The consensus is that the warmer months are the best time to sell a home. However, this doesn’t mean that the winter season should be overlooked. If you’re a home seller contemplating timing, winter months offer unique advantages that can put you ahead in the real estate market. From encountering serious buyers to benefiting from less competition, winter could be the optimal period for you to say goodbye to your current home.
Unearthing Serious Buyers in Winter
The summer months may bring in more homes and prospective buyers, but the winter offers quality over quantity. Fewer people may brave bad weather to attend open houses, but those who do are often committed and ready to make competitive offers. During winter, fewer potential buyers might be touring, but those who do are often more motivated.
- The chances of running into serious buyers are higher.
- Wastes less of your time on lookie-loos.
- A smaller pool of buyers could mean fewer bids.
Limited Inventory is Your Ace Card
Winter tends to see fewer homes listed on the market, leading to a significant lack of inventory. While this might sound counterintuitive, it’s good news for home sellers. Less inventory can help your listing shine brighter in the eyes of interested buyers.
- Your home will have greater market visibility.
- The opportunity for a bidding war is higher due to fewer houses available.
- Some buyers expect winter sales to equate to lower prices.
Setting the Winter Stage
One underrated advantage of selling during the colder months is the cozy, warm ambiance that you can create. With fewer daylight hours, properly staged light fixtures and a crackling fire can go a long way in providing a welcoming atmosphere. A professional home stager can help you find the right balance to make your living room feel inviting.
- A warm ambiance can make a good impression and help seal the deal.
Professional staging can highlight your home’s best features.
- Costs for professional staging and utility bills for maintaining a warm setting.
Managing Curb Appeal in a Winter Wonderland
Winter weather, though often seen as a downside, can be flipped to your advantage. A snowy exterior can lend your home a winter wonderland vibe, enhancing its curb appeal. But remember easy access to your front door, cleared by timely snow removal, is essential to let prospective buyers in.
- A scenic, snowy setting can enhance your home’s exterior.
- Snow removal requires extra effort and can be a turn-off if not managed.
The Power of Digital Listings
Given that fewer people are inclined to attend open houses during cold weather, your online listing becomes crucial. High-quality listing photos taken by a professional photographer, coupled with virtual tours, can captivate the attention of buyers who are shopping from the comfort of their own homes.
- More eyes on your online listing, possibly attracting buyers from parts of the country where winter is not an issue.
- Costs for a professional photographer and setting up virtual tours.
Timing the Winter Market
Listing your home towards the end of the year could offer tax incentives for buyers, making them more willing to meet your asking price. This timing can work particularly well if the current market is tilting in favor of sellers due to a lack of housing inventory.
- End-of-year tax benefits can motivate buyers to meet your price.
- Balancing holiday season responsibilities with home sales can be stressful.
Financial Upsides: More than Just a Good Price
Winter may be a season when fewer homes experience bidding wars, but this can be a good thing. In markets with less competition, the chances of selling at market value or even above are higher. It’s important to price your home to sell. It’s not just about getting a good price, but possibly a better one than during peak seasons.
- Greater chance of selling at or above market value.
- Risk of setting a price too high and adjusting if the market doesn’t respond.
Conclusion: The Winter Home Sale Strategy
Selling your home in the winter months is not the traditional approach, but it has distinct benefits that are often overlooked. From the type of buyers you’ll encounter to the potential for a competitive offer, winter could be the best strategy for a successful home sale. With less inventory and the holiday season creating a sense of urgency among buyers, you could find that this “off-peak” period is the perfect time for you to make a great deal on your next home.
Winter may not be the most popular time of year for real estate transactions, but for savvy home sellers, it presents opportunities that can’t be ignored. By employing the best strategy and preparing your home in the best possible light, you’ll not only make a lasting impression but potentially a more profitable sale.
In summary, each season has its challenges and its rewards. Winter is no different; it’s all about how well you play your cards in the current housing market. With focused efforts, you can turn what is considered an “off-peak” period into your peak opportunity for selling your home.
Tips for Winter Selling
How can you make the most of Selling Your House in the Winter? Follow these tips, and you are well on your way. Also, avoid these winter selling mistakes!
