There is no shortage of advice and opinions when it comes to buying and selling homes. Sometimes these opinions are based on perceptions that sound good but don’t relate to real-world experience. One such opinion is the conventional wisdom that says selling a home in the winter season is a bad idea. There are actually benefits to selling your home in the winter that you may not realize.
While it might not be as ideal as warmer months for reasons that have more to do with convenience and comfort, homes do sell in the winter and a case can be made that it is actually the best time to sell.
Cold weather filters out those buyers that aren’t serious. You know those people, they might be interested, but they really aren’t sure. They don’t know what they want, so they’re just “looking”. These potential home buyers would be visiting open houses, but there aren’t many of those this time of year.
Prospective home buyers in the winter months are serious, motivated, and ready to buy. Often, it’s because they have to. Maybe their current living situation abruptly changed or they had to move because of job changes - whatever the case may be, they mean business, and their hunt for a new home is frequently urgent.
The start of the new year is often the start of new jobs. Large corporations tend to make their personnel changes and relocations at the beginning of the year. January relocations bring motivated homebuyers, these people are looking to get situated quickly.
The goal is usually to move once, not again in the spring. These people are looking to get their kids in school and their lives back on track, this makes them great buyers. Additionally, many of these buyers receive relocation benefits or assistance from their employers. This can make the negotiations a little easier.
Some homes just have that warm cozy feel, maybe it’s the style of decorating, the holiday season, or perhaps the architecture but these houses inspire buyers more during the winter months. Big fireplaces invite buyers to imagine sitting in front of them on a cold winter night. This sort of inspiration doesn’t happen during the summer months.
While you're embracing the winter months, it is important that you keep the sidewalks and driveway clear of both snow and ice. Navigating through cold slippery snow and ice can bring a bit of cold reality to the homebuyer that you don’t want.
Unless you've completely missed the boat on pricing your home correctly, selling in the winter can get you a higher price. The fact is that there is less inventory, and fewer choices for buyers during the winter months. If your home is priced competitively and shows well, winter buyers will be less likely to try and negotiate the price down. Since they have fewer options, they are less likely to risk losing out on a good home at a fair price. During the more active and competitive summer months, buyers are more likely to have a couple of properties they are interested in, so they feel more compelled to negotiate the price and conditions.
There are fewer properties on the market in the winter. Most home sellers prime their homes and get ready to sell in the spring market, at this time of year, the market is saturated. Potential buyers have possibly 30 plus homes to choose from. Yet, in the winter months, they might have only 5. Fewer options mean you have less competition. In fact, the inventory of homes falls almost 20% in some places during the fall to winter transition. It bumps up your chances of selling (and again, you’re more likely to get that price you want for your house).
In the hectic summer months, your real estate agent might be stretched thin. Maybe it’s tough getting an appointment or perhaps you just don’t feel like your home is getting enough attention. This isn’t a problem in the winter.
Winter is technically their slow season. Real estate agents are looking for winter listings. This means they’ll want to sell yours in the winter. Once the spring market arrives, they’ll be loaded down with a bunch of clients. Right now, you’re their top priority. You’ll get more attention - meaning your home will be listed in all the right places. And it will definitely be showcased the best and right way.
Christmas lighting and decorations just make a neighborhood look more friendly and welcoming. According to the New York Post, one in five Americans is going to extreme lengths to outdo their neighbors for the holiday festivities this year. This is great news for home sellers, even your neighbors are helping. You don’t see this type of advantage in the warmer spring, and summer months.
How can you make the most out of these winter benefits? We’ve got you!
So, go ahead - sell your home in the winter! You have nothing to lose. And it could really improve your chances of selling your home. Yes, there are fewer potential buyers but you will be in a less competitive real estate market and should find more serious prospective buyers. Housing inventory levels should also be at seasonal lows which can only help. So why not? It could be the perfect time to sell, so talk to one of our agents about selling your house.