How to househunt wisely in Winter

Winter is the best time to househunt in the UK (Why?) but you’ll need to take some particular precautions if you’re going to do it well….


  • Wait until the weather’s particularly bleak (snow and ice is ideal), and drag yourself away from the fire for a drive-by of the property you’re interested in.  It’s a great time to check accessibility especially – but not only – for more isolated properties. 


  • Choose your viewing time wisely, factoring in the limited daylight hours you have available to you. There’s little point viewing a property in the dark. Take warm clothes – you don’t want the cold and wet to prevent you from having a really good look outside, not just at the garden, the surroundings and the view, but at the fabric of the property itself. Without the benefit of the sun, you’ll need a compass to establish the aspect, and check what trees and buildings will obscure the sun at various zeniths when it reappears next spring.


  • Be a good viewer -take off your shoes, or bring indoor options.  The vendors may well have been extra-accommodating to allow you in during the busiest time of the year for guests and activities -show your appreciation. Most often people like to sell to people they like, so, if they are in the property, don’t criticise – it won’t help you in negotiations!! 


  • Once inside, ask the agent or vendor to turn out all the lights (they will have been instructed to turn them all on!) so you can establish how much natural light the property gets. And check whether the heating’s turned up to the max – it may feel warm and cosy, but at what cost?


  • There’s plenty of research that can play into your hands at this time of year. How long has the property been on the market? If it came on in the spring, there’s a fair chance that the vendor’s beginning to feel desperate, and a mid-winter chilly offer could receive a warm reception. There’s no better time for an aggressive offer than the second week of December.


  • While pre-Christmas is always a good time to negotiate a good deal, don’t be unreasonable about timing. There’s little benefit to trying to exchange and complete in limited time before the festivities. Solicitors close early for Christmas and remain closed for two weeks, stress levels will rise, and even if you do complete and move before Christmas, you’ll spend the holiday staring at cardboard boxes and trying to figure out how to use the Aga and the central heating system.


Of course, your local Buying Agent will do much, if not all, of the hard work for you -the research, the viewing arrangements, the negotiating – so why not have a no-obligation chat with your local Property Finder today?

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