Do properties sell better in summer than in winter?

Many property sellers believe it is better to wait for summer before putting their homes on the market because selling a property in winter will attract a lower price than in summer. But, Lanice Steward of Knight Frank Residential SA says this is not true. All homes on the market at any given time compete with one another on the same basis, meaning they are all affected by the same seasonal “advantages” and “disadvantages”. She said that what matters more is what you do to make your house attractive when you put it on the market. Steward suggested:

 ⊗ Make sure that curtains are open and if there are net curtains, consider taking them down or keeping them open for show days.
 ⊗ Buy flowers and flowering pot plants, and make sure the home is warm inside. The cost of heating is high but is worth the money to ensure that anyone coming to view the property feels comfortable when entering the home.
 ⊗ If a fire has been lit the previous night, check that the home does not have the “old fire” smell, by either lighting a new one and keeping it going throughout the day or, if it is preferred not to do so, air the home properly beforehand and burn vanilla aromatherapy oil or put a vanilla pod in the oven on a low heat to give off a smell of something baking.
 ⊗ Homes with pets often absorb the pet smell and sellers of homes with pets should be aware that in winter there might be a damp dog or cat smell, which could put some prospective buyers off.
 ⊗ Keep the rooms well aired and, if necessary, have the carpets steam cleaned thoroughly before show day.
 ⊗ Towels in the bathrooms take longer to dry in winter so be sure to, either tumble dry them so that there is no damp towel smell given off by them, or put fresh towels out for each show day.
 ⊗ With weaker sunlight filtering through in winter, it is also advisable to cut back any tree branches that might block the light and, if the home is one of the older, darker ones, put the lights in every room on while showing the home.
 ⊗ Winter gardens can be colourful ones and generous planting of pansies, sweet peas, calendulas, violas, and other reasonably priced seedlings will cheer up what could otherwise be a dark green and brown area, she said. It must be remembered, too, to clear pathways and driveways of any moss growth as this can be slippery.

Steward said that the benefit of being a winter buyer is that you see the home in slightly adverse conditions and a home that you like in winter you will probably love in summer when it is light and bright.

IOL Property News, 23 May 2014