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Winter time can be the right time for putting your home on the market as long as you heed the advice from your estate agent about what you can do to brighten viewings.  Richard Cleaver, Head of Residential, Shouler & Son shares his illuminating thoughts…..

While we are no longer in the darkest of December’s winter days, you don’t need to wait for the spring sunshine to showcase your home in its best light to potential buyers.

While there are tricks & tips, no seller can afford to ignore the basics of property maintenance.

The relatively mild weather since December’s nasty cold snap – which was given the rather grizzly nickname of the Troll from Trondheim (Trondheim being a fjord in central Norway) by some weather watchers – might have revealed some problem property patches with the thaw.

Check gutters, downpipes and surface water drainage areas on, in and around the property - including driveways & hard standing areas.

All should be clear of accumulations of vegetation & leaves so that water can clearly run away to where it should be going and not puddling or backfilling where it shouldn’t.

And while we are outdoors, look to the garden. Clean or clear away any rusty barbecue paraphernalia, children’s play equipment or garden furniture that’s not seen any action seen last summer.

Last autumn’s piles of leaves should really be gone by the time the viewings come around.

It should go without saying that any pet deposits should not be visible either. Potential buyers do venture out on to lawns - even in January.

Sheds and fences should look secure.

Ideally, any deterioration to paintwork on doors, window frames or sills, inside or outside and any condensation forming to double-glazed window units should be fixed.

However, if that is not feasible, at least mention them to the estate agent so that they can be prepared if potential buyers pick up on any during viewings.

Nobody likes surprises on viewings - least of all the instructed agent.

Cluttered, messy and dirty homes do not sell well.

While we don’t judge, we do advise to de-clutter, tidy and clean homes ahead of viewings.

For a strategic de-clutter, it might be worthwhile considering a short-term storage unit if you can’t occupy space in friends’ sheds or garages.

We are all trying to save money by not using tumble dryers this year, but damp washing draped on airers and radiators are a real no-no during a viewing.

Aromas of freshly brewed coffee or baked bread are a bonus but, equally, opening a window on a sunny enough day can impart a good impression.

A comfortable level of heat and light is a must for viewings at this time of year - especially after lunchtime as the sun dips away.

A warm background heat and a well-positioned lamp or two in each room give a welcoming feel.

First impressions count at any time of the year and in any market conditions.

The market is hardening and this is why it is crucial not only to instruct a local agent who is familiar with your neighbourhood and who might want to live in it, but also to listen to the agent’s advice about sprucing to sell in winter time.

My housing market mantra of the moment: Don’t wait for the daffs!  That beign side, viewings on a grey day can be brightened by tuns of snowdrops or early flowering spring bulbs at strategic points on the approach to the front door.

To talk with Shouler & Son about a marketing appraisal and a valuation of your home, contact Richard Cleaver, tel 01664 560181 or see