Traditionally house buying peaks in the spring but increasingly ‘savvy movers’ are realising the potential advantages to buying or selling a property in the winter months.
While there are good deals to be had it is also important to consider possible pitfalls, as mistakes could be expensive as well as delaying your move, wries Hayley Brown, a director of East Anglia Equestrian Properties.
Remember when arranging viewings, that days are shorter so you will need to visit during the day or at the weekend in order to properly view a house. Winter reveals the true condition of the property as the exterior is bare, enabling you to check the façade for cracks and damp. Inspect the guttering for blockages it might be a good idea to ask to see the loft, so you can ensure there are no roof holes or leakages.
There are fewer houses for sale in the winter but also fewer buyers which means less competition for both parties. How many times did you fall in love with a property during the summer months only to have it snatched away by another buyer? If you are selling, have you found that you have lost buyers who have been tempted by other properties?
Winter sellers tend to need to move so may be willing to accept a deal to enable a quicker exchange. The winter market can often bring a greater sense of commitment from both sides to complete the sale, as people tend to make life changing decisions in the New Year. Use this to your advantage. Also, you may find better mortgage deals as lenders try and attract off-peak customers. Winter moving generally runs more smoothly as lenders and estate agents have fewer customers to process so are able to dedicate more time to you.
Remember, although winter conditions can be bleak, if you brave the chill there are great deals to be found.
• Hayley Brown is also The National Association of Estate Agents’ Regional Executive for East Anglia.
The National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) is the UK’s leading professional body for estate agency personnel, being part of a group representing 13,000 members who practice across all aspects of property services both in the UK and overseas. These include residential and commercial sales and lettings, property management, business transfer, auctioneering and land. The NAEA is a sister organisation to the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA), as is PropertyLive.co.uk, the UK’s only regulated property portal.
The NAEA is dedicated to the goal of professionalism within all aspects of property, estate agency and land. Its aim is to reassure the general public that by appointing an NAEA member to represent them they will receive in return the highest level of integrity and service in both sales and lettings, for all property matters. Both NAEA and ARLA members are bound by a vigorously enforced Code of Practice and adhere to professional Rules of Conduct. Failure to do so can result in heavy financial penalties and possible expulsion from the Associations.