There is a commonly held belief that it's a waste of time trying to sell a house until the good weather arrives in spring. Nonsense. Spring is when sales go through, but you need to start marketing your home now.
Millions of people visit the property portals in January because this is the time of year when they make life-changing decisions. We start new relationships, relocate, go freelance, commute or downsize - all of which tend to bring about a move.
Last year, more home hunters than ever before - over 100 million - visited the Rightmove property portal in January. The company's email and phone enquiries hit 4.3million. Their counterparts at Zoopla clocked up 45 per cent more visits in January than in the months prior to Christmas.
So, what can you do to capture a buyer for your home?
The right agent
That need not necessarily be the most expensive. The 'posh' agents may not put a great deal of enthusiasm into selling a mid-market home. Nor should you necessarily commission the cheap and cheerful Jack the Lad - an over-familiar agent can put off some buyers.
Make the grotty January weather work to your advantage. Organise well-advertised open-house days to attract buyers. When the viewers turn up put them at their ease by offering them a cup of something warm.
If you are friendly and welcoming, the chances are they will like you and so there is a better chance of them liking your house.
Don't ban shoes
Put a mat by the door to save your carpets, but never insist on visitors taking off their shoes. Some people feel incredibly uncomfortable without their shoes on and uncomfortable people seldom turn into buyers.
Make sure your home feels cosy. If viewings are going ahead while you are at work, then set the central heating timer for an hour before they arrive.
Light and bright
The dark winter days give you the chance to use lighting to show off your home to maximum effect. Incorporate multiple light sources — from standing lamps and table lamps to down-lighters. The best-lit rooms have layers of light that blend well together. Overhead lights wired on a dimmer will improve the mood of a room.
Many smaller homes can feel claustrophobic in winter when you cannot leave doors open to the garden or balcony. Use mirrors in narrow areas, such as the hallway, to manipulate the perception of space by reflecting light.
There is nothing you or anybody else can do to make your gardens a vision of Babylonian splendour at this time of year. All you can attempt is damage limitation by tidying up lawns and borders. However, you can impress your visitors by displaying pictures of your garden, with all the plants in bloom and the family enjoying your little sun-trap.