Before I begin I would just like to clarify the title, I am not going to be delving into the discussion of when homes sell best and giving you advice on when to market a property.
As real estate agents you know that there are generally less properties on the market than in summer. You will know that autumn months between schools breaking up and the Christmas focus can be an ideal time to make a sale.
However what I wanted to discuss was something a lot more subtle.
When selling homes and reviewing other peoples techniques; I focus a lot on the minor details.
One of these things is the effect that the seasons have on us emotionally. Different times of the year will often mean something different to the individual. Whether they associate winter with Christmas, or as January being a fresh start as an example.
I believe there are subtle staging techniques that we should be seeing in a property we are looking to sell, depending on the season.
I have witnessed some really poor examples of this. My favourite was when a home I used to live in went onto the market in August 2015. The images used to advertise the property showed snow from January that year in the garden; as well as Christmas decorations and lights in the images.
I fail to see this capturing the homebuyer’s imagination.
So I want to offer you some really practical advice and suggestions that you could pass onto the homeowner, to help their home appeal to the right buyer, at the right time of the year.
Some of these may seem obvious to you, and others insignificant; but they are all techniques we have seen work in the past.
The aim is to make an emotional attachment and connection with the person viewing the property. So you may wish to consider implementing these tips in the property you are looking to sell.
Ok let’s break this down into some actionable staging advice.
With the market full with buyers, who are prepared to go house hunting; spring can provide a real opportunity to sell a home.
The very best example I have seen was a home where the owner set up an Easter egg hunt in the garden for the children of people viewing the house. The impact this made was tremendous.
You should consider how the exterior of the property looks after the winter. Does it require a lick of paint? Do any of the fences need varnished?
If any minor repairs are required such as roof tiles replaced, then now is the time to do so.
Look to make sure that the lawn areas are neat and tidy, and any weeds that begin to appear are dealt with. If you have any concerns then feed this back to the owner.
Having some spring colours in the form of daffodils and tulips can really bring some vibrancy and freshness to the garden, and indeed indoors. Consider placement in the kitchen, dining and living areas. They can easily add some brightness and charm.
The inside of your property can look its best in spring due to the bright natural light and mild weather. Although there are other staging options that will help you to match your home to the season.
A spring clean can be essential. In the dark winter months, some areas of dirt are less visible. However the bright spring light can highlight dust and streaks. With this in mind, tend to windows and handles in particular.
Letting the light into your home through curtains and blinds may seem extremely obvious. However consider backing this up with pastel coloured accessories in some of the lighter areas.
This could be in the form of throws, cushions or lampshades. These little touches can be powerful. Some greens and yellows could also help uplift the ambience in a room.
If you are looking to sell a home during the summer months, then you certainly won’t be alone. It has been recommended to enter a property to the market early in advance of school holidays and other priorities taking over.
Regardless of when in the summer you wish to sell the property. These staging tips can help the home stand out.
It goes without saying that grass, moss and weeds grow quicker in the summer months. Ensure that the gardens are tended to regularly to preserve the kerb appeal of the property.
You could also recommend to the owner to add an extra dimension to the outside of the property with some low maintenance, but bright, bedding plants. This is certainly likely to enhance the first impression.
Consider colour schemes of the home when looking to sell at this time of the year. Some subtle shades of yellows, oranges and greens can help to add a warm feel to the home, whilst still remaining somewhat neutral.
It could also prove beneficial to remove any dark drapes or curtains for lighter options; without being too bold. Allow as much light into the rooms as you can, and consider recommending carefully placed mirrors to help accentuate the light.
Consider between yourself and the homeowner to allow more time for viewings. With longer days people may wish to view at various times of the day or evening. Trying to accommodate this will likely help you to stand out.
If there is a nice garden or patio area then don’t be afraid to show this either. Make the most of the weather by setting up garden activities like a barbeque or paddling pool. This will help the potential buyer to imagine their lifestyle in this space.
I would also recommend you being mindful of the temperature in the home. Try to open windows and doors to cool down the property if required. Walking around a house that is too hot can be seen as more of a chore than a pleasant experience.
I recommend advising the homeowner to be aware of the dangers of advertising a house for sale too late in the autumn. By mid-November buyers may well have begun their winter hibernation, and so close to Christmas a new property may be the last thing on their mind.
Once again try to match the colour scheme to the property. Consider more autumnal browns, oranges and reds rather than the vibrant and bright colours or spring and summer.
I often advise homeowners to give the house a real cosy feel to it. Almost like an ideal space to retreat. The bright lights of spring can perhaps be replaced by strategically placed candles.
At the same time be conscious that the house does not look dark or gloomy.
This is a subtle difference that I have too often seen done wrong.
If you are in the position of trying to sell a home in the winter, I am very much aware of the frustrations you may be facing with a homeowner; and understandably so.
Adding some festive cheer to the home is certainly not something to be discouraged. However it can become too personal and cluttered.
Setting up a Christmas tree is a tradition many families undertake. This would certainly not put off a home buyer. Although I have viewed some homes where it was hard to imagine anyone else living there. There was simply too much going on in the house to allow you to see the full potential of the property.
So I would try to advise the homeowner as to where you believe they could draw the line, without trying to dictate how they spend the holidays in their own home.
Some modest fairly lights outside can show that it is a friendly and welcoming home within a nice neighbourhood. Whereas too much illumination and decoration can be somewhat off-putting.
With regards to colours, again aim for a warm concept with browns and reds rather than the earlier pastel accessories.
Candles are always a nice attraction during the viewing, and if there is a real fire then use it.
Try to imagine the buyer walking in from the cold outside into a warm and welcoming atmosphere.
Showing the property
There are actually things to do with the season that should also influence the way that you show a property to potential buyers.
In the spring you could discuss the potential for planting in the garden. In the summer you could discuss how bright and airy the house is. As well as how close it is to local parks. Is the garden a great place to spend time? Perhaps in winter you could highlight the real fire, or low energy usage of the property.
Consider what is relevant for your particular home and area. If the property is designed to be a family home or perhaps a holiday home would also have a large bearing on these types of conversations and ‘buzz’ words.
Do all you can to really highlight the benefits of the property and area.
Kerb Appeal is extremely powerful
Lastly you should be extremely conscious of the kerb appeal value of the home during various months. In spring is it possible to plant some new flowers or hanging baskets to accentuate the property?
Autumnal colours can be a beautiful draw, but leaves covering the front lawn may well fail to show the true property potential.
Considering the winter time, ensure path and driveways are kept clear from snow and ice; especially if the neighbours’ homes are not. This extremely small detail can help your home stand out from the rest.
This may sound obvious, but just remember that the first impression of the property is incredibly important. It has actually been suggested that someone can decide if they are willing to be a property within the first 60 seconds of seeing it.
Remember that with each month comes a different challenge, or opportunity; to help you boost the kerb appeal of the property.
Thank you as ever for reading.