You’ve probably heard that once the cold weather comes, you should just sit and wait to list your home.
What bad advice!
Buying and selling a new home in the winter presents a different set of challenges, as well as benefits. Simply waiting for the weather to change may not be to your advantage.
Before you decide to hibernate—and postpone your own chance to move to the home you’ve been dreaming of—make a plan to sell your home in the winter.
Why winter is actually a good selling season.
- Buyers buy faster. Research studies have shown that houses listed in the winter (December-March) sell faster. On average, they’re on the market about a week less than those listed in the spring and summer.
- Winter buyers are often more serious. They’re making the move to buy a house because of need. They’re changing jobs or being relocated (which often happens in the first quarter). Their family is expanding, either with a baby on the way or an elderly family member in need of moving in with them. Whatever the reason, winter home shoppers are frequently pushed to make a quick decision and move.
- Mortgage rates rise with the temperature. Historically, the interest rates for home loans increase in the spring, giving winter homebuyers an edge.
- Inventory is leaner. Because so many people subscribe to the myth that homes don’t sell in the winter, you will have less competition. With fewer homes on the market—and motivated buyers—you’re more likely to have an edge in price negotiation.
How to dress to impress.
- Add light. The days are shorter and the light isn’t as bright in the winter. Don’t let your prospective buyers tour a dim home. Add more light where you need it—lamps, recessed lighting, sconces. Walk through your home late in the afternoon to see where you need more light.
- Show off the summer landscaping. Your buyers are possibly seeing your yard under a blanket of snow, or worse yet, with dead grass and shrubs. Leave open a photo album that showcases your outdoor spaces in the spring, summer, and fall.
- Keep the heat on. If your home is vacant, be sure the temperature is warm enough to welcome potential buyers. When they’re too cold, they’ll take a hasty tour and make a quick exit. Invest in a smart thermostat that you can control from your mobile device, or use a timer.
- Stage it for winter coziness. Add some wintry touches that help your buyers feel at home in this season. A soft throw over an ottoman, coffee cups and a plate of scones or cookies on your kitchen table, and seasonal décor on your mantle all add to successful staging.
Never underestimate the power of a buyer’s motivation, and don’t postpone your own desires to move into your new home as soon as you can. Winter can be the right time to find the right buyer.