- A place for shoes: You don’t want potential buyers walking through your house with snowy shoes or boots. Place area rugs or mats for them to place their shoes on. It’s also a good idea to have disposable booties and a bench or chair, if there is room for one, so a visitor can sit and easily change shoes or boots.
- Make your home warm and inviting – The outside is cold and dreary most of the winter. The best way to show off your home is by making it cozy, warm, and welcoming. Use technology like a smart thermostat to control your heating system, and make sure your home’s temperature is set to an ideal spot so that your potential buyers warm up as soon as they step inside. Once the showing is complete, you can remotely turn the temperature back down to save money. You also need to make sure it’s not too hot. Too hot, feels stifling and uncomfortable. Remember, the buyers are most likely already dressed for outside. Just keep the inside comfortable 65 degrees is a good place to start. You can show off your home’s energy efficiency in marketing materials, not by cranking up the heat.
- Add Warm Colors and Textures: Textures, such as plush rugs, cozy throw blankets, and comfortable furniture, can make a home feel welcoming and inviting. These accessories should be in warmer colors, like those from the yellow, orange, and red family, to help create a cozy and inviting environment.
- Turn on the fireplace. The fireplace is a classic feature that can add warmth and coziness to a home, especially during winter. If you have a fireplace, make sure it’s featured and if possible, running while the buyers are in the home. Also, if you have “throw blankets” or pillows, put them on display around the fireplace. It will make your home a welcoming sight from the cold outdoors.
- Add Plants: Adding plants and greenery to a home can bring life and a touch of nature, adding to the warm and cozy feeling. Plants are a good idea any time of year.
- Sniff-out odors: Holiday cooking, pets, and, yes, people, all create odors. Buyers want to buy your house, not your smells. Clean and vacuum more often when selling your home in the winter months. Fragrances and candles are fine but remember, less is more. Don’t mask odors with overbearing products that make it seem like you’re hiding something, and this is the last thing you want.
- Play up the natural light: Winter means darker days – literally. There are fewer daylight hours. So, what do you do? Time your viewings and showings appropriately to get the best possible light. Don’t have them scheduled any later than 4 in the afternoon. By 4:30, the sun is down and out. You can also swap out your existing lights with brighter bulbs. Another tip? Wash your windows before viewings. It can amp up the natural lighting in your home making it more appealing for potential buyers.
- Inside lighting: Any lighting that isn’t natural should be Soft and Warm. Warm, soft lighting helps to create a cozy atmosphere. Check your light bulbs to make sure they are at the right temperature; warm lighting is considered to be below 3300° Kelvin.
- Curb appeal is still important during these colder months. Your front door should get buyers excited about what’s behind it. A fresh coat of paint or stain goes a long way in creating a strong first impression. You can also spruce up the front porch area. Add new address numbers, some new outdoor lighting fixtures, or a new doormat. Small changes like this can make a big difference.
- Snow removal is important. Don’t forget to shovel and lay down salt if someone coming to view your house slips on the way in; trust us – that’s likely all they will remember from your home. Make sure the driveway stays clear of snow and ice. Once the fresh snow is driven or walked on, it gets difficult to keep it clear, so stay ahead of the snow. Make sure to leave a spot by the door for them to take off their winter boots – rubber mats are great for this!
- Don’t forget the garage: Home sellers often use the garage to store their belongings after they declutter their homes. The colder winter months make moving stuff into the garage easier than moving it to off-site storage. Don’t forget a potential homebuyer will look in the garage. If it’s bursting at the seams, it could keep you from getting the best price possible.
- The front yard? Yes, it sounds counterintuitive, but it does matter. While most areas won’t have green grass this time of year, they won’t be covered with snow either. This usually leaves you with a nasty, yellowish-brown front yard. Do the best you can with trimming, edging, and raking out leaves and other debris. Buyers don’t expect lush green lawns, but they do expect, neat, well-maintained, and first impressions are important.
- Clean, Clean, Clean! – Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean you shouldn’t clean up and de-personalize your house. There’s no bigger turn-off than a messy house. And putting away your items allows the potential buyer to imagine themselves living in the space.
So, go ahead – sell your home in the winter! You have nothing to lose. And it could 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.