, think about when it looks at it best. Is it an early bloomer? Does it look best in the Summer or does the change to Autumn and all those beautiful warm brown and red colours maybe do it more justice. If you live beside a busy road or railway, might you be better selling in Winter when you have the windows shut and maybe it deadens some of the noise?
Again, if you have lots of lovely natural light spilling through into rooms in your house, it stands to reason that selling in the Summer or Spring might be beneficial. However, if your rooms are small and maybe a bit darker, maybe having a beautiful open fire, crackling away, with subdued lighting and nice candles could create the right ambience. Remember people buy a lifestyle not just bricks and mortar, they want to create those scenarios in their mind, see themselves living in your home, so you have to set the tone and help them.
So, what about selling in the Winter? Well two things spring to mind here. People looking in the winter are serious! You aren’t getting many casual viewers at that time of year, which if you are serious about moving can be a bonus. I compared some stats which support this theory. Last Summer we were achieving one sale for every nine viewings, which is still less than the national average! In the winter that ratio went down to one from five. Often there is less stock available at that time of year, so less competition albeit there are probably less buyers in the market place. I often say to sellers, if you perhaps have a property you are concerned might not be particularly photogenic or in road where properties traditionally take a little longer to sell, it might be to your advantage to sell when there is the least number of other properties available.
So, to sum up to a certain extent people will sell when circumstances dictate, school catchments, career move, births, deaths, marriage, divorce – there really is no right time, except when it is right for you! However, if you just fancy a speculative move, it might not be a bad thing to consider what season would make your home stand out the most, therefore making it most saleable and giving you the best chance of selling your home for the best price.
Thanks for reading
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