Officially it’s summer! The weather might not always agree. But the school holidays are upon us and people are packing up to go away. There’s not much going on in the news, and politicians are doing their annual disappearing act. So yes, it is officially summer.
What does summer mean when it comes to the business of selling houses?
You may say that selling a house in summer is much the same as at any other time of year. But it isn’t!
So what is important to know about selling a house in summer …. and what can you do to boost the chances of getting a sale?
There aren’t so many buyers, usually
The last three years have been different, but traditionally summer is slow season for selling houses. People are off on their holidays. Or would rather sit about in the sun. Or maybe they have children to look after (and entertain). Buying a house is well down their ‘to do’ list.
For some odd reason house buyers in the UK like looking at houses when they look at their worst. Such as spring or autumn when the days are short, the sky is grey and everything looks a bit neglected.
The most important takeaway from this is that the buyer pool is smaller. It’s important to remember that there are just fewer serious buyers in the market over the summer.
There is one advantage of selling in summer. There are probably fewer sellers as well as buyers. So serious buyers can’t afford to be so choosy. That might help to support property prices to some extent. There are a few other (fairly small) advantages. For example, you can do evening viewings in the summer. But they don’t really compensate for the fact buyers can be in short supply.
So how about some tips for selling property successfully over the summer
Buyer priorities are different at this time of the year.
Buyers aren’t looking for log fires or wood burners and cosy living rooms and bedrooms they can snuggle up in on a cold winter’s night. Or thinking about how they will fit in all the family at Christmas …. something that has sold many a house.
In summer, house interiors need to be especially light and bright to maximise space. A small, dingy house will feel even smaller when it’s blazing sunshine outside. Consider removing heavy soft furnishings such as curtains and throws. Open windows and patio doors/French windows for viewings. Make sure windows are sparkling clean.
In summer, it’s particularly important to maximise outdoor space. If a property has a garden make sure it’s well maintained. It’s also a good idea to try and sell the outdoor lifestyle. Outdoor furniture, a barbecue and a veggie patch will help to set the scene. It doesn’t matter how small the property is. Even the smallest house can maximise the outdoor lifestyle theme in summer. (For example, in a terraced house is there room for a couple of chairs and planters on the pavement out front?)
If the garden is particularly good then it should be the first stop on a viewing tour not the last, as is usually the case.
Another takeaway here is that this means summer isn’t an ideal time to sell a flat, especially one that doesn’t have any private or communal outdoor space. Although you can still make it light and airy and have plenty of indoor plants. It can also help to stress what parks and other green space there might be nearby.
Is it even a good time to sell?
New sellers should bear in mind (and this is maybe something agents should hint at) that summer isn’t a great time to sell if you’re not 100% committed to selling. Summer isn’t a great time for testing the market.
Sellers should also maybe delay putting a house on the market if they’re off on holiday within the next few weeks. While agents may be happy to handle viewings over this time buyers won’t be impressed by the piles of junk mail, wilted plants and the airless, stuffy atmosphere that empty houses tend to generate.
Existing sellers, whose house has been on the market for some time, might also need to bear in mind (or be reminded about) the special considerations of selling in summer. It might also be a good idea to refresh those property listings. Snow on the ground and leafless trees don’t help to sell the outdoor lifestyle.
How to get that sale in summer
In thinking about selling in summer it shouldn’t be forgotten that in selling houses one thing overrides whatever time of year it might be. And that is correct pricing for the market at the time. All good estate agents should be able to advise on this. A correctly priced house should always sell whatever the season is.
Lastly, it’s probably important to bear in mind that the property market is far from normal right now. After two or three years when the summer market has been literally scorching the market this summer is decidedly cooler. These thoughts are still very valid for selling houses in summer whatever the market is doing however.