I’ve come to realise over the past few years that South Africans hibernate during winter. Once the chilly season sets in, any thoughts of an evening braai go up in smoke, social events are generally poorly attended and it feels like the streets may as well be rolled up after 7pm.
Of course it’s only natural that people feel less inclined to go out into the cold when there’s a warm fire, a good movie and a hot cup of chocolate to be had at home. The trouble is the cold weather also tends to affect house sales.
Baby, it’s cold outside
In certain parts of countries such as Canada and America this is particularly true. For instance, Manitoba and parts of Ontario in Canada saw sales plummet by 15% in the first quarter of 2014 thanks largely to a vicious winter. The upshot is that many homeowners in such areas only put their house on sale during the warmer months.
Although South Africa doesn’t suffer from quite the same levels of cold and snow, most real estate agents agree that winter isn’t the best time to try and sell a house because of low show day attendance and because the garden and light aren’t at their best. Having said that, it’s quite possible to sell your house year round in South Africa and there are certain things you can do to make your home “show ready” whatever the weather.
In summer, pay special attention to your garden as this is when it could quickly grow out of control. Likewise, if you have a pool, pay extra attention to making sure it looks good as rain can quickly make it go green. If your home or certain rooms get hot during summer, consider purchasing a simple ceiling fan or an air conditioner as excessively hot and stuffy interiors can be off-putting to buyers. Lastly, make the most of any exterior entertaining spaces you may have. A well maintained entertainment space complete with appealing patio furniture and braai smacks of summer and can make your home that much more desirable.
They’re coming … it’s inevitable
Autumn and winter are a good time to spruce up exteriors on the Highveld if you’re planning to sell. The reverse is true of the Cape. That said, don’t undertake any major painting or refurbishment projects unless necessary. Just do enough to make a good impression. In line with this, sweep up old leaves, let as much light into your house as possible, do your best to eliminate any wet pet odours and make sure the house is cosy and most importantly, warm.
Come spring, ensure that you give your house a traditional spring clean. Air it, wash all the linen, clean out all the cobwebs and the fire place (if you have one) and pack away the blankets and heaters. Bin the old winter magazines and newspapers, remove any dead pot plants and donate or store any items which are cluttering up your shelves and cupboards. Lastly, place some beautiful fresh spring flowers in a prominent spot and add some subtle, scented candles.