When the time comes to sell the family home, most Australians like to wait until spring before listing. At that time of year, the gardens are growing, the flowers are in full bloom and the temperature is pleasant.
The conditions are ideal for people to emerge bleary-eyed from their winter hibernation, rub their eyes and head out on the property inspection trail, as the birds sing and chirp all around…or something like that.
The problem is, there are hundreds of other people with the same idea, so buyers are spoiled for choice. Suddenly, a relaxed Saturday spent wandering around looking at nice homes becomes one of those time poor freak-outs, where calendars are jam-packed with viewings, leaving minimum time to scoot from one to the other and still drop the kids off at soccer.
Spouses argue, the stress takes toll and houses end up being left off the agenda; in some cases, this could be your house.
All that competition from other sellers can also make it extremely hard to get the best price possible for your home.
Why would people do battle in your backyard or courtyard and end out going the extra mile, both emotionally and financially, when there are 10 or 11 other properties in your neighbourhood they have got their eyes on?
The spring rush can see your home missed, glossed over, under-appreciated, or just fall by the wayside.
That’s why there is a lot to be gained from selling in winter instead. There is less competition from other properties but just as many buyers out there. People who are in the market to buy, are in the market for their own reasons, not because of the season.
If you have sold a place and need to buy another one, you are not likely to pitch a tent somewhere and wait until spring!
Also, while the gardens might not look as pretty, you won’t encounter truly difficult seasonal problems. Australia has a moderate climate, so winter inspections only require the swapping of t-shirt and shorts for jumper and jeans.
It’s not like you’re in the USA or Europe where snow drifts and snap freezes make it impossible to stage open houses or auctions. Most parts of Australia still hit 20 degrees plus in the middle of the day in winter.
Overall, you should think of it like traffic. You wouldn’t drive in peak hour if you didn’t have to, when you could have the road to yourself at other times of the day and arrive in the best possible time. By selling in winter, you have the buyers to yourself and will arrive at the best possible price.
Tim McIntyre is the senior real estate reporter for the Daily Telegraph and News.com.au.
Over the past decade, he has attained widespread knowledge of Australia’s many unique property markets and is an authority on all things buying, selling and investing.
His commentary appears every Saturday in the Daily Telegraph Real Estate lift out, as well as online at news.com.au.