Selling a home in winter

The arrival of the winter rains at the Cape - and the exhilarating build-up of atmosphere to the World Cup - appears to be causing many Capetonians to “put their lives on hold” and to delay making decisions on property matters, says Lanice Steward, MD of the Cape estate agency Anne Porter Knight Frank.

“The message that we are getting from many of people,” said Steward, “is that they will wait until spring before deciding on a home move. Our track record shows that over the years winter has proved to be a good time to sell a home.”

The great advantage of selling in winter, said Steward, is that there will usually be fewer homes on the market at this time of year and, therefore, less competition from other sellers. Furthermore, gardens will look green and attractive as a result of the rains, a big plus factor.

“If you are planning to sell your home this winter you should,” said Steward, “do all you can to show potential buyers that it is perfectly capable of being warm and cosy in the coldest weather. When potential buyer visitors are expected a good fire should be burning in the hearth, dark corners should be illuminated with extra lighting and those off-putting gutter and drainage problems should have been eliminated.

“It also pays to invest in two or three bowls of bright cheerful flowers and to have pleasant music playing in the background,” says Steward.

Unpleasant smells, especially those associated with dogs, cats, smoking and inadequately cleaned up fireplaces can, adds Steward, be a huge deterrent to potential buyers. This is often not realised by those who actually live in the home because they have grown accustomed to these odours – but they will send the potential client scurrying.

“We advise all our agents to get sellers to air their homes thoroughly for two or three days before they go on show and, if necessary, to ‘detox’ them with an air freshener,” says Steward. “If these measures are taken, with luck you can more or less cut out the unpleasant smells that cause so many buyers to run.”

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