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Selling By Season

By George Hadgelias

Real estate traditionalists say spring is the only time to sell, but Australians put their homes on the market in every season. It’s knowing how to make the most of the season that counts.

Diane Sheppard, a sales agent from LJ Hooker Victoria Park, in inner-city Perth, says while historically agents have told vendors to hold off selling until spring, many people simply sell when they need to.

She says nowadays it’s less about picking the perfect time and more about understanding how to present a property in the particular season. Sheppard shares her tips for selling in spring, summer, winter and autumn.

Spring

“It’s true everything seems to come to life in spring. The flowers are blooming, the weather is better and people are getting out and about more, which is why it’s a popular time to sell,” Sheppard says.

In spring, it’s easier to attract potential buyers to open houses, but they still need to be wowed, she says

A high-pressure wash of any signs of mould externally, a big tidy-up in the garden and outdoor entertaining areas and throwing open curtains and blinds to let in as much natural light as possible, should all be on vendors’ to-do lists, Sheppard says.

“No matter the season, it’s about showing the home in the best possible light and downplaying any potential negatives.”

Summer

In summer, it’s all about temperature and outdoor lifestyle.

“In Perth, for example, we can get very hot summers, so when selling, be strategic about the times of inspections. If a home doesn’t have air-conditioning and you hold an open at the hottest part of the day, that’s the first thing a potential buyer will notice – that they’re dying of heat.

“Do things differently. Maybe hold opens in the early morning or early evening, when the heat won’t be such an issue. You also need to think about what people are doing in summer. If it’s the middle of the day on a weekend, they might be at the beach, for example, so you need to take that into consideration,” she says.

If the property has cooling, use it, Sheppard says. “When you know it’s going to be a hot day, and you have an inspection, ensure the air-conditioner is turned on early enough to actually cool the property down.”

Any outdoor areas should be dressed to impress, she adds. “If you’re lucky enough to have a pool, have the umbrellas up, the lilos floating on the water and a nice cool drinking sitting there, so people can really imagine enjoying that space.”

Winter

If selling in winter, Sheppard suggests being prepared. “Little nuances in winter can make a big difference,” she says.

“If it’s raining, we’ll always put umbrellas out for people to use. I’m even lucky to have someone who works with me and he’ll walk people to and from their car,” she says.

If there’s a fireplace, have it roaring. “Alternatively, if you don’t have a fire, and it’s a really cold and miserable day, you can even pop the oven on and have something cooking in it. I’ve been known to pop a roast in the oven for clients. The smell is divine and it makes it feel instantly homely,” Sheppard says.

Candles also add warmth and ambience in any season, but especially in winter, she says.

Autumn

In autumn vendors either need to deal with fallen leaves – or make a feature of them, Sheppard says.

By raking up leaves before an open, vendors ensure potential buyers don’t see “lots of work”, she says. Wet leaves which get dragged into the house can make it look messy too.

“Some places are built to be low maintenance, with large areas of grass and maybe just a few trees, which may drop leaves. If you can’t rake them up, put something there, to divert the eye. A few pieces of nice outdoor furniture, maybe even a fire pit, can turn a negative into a positive.”

In autumn vendors either need to deal with fallen leaves – or make a feature of them, Sheppard says.

By raking up leaves before an open, vendors ensure potential buyers don’t see “lots of work”, she says. Wet leaves which get dragged into the house can make it look messy too.

“Some places are built to be low maintenance, with large areas of grass and maybe just a few trees, which may drop leaves. If you can’t rake them up, put something there, to divert the eye. A few pieces of nice outdoor furniture, maybe even a fire pit, can turn a negative into a positive.”

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