Let’s celebrate! It’s spring time, the days are getting longer, the daffodils, tulips and alliums are out of the soil and department stores have cleared the winter stock to make way for the new season wear.
Property folklore suggests that spring is the best time for a housesale. However, you will often hear estate agents saying that ‘now’ is a good time to sell your house when ‘now’ can be any time of the year. Of course, some locations can withstand the seasonal impact better than others. Benjamin Disreali said “The secret of success in life is for a man to be ready for his opportunity when it comes”. When it comes to selling your home, you can be the architect of your outcome with some careful thought, planning and preparation so let’s ‘home in’ to the calendar and take a closer look at the significance of timing and what you should do if you are looking to sell your home.
Let’s start with some basic economics. If you are selling your home at any time it would be ideal to imagine plenty of buyers highly motivated to pay a good price for your pride and joy. There’s lots of evidence and anecdote to suggest that spring fits the bill nicely. The Christmas holidays are a time when families tend to spend more time together. Lots of discussions take place such as ‘which school should we choose? Is it time to move closer to our children and grandchildren? Time for a holiday home? Change of career? Time to separate or divorce? There’s usually a reported hike in separations after Christmas. Many of these decisions will have a very clear link to property buying and selling and guide buyers into the spring months as a matter of urgency.
Many parents like to move to a new house before the start of the academic year in September, or perhaps just move pre-emptively to get into a school catchment area. So, there are more buyers circulating in Spring and their motivation picks up at the same time. Whilst full blown seasonal affected disorder (SAD), a condition that can leave sufferers feeling genuinely depressed in the winter, is thankfully rare, most people feel more cheery and open to new possibilities in the Spring. Maybe it’s that extra shot of vitamin D from the first peeping rays of the sun or the leaves bursting from bud, but many more people feel better and ready for action!
So, what should you do to sell your home to the eager army of buyers surrounding your house? There are so many self help guides to preparing your house for sale, but I’m still surprised how often the basics are forgotten. So, in order:
1. Change your mindset – remember that once you are sure that you want to sell, your lovely home becomes an asset to be sold at the highest price
2. Employ the best professionals. Given the choice, you wouldn’t dream of not choosing the best surgeon for an operation or the best lawyer for a divorce. So why do people try and save money on their agent, solicitor or surveyor? I often say that the difference in fees between the ‘the mediocre’ and ‘the best’ can be lost in single heartbeat of a negotiation.
3. Prepare, prepare, prepare. Give every room a defined purpose – no storage rooms or messy corners. Clear clutter, simplify décor and fix any maintenance issues.
4. List your house early in the week, complete with stunning photographs and the thumbnail must be ‘the money shot’. There’s evidence to suggest that listing and going ‘live’ early in the week builds for a busy viewing weekend, a buzz of interest and hopefully that early sale.
5. Your overall strategy should be designed to turn your home into a contested property. You need a beautifully prepared and carefully marketed home, where buyers can easily imagine living. It should be launched at the right time with a guide price pitched to attract interest (without being too low ) to get a strong flurry of viewings and a ‘best and final offers’ conclusion.
Most of my work is for buyers but I’ve sometimes been asked to help clients sell their home and by executing the right strategy at the right time we have achieved exceptional results. It was Sir Dave Brailsford at the 2012 Olympics who introduced the concept of ‘marginal gains’ which led to a rush of gold medals for our cycling team. In my experience, if you launch your property at the right time and attend to all the marginal details, you will find it is possible to take your place at the top of the podium!