Winter is not a time of year typically associated with a lot of home sales, but real estate experts advise that owners can actually tap this unique market. All it takes is a different type of prep work and a positive attitude.
While bright, sunny days coupled with warm weather and green grass can seem like the best way to market a home, some industry insiders actually prefer to market a home in winter. Homes tend to be more brightly lit and festively decorated in a way that makes a listing look a lot more “homey”.
Everyone is Motivated in the Winter
Another huge benefit that comes with putting a home up for sale in the winter is interest of getting a deal done as quickly and easily as possible. Sellers who decide to sell in the winter are typically those who either have to get their homes on and off the market quickly or have had the property up for sale for a few months and want to strike a deal as soon as possible.
In either case, real estate professionals will often advise that buyers at this time of year are likewise motivated to move in quickly. They might need to move for job-related reasons and want to do so when there’s less competition from other buyers or hope to relocate while prices are still below what they might expect to see a few months down the line.
What to Keep in Mind
It’s worth noting that homeowners have a serious part to play in making sure their properties are fully up to code and ready for the sales process. Any issues that arise could hold up what would otherwise be a quick and easy sales process. That point goes beyond simply making sure a home is ready for a photo or video shoot and involves ensure all home systems (heating and cooling, hot water heaters, etc…) are in good working order.
When mishaps arise with those home systems, they can lead to backups because of how busy the associated repair professionals are at this time of year. Therefore, getting systems tested before the home is put up for sale is usually a great idea.
Likewise, it’s usually smart for owners to invest in a home warranty ahead of a sale to make sure that if something does go wrong for those systems, they’ll have some financial protection and added peace of mind. That can be a huge benefit for buyers as well, and highlighting that protection might be an extra selling point at this time of year.
It’s also important for owners to remember that the more limited number of shoppers seen on the market at this time of year means that they might need to be a little more flexible in how they conceive of the sales process. Some home buyers may be perfectly willing to buy, but then the holiday season gets in the way, delaying the sale. Other buyers might want to get the sales process wrapped up as quickly as possible. Home sellers should be prepared for all scenarios.
Hosting an Open House
Because of how tight anyone’s schedule can be at this time of year, there are not as many open houses. This can actually present a significant opportunity for you to show off your home with an open house and putting your best foot forward.
Make sure your home is 100 percent ready for that open house. At this time of year, that effort usually starts with two different types of curb appeal. First, it’s important to keep a yard in the best shape possible, even if there’s a blanket of snow on it. Clearing out sticks and dead leaves can go a long way here, as can tasteful holiday decoration, where it’s appropriate.
The other aspect of curb appeal is making sure all paths are safe for people to walk on. Clearing snow, ice and puddles from driveways and walkways, as well as the sidewalks will help sellers and their guests avoid any potential accidents and also show that you are conscientious about attending to your property.
Issues to Avoid
Once open houses have been held and bids are starting to come in, keep a positive mental attitude. It can be easy to worry about getting a sale done in short order or a good price for a home, but at especially at this time of year, sellers’ agents will have more time to devote to the sale of their listings and make sure everything goes smoothly.
Remember, at some point the finer details of a sale are out of the sellers’ hands. Rather than getting worked up about things you can’t control, it’s usually a better idea to let you agent do his/her job. Relax and enjoy the season for what it is – an opportunity to spend time with family and friends.