Belinda Moffat is the Chief Executive of the Real Estate Authority. She answers your questions about buying and selling a home.
Q: Hello Belinda. My partner and I are starting a family, so we decided it was time to sell our house and look for something bigger. However, a friend told us it was best to wait for the weather to improve, so we could showcase our property to get the best price. But we don’t really want to wait because we all want to be settled in a new place before baby arrives. Is selling in winter really such a bad idea, and if we do, how do we get the most out of it?
A: Congratulations on your growing family, what an exciting time! I understand your concern about selling your home, especially given the current cooling market.
While it is true that generally fewer properties come on the market in winter, this winter there has been an increase in the number of properties on the market as buyers take longer to buy. If you decide to move now, there are a number of things you can do to help put your best foot forward.
* Should I register with more than one real estate agency in a difficult market?
* Can real estate agents take a “don’t ask, don’t tell” approach to property defects?
* What to know if you are approached with an offer when your property is not on the market
* My new home has a problem, what can I do?
It’s a good idea to speak with at least a few licensed real estate professionals who regularly sell property in your area. They should have a good knowledge of your neighborhood, including data on seasonal sales trends and current market trends. They will explain the different methods of sale to you and can provide you with an estimate. They will also be able to provide practical advice on specific work you can do around the house to make it more attractive to potential buyers during the colder months.
To ensure your home is attractive to potential buyers at this time of year, heating is naturally an important consideration. If your home has a great heating system, like an efficient heat pump or underfloor heating, winter may actually be the perfect time to show it off as a feature. Ensuring that for open houses or tours, your living spaces and bedrooms in particular look and feel as comfortable as possible is a good start. And if you’re starting to visit open houses yourself, keep an eye out for what makes those houses more or less welcoming and use those lessons in your own open house staging.
While you work hard to make sure your home’s interior is attractive to potential buyers, don’t forget the exterior. Winter weather doesn’t always show your home in its best light, especially on a gloomy day, but keeping a tidy garden (if you have one) can make all the difference. Trimmed trees, mowed lawns and a litter-free space can all transform a garden, as can removing moss from garden walkways or paths. The exterior of your home is where first impressions are made, so it’s definitely worth keeping things tidy.
If your home experiences particular problems in the winter, such as leaky drains, severe drafts, or a swampy area in the backyard, it’s important to discuss these issues with your permit holder. They can help you decide how best to handle the problem, whether that means resolving it and/or disclosing it to potential buyers. You and your agent are legally required to share all relevant information with potential buyers about the property, including any defects, so being open and honest throughout the process will reduce the risk of a failed sale or legal issues afterwards. the rule.
While you may be understandably concerned about potential buyers seeing your home in wintery conditions, remember not to underestimate people’s imaginations. Think about how best to describe the best spring/summer features of your home. These could be places to relax in the afternoon sun, your location near other amenities, or windows that showcase the sunrise or sunset. Then you can work with your licensee to ensure they are able to paint a picture for interested buyers of living in your home in the summer, even on the grayest winter day.
Good luck with the sale of your home – and especially the new addition to your family.
For more information on the process of buying or selling a property – and what to expect when working with a real estate professional – visit settled.govt.nz. Have a question for Belinda? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.