Should you sell your home in winter? The Weekend Herald has crunched 13 years of sales data to find out whether Auckland homes really do sell for higher prices in spring.
It's official - listing your home for sale in spring, once winter's chills have passed helps get you a higher price.
Over the last decade, Auckland homes have typically sold for at least $10,000 more in spring than in winter, new OneRoof-Valocity data shows.
It proves real estate agents are not quoting myths when they advise sellers to wait until spring to put their homes on the market.
In fact - since 2006 - Auckland homes sold in the winter months (June, July and August) have never gone for a higher median sales price than those sold in the three spring months that followed.
This trend was at its greatest in 2016 when homes sold in spring fetched a whopping $50,000 more than those sold in the preceding winter.
However, not everyone has the luxury of waiting until spring to sell. So if you must sell in winter, here's what you need to do to get the maximum price for your home.
Start by staying positive. In recent years, the gap between spring and winter prices has been closing.
Last year, spring prices were only $8500 higher than winter prices, while in 2017 Auckland's winter and spring median sales prices were exactly the same at $850,000 - the only time in the last 13 years that prices were not lower in winter.
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James Wilson - director of valuation at property analysts Valocity - said the big jump in spring prices between 2012 and 2016 was largely due to Auckland's booming housing market, where prices tended to rise every month, regardless of the season.
"While there is a clear trend showing a higher sales price for spring, the figures do not support the doom and gloom tales, warning against selling during winter," he said.
As further proof of this, winter house prices have typically held their value well compared to Autumn.
In six of the last 13 years, Auckland's median winter sales price has been either equal to or higher than prices in the preceding autumn.
Bayleys national residential manager Daniel Coulson said buyers willing to house-hunt during the winter cold were "already more committed than those in other seasons".
"If you can draw them in and present your home as a haven that radiates cosiness, warmth and light you will go a long way towards securing a great sale," he said.
Owen Vaughan, editor of property website OneRoof, said it's important to spruce up your front garden because that's the first part of your house buyers will see.
"If it's all muddy, looking like a mess - and most people don't tend to their garden in winter - buyers are going to start taking the dollars off before they even enter the door," he said.
Good tips include getting the waterblaster out to remove moss and lichen from walls, driveways and fences and clearing gutters and removing dead leaves and fallen branches.
"Add a splash of colour by planting pots or prominent garden areas with eye-catching winter bloomers, such as polyanthus, pansies or lobelias," Coulson said.
Help buyers see the light
Coulson said buyers shop with all their senses so it's important to help them see the light.
"A warm, dry, well-lit and well-presented home will make an instant impression when they walk in from the cold," he said.
For this reason, it's important to hold open homes in the middle of the day when the sunlight is brightest.
Make the most of this natural light by opening all the curtains and blinds and pruning any plants that cast shadows over windows.
You should supplement the natural light with "warm internal lighting" and lamps placed throughout the home.
Cosy and dry
"Any hint of dampness or visible mould will be an instant turn-off for buyers," Coulson said.
So give your home a good airing out and be sure to get rid of any mould.
"If you have one, nothing says cosy like the glowing embers and dancing flames of a wood burner or fireplace," Coulson said.
"Add to the impression by deploying warm-looking quilts, duvets and blankets on beds, couches and shelving."
Appeal to the senses
Common tips for adding zing to your open home viewing include hanging appealing art works on the walls, laying soft rugs on cold hard floors and lighting fragrant candles.
But it's also a good idea to keep these touches simple, OneRoof's Vaughan said.
"A lot of people think if you do a good smell like fresh bread that it's a nice trick, but it can go badly wrong and you can have a house that stinks and puts off buyers," he said.
"So best to keep it to fresh smells - keep it aerated, keep it fresh."