by Carly Susic, Melbourne property advocate 

Some say you should avoid selling a house in winter. But I disagree. When you are selling, regardless of the time of year, you should always take advantage of market conditions. Even though the weather is dark and gloomy, the market can be bright in winter. Is it the right choice for you? That depends on your home and buyer demand at the time. But generally, there are some benefits of selling your house in winter that may change your mind.  

Isn’t it better to wait until spring?

You may like the idea of waiting until spring, because you anticipate plenty of buyer interest after a long winter. Plus, if you wait until spring, your garden will be in full bloom, showing the property off in its best light.

It sounds good in theory, but the property market is far more complicated. This advice is often bandied about, but doesn’t take into account your particular property, market conditions and levels of buyer interest at the time. Of course, spring is not a terrible time to sell. But when it comes to winter, there are potential market benefits to consider that may just suit your situation. 

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Benefit #1: Getting in early means less competition 

When you sell a house in winter, you get ahead of the often saturated spring market. More properties flood the market in spring. This gives buyers more choice. Whereas in winter, there are fewer properties on the market. This means more buyers will be competing for your property, which can help drive up demand on auction day. 

It’s a simple supply-and-demand equation. Fewer homes on the market means buyers compete for what’s on offer. This may drive up the price on auction day. 

Buyers who are seriously looking at the market don’t take twelve weeks off during winter. In fact, they are likely to be researching properties and getting ready for the spring season. If your home is ahead of the market in winter, you will enjoy very good exposure to ideal buyers. 

Benefit #2: Serious buyers only 

Many open houses in the warmer months attract people who just want to take a look at your house. Maybe they want to see the renovation you’ve finished, or how you’ve styled your home. Or they are neighbours wanting to see how your property compares. This is all perfectly understandable, but it does clog your home with people who aren’t actually considering buying. But in winter, with fewer open houses listed, it’s more likely that only the serious buyers make the trip giving your quality inspections over quantity. This is particularly the case if the weather is gloomy or rainy. With fewer people also comes less chance of damage, or wear and tear to your property, like fingerprints on your windows and footprints on your floors and gives your agent more time with each buyer to discuss your home . 

Benefit # 3: more dedicated agents 

When you sell a house in winter, your real estate agent typically will not have as many listings as usual or  as many other clients to juggle. So you tend to get more focused customer service. Your agent is free to accept your calls and is less likely to be rushing off to the next auction or the next open house. This gives you valuable free time to get real time feedback on the level of interest from your buyers during your campaign. Your real estate agent is handling one of the biggest financial transactions of your life. So it’s comforting knowing they aren’t juggling too many clients at the busiest time of year. You’re far more likely to get better, more attentive service from your agent when you sell your house in winter. Plus they have more time to follow up buyers of your home and answer any questions they have. 

Selling a house in winter: top tips

Make your home cosy and inviting

Obviously, winter is cold and darker, so you need to ensure your home is still welcoming. Focus on the light. Where possible, stage your open houses at the time of day that gets the morning or afternoon sun. Keep the heating at a comfortable temperature. Choose LED lights that throw a warmer tone, rather than colder tones. Use floor lamps and table lamps generously to give a welcoming glow to the home. A property stylist can help you present your home in the best possible light, so consider making the investment. 

Prep the garden where you can 

One of the reasons people don’t want to sell in winter is that the garden can be gloomy. But if you have a few months up your sleeve to prepare, you can find plants that look great in winter. This can give your garden much-needed colour. People worry that deciduous trees will be bare in winter. But that actually means more light comes into the home, so it can actually be an advantage. Buyers are smart enough to know that the garden will change with the seasons. So do your best to keep your garden looking neat, tidy and colourful. 

Consider wet weather 

Admittedly, one of the drawbacks to selling your home in winter is the weather. If it’s rainy or cold, buyers may be deterred from visiting your open house. But rest assured, serious buyers won’t let a little wind or rain stop them from inspecting. It’s only the casual ‘just looking’ types who will be put off. Your entire campaign is likely to have three midweek opens and three weekend opens before the final auction. You would have to be extremely unlucky to have rainy weather for all of them. 

On auction day, if the weather is forecast as storms or torrential rain, you can move the auction inside or even online. Again, serious buyers won’t let a bad storm cloud their determination to buy. Even though it feels disastrous if it’s raining on auction day, it has very little to do with the final outcome of your auction. 

Statistically, October is the rainiest month in Melbourne. so there’s actually less chance of rain than you might expect.  

Optimal timings for selling your home in winter

The spring market is quite disjoined with holidays, racing and footy finals causing interruptions. But in winter, the only disruption to the market is school holidays and the Queen’s birthday weekend, usually around late June/early July. This is a good time to avoid, especially if you are selling a family home, you should avoid the winter school holidays. School holidays tend to be the shortest, coldest time of year as well—another reason to avoid them. 

Ideally, you’d time your four-week property campaign during the end or start of winter. 

These are your best timings for selling your home in winter:

  • campaign starts in early May for an early June auction 
  • campaign starts in late May for late June auction (check timing of school holidays for the auction) 
  • campaign starts in mid July for mid August auction
  • campaign starts in late July for late August auction 

So, to summarise, things to consider when selling a house in winter

  • Selling at a time when no one else is selling means more demand for your property
  • Serious buyers will still be looking in winter
  • You avoid the increased competition from other homes on the market at other times of year
  • Agents tend to be more available to give you constant feedback , as they are less busy 
  • Time your campaign at the end or start of winder (avoid school holidays)
  • Schedule opens houses when your home gets the best light, and use warm lighting
  • Keep your home a warm and inviting temperature
  • Invest in property styling when you can 
  • If possible, prepare your garden to look good during winter 

Need specific advice on buying or selling in Melbourne in 2022? 

Contact us for a no-obligation consultation. We can discuss your property goals and give you advice on your specific situation. 

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