Many sellers assume—that spring and summer are the best times to sell a home. And it’s true that many buyers do plan their new home purchases during the warmer months. But that doesn’t mean all the serious buyers evaporate after Labor Day. Winter is known for many things, the least of which may be that it’s the best season to sell a home. Granted, winter isn’t exactly the most convenient time to move, but on average, homes listed between December and March sell faster than homes listed in other months, and for more money. In short, “shoppers in January and February are motivated,” says Billy Houston, owner of the brokerage Billy Houston Group, Realty Executives. “They’re looking in the winter because they need to move, not because they’re just looking for fun.”
And if people are going to brave the cold to house hunt during winter, then they’re going to make their effort worthwhile. But the perception is by many sellers, due to holiday’s they think no one would be buying. Because of this many home sellers follow suit and will either pull their listing off the market to be listed again in the spring, or hold off on listing their home on the market at all. Because of that alone winter is an advantageous time to put your home up for sale. If your home is for sale now, you’re actually in a great position to sell your home faster and for more money by taking advantage of the unique characteristics of the holiday selling season.
1. Less Competition: In the winter months, the number of houses listed on the market drastically drop. You’re not the only homeowner who’s considered taking your home off the market during the holidays—most don’t want the hassle. And most new sellers will decide to wait until the first of the year or even springtime to put their homes up for sale. That’s great news for you because you won’t have to compete with dozens of other homes just like yours to get buyers’ attention. Reduced inventory means more buyers checking out your home, either online or in person. Keep their attention by making sure your home is priced to sell and that your home is in “show” condition at all times.
2. Motivated Buyers: Anyone who takes time out of his or her busy holiday schedule to shop for a new home is serious about buying now. Perhaps they are buying a home for tax reasons or are relocating to start a new job in the New Year. Homebuyers may be more flexible during this time as well because of the time off they have during the holiday season. Maybe they’ve been looking for months and just haven’t found that perfect home yet. Whatever their reason, make it easy for these folks to get a good look at your home by staying flexible with your showing times and be open to negotiating contract terms that work with their schedules. Motivated and flexible buyers mixed with low competition will mean higher return on your property.
3. Offers More Consistent with Asking Price Because the market is less competitive in the winter months, there’s a chance that a motivated buyer will be more competitive with their offer. If they have less options on the table to choose from, and have fallen in love with your for sale home, they are more likely to give a home offer closer if not at or above the asking price. Use the low competition of homes in the price range of your home to your advantage to get a strong offer.
4. Your Home Looks Great Emotion plays a huge role in which home a buyer purchases, and you can capitalize on that by making your home cozy and cheery during showings. Tasteful decorations and a minimum of clutter will allow buyers to see their own families celebrating the holidays in your home next year. Make sure your decorations enhance rather than detract from your home’s best features, and remember to remove them as soon as the season is over. Overall there are advantages and I know some disadvantages of selling your home during the winter months. Selling a home is all about timing both for you the seller and the buyer. Getting correct information on what is beneficial to you as to current market conditions can come from a savvy realtor. We can discuss to pro’s and con’s with you.