You can’t possibly list your home to sell in the dead of winter right? That may be what you’ve always heard, but as it turns out, there’s not reason to fear a winter listing if you find that life is leading you away from your current address. Not only are there buyers looking even during these chilly months, but barren landscapes and winter weather are no longer affecting sale prices like they once were. The average sales price of homes sold in February was up 10% over recent years across the nation. In many cities across the country, available home inventory is falling far short of housing demands, leading buyers to shop in the off-season as much as in the spring and summer months.
Low (and Old) Inventory
There are fewer houses currently on the market than there will be this spring. Many that are on the market have been lingering unsold since the summer and often buyers are suspicious of homes that have sat on the market for too long. Homes that are listed for sale in December and January will have fewer newly listed competitors and will look fresh and and exciting against the listings that a buyer has already viewed many times.
Frustrated Buyers are Coming Back
For those who didn’t find what they were looking for in the summer, January may seem like the perfect time to make a fresh start. A buyer who put in multiple offers over the summer only to fail to make a deal may have given up in frustration for a few months, and now they’re ready to start their hunt again.
Winter Buyers are SERIOUS
Who wants to spend the holiday season shopping for a house, visiting home after home and working with mortgage brokers? Who jumps in the car during snow flurries to attend an open house or meet with their agent? Serious buyers, that’s who. The people looking for a home during the holidays and battling icy roads to see their dream listing in person are motivated to find the right home and reach a deal on it as quickly as possible.
Winter as a Selling Point
For most homes, you can be guaranteed that the most barren and plain they will ever look will be in the dull winter months when lawns and shrubs are dormant and grey skies cast a shadow on even the happiest looking home. If a buyer loves the way your house looks in the January gloom, chances are they just really love your house, and will do what it takes to make a deal happen. There are other practical reasons for buyers to see a home in the winter – they can verify themselves that the heating and plumbing systems are fully functional and able to withstand winter weather, and that the roof isn’t creaking under the weight of an unexpected snowfall.
Hunting Your Next House
If you’re selling a home, chances are good you are looking for one to purchase as well. Your own house hunting experience will go smoother during the winter months, when there are fewer buyers competing for the houses that are on the market. You can be much less worried about someone else jumping in and negotiating your dream home away from you during the slower winter sales times.
The bottom line – if your home is in ready-to-list shape and you have a dedicated agent who knows how to aggressively market your home in the off-season, you can make a successful sale even in the heart of winter!