The internet is rife with real estate advice, some of it true and a lot of it false. One idea that tends to pop up is that summer is the best time of year to list a home for sale. This is largely based on data collected by online real estate database company Zillow from 24 large real estate markets in the United States, and while that is a decent representation, it’s not at all definitive. The truth is, there is no “best time” to sell a property — there are pros and cons to every season. While putting your home on the market in the winter may present some challenges, with the right preparations you can sell your house faster and for more money.
Price it Right
You don’t have to price your home lower just because it’s the off-season, but also don’t go crazy with that asking price. It’s easier than ever for people to research real estate market trends, so potential home buyers know if you’re overpricing. If you want to sell your house quickly in the winter, educate yourself on trends and home prices in your area to find reasonable asking price that won’t necessitate too much haggling to settle.
One of the cons of selling a home in winter is that traffic tends to be a bit slower. Fewer people are out looking at properties because they’re either distracted by the holidays or prefer to stick to the indoors because the weather is bad. However, the people who are browsing homes this time of year are more likely to feel a sense of urgency to make a decision on where they will live, as it is the time for first-quarter job transfers and there is less inventory on the market. Because of this, it is important to be very hospitable to anyone who comes through that door. A good first impression and a warm welcome can make a positive association in their mind, which improves your chances of getting a serious offer.
Here are some helpful tips when showing your house:
● Light a fire. Not only does it create a cozy atmosphere, but it also smells divine.
● Play soft music.
● Turn on all the lights in the house and open up drape and curtains.
● Run a humidifier to make your home’s air less dry (just make sure to change filters
● Don’t pressure or hurry the potential buyer.
● Provide light refreshments.
● Leave note cards that detail vital information about home features.
● In the end, supply them with pens and a stack of questionnaire cards for feedback.
Stage with the Season in Mind
Staging your home to sell in the winter isn’t too different from other parts of the year. You want it to be clean and decluttered while highlighting the property’s best features. However, there are a few differences. For one, the home’s curb appeal may not be as eye-catching as the plants and grasses in your yard may be dormant. Laying down mulch in the front yard can help with this problem. Not only does it help your yard look more polished, but it also insulates the soil that protects plant roots from the winter chill. Furthermore, a layer of mulch is an effective barrier that keeps mud off your shoes and by proxy your floors.
Putting your home on the market in winter may mean less traffic, but people who are shopping during this time of year are more serious about making a purchase in a timely manner. Accurately pricing your home so there isn’t a need to haggle makes it more likely that you’ll snag a serious buyer. Be hospitable with everyone who walks through your door — the right first impression can lead to a sale. And while home staging in the winter isn’t really that different than summer, your curb appeal may suffer due to the season. Making adjustments like laying mulch in the front yard can make up for a lack of vegetation in the chillier months.
While you may not think that listing a home in the winter is a great idea, with proper guidance from your trust real estate agent- it can be successful. Contact us if you are thinking about selling your home 304.645.2255
Gregory Allman, Broker