Tips For Selling a Home in or Around Winter
Like the buying process, selling a home requires a lot of time, research, and planning. However, sellers may not consider the timing, especially if they plan to sell their home by a specific date. Many think summer is the best season to put their home on the market, but that may not always be the case. Find out why winter may be a better time to sell your home.
Less Inventory, Less Competition From Other Homes
One of the main reasons to sell a home during winter is because there's less competition from other homes. Summer is the most popular time to sell a house, meaning more properties are on the market competing for buyers, which can drive sale prices down. Therefore, selling during winter may be the best option for those who want to receive top dollar for their home.
Because fewer properties are typically on the market during winter, buyers may be more willing to pay closer to the seller's asking price or even slightly above it if the home is priced correctly. It's essential to consult with a real estate agent who can help you determine the right listing price for your home based on recent sales data and other factors.
It may be easier to find a buyer willing to pay your asking price during winter if you're selling a home that needs repairs or cosmetic updates. During summer, buyers have more options and are often more particular about the homes they're considering. With fewer buyers looking during winter, you may find someone willing to overlook some of the home's flaws.
Selling a home as-is may be easier during winter, but it's still essential to make any necessary repairs and do any staging to help your home look its best before listing it for sale. Even completing small tasks like decluttering, deep cleaning, and adding a fresh coat of paint can make a big difference in how appealing your home looks to potential buyers.
If you don't want to do any repairs or staging, selling your home to a cash buyer may be the best option. These investors are usually more interested in the property's location and condition than the actual house. Those who need to sell their home fast and as-is may find a cash buyer is their best bet.
You Can Take Advantage of the Holiday Season
The winter holidays are great for showing off your home's coziness. If you have a fireplace, light it during showings to create a warm and inviting atmosphere. You can also decorate your home for the holidays to make it more appealing to potential buyers.
Additional ways to decorate your home for sale during the holidays include:
- Setting out a holiday-themed welcome mat
- Hanging wreaths on the front door and windows
- Adding festive outdoor lighting
- Putting out a holiday-scented candle or diffuser
Decorating your home for the holidays can make it more inviting and help it stand out from other properties on the market. Don't go overboard with decorations, as the goal of staging is for interested buyers to picture themselves living in your home.
Many people have more free time during the winter holidays, meaning they're more likely to have the time to go to open houses and schedule showings. While you may get fewer buyers overall, those looking during winter are usually more serious about buying a home.
Remember, you may need to be flexible with your showing schedule if you want to sell your home during the holidays. You may need to be open to showings on weekends and evenings if you want to sell your home during winter.
Buyers May Be Relocating For a New Job
Many people start new jobs at the beginning of the new year, so they may need to relocate quickly. These buyers may be more willing to pay a premium for a home they can move into immediately.
If you're selling your home during winter and are flexible on the closing date, you may be able to negotiate a higher sales price with these buyers. Discuss your timeline and potential delays with your real estate agent so they can inform interested buyers properly.
Tips for Selling Your Home During Winter
If you are planning to sell your home soon and worried about the effect winter will have on your ability to find a great buyer and get the best possible price, the following tips will help you counteract issues associated with cold weather sales and enjoy the best possible selling experience.
Have a Plan for Inclement Weather
Selling in the winter can mean less competition from other sellers, but since there are also fewer buyers, it is important to make the most of each and every showing opportunity, no matter what kind of weather is expected.
When inclement weather threatens, sellers can help make prospective buyers feel more comfortable during the viewing by ensuring that sidewalks are kept clear, steps and porches are de-iced and absorbent mats are placed on doorsteps and in entry areas to keep their shoes clean and dry.
Utilize Lighting on Dark Afternoons & Evenings
One of the most difficult issues in selling during the winter is overcoming the impact of short, dreary winter days. Unlike the longer days of summer, winter home viewings in late afternoon and early evening are often done in dusky or near-dark conditions.
Creative uses of artificial light can help you combat this issue and create a sense of curb appeal to attract and hold the interest of motivated buyers. Some of these uses include:
- Framing sidewalks with attractive solar lighting
- Adding additional, welcoming lighting on porches and patios to highlight entry and exit doors
- Placing interior lights on timers to ensure that the home is well-light during the darker, late day hours of winter
Don't Neglect Curb Appeal
With the neighborhood covered in an endless sea of white, it can be difficult for sellers to stand out from the homes around them. To create a sense of curb appeal, consider creating a decorative focal point in the front yard to appeal to prospective buyers when they view the home or decide to do a drive by. Some ideas for this include:
- Adding a decorative bird feeder alongside an attractive park bench near the front walk
- Adding a decorative gate post with a solar light near the curb
- Replacing a boring mailbox with a more attractive one
- Adding a welcoming wreath with a splash of color to the front door
Make Your Home Memorable
Prospective buyers who brave the snow and cold weather to look at homes in the winter are motivated to purchase and should be taken seriously by sellers. One way to help your home stand out in the minds of these buyers is to provide something extra as part of the showing to make your home more welcoming and make them want to spend more time in it.
A great way to do this in winter is to provide a refreshment area in the kitchen or dining area of your home. This could include a single-serve coffee maker with an assortment of flavored pods, including coffee, tea, and hot cocoa, and a plate of warm, fragrant cookies or pumpkin bread. You can also include a few bottles of water, disposable travel cups with lids and napkins.
Consider Selling Your Home This Winter
Selling a home during winter has its challenges, but it can also be a great time to find a qualified buyer willing to pay a fair price for your property. From getting top dollar for your home to avoiding the summer rush, there are plenty of reasons to consider selling in the colder months.