Best Practices for Selling your Home in the Winter Months
You may not think of winter as the best time to sell your home. Much of the data proves you right.
According to ATTOM Data Solutions, selling your home in the spring and early summer makes the most sense. Home sellers in June average a seller premium of 9.2% and those in May average 7.4%.
But there’s more to the story. Winter can be a great time to sell a house.
First, each market differs. You could actually sell your home for more money during the winter months if you live in a warmer climate.
For instance, in the Miami metro area, the best time to sell your home is January—right in the heart of winter (well, the weather’s nice in South Florida then).
Second, as an article in the Motley Fool notes, winter can work to your advantage, especially on the competition front. With the right strategy, you can sell your home for more money. Less inventory can drive up your price!
So, if you want to sell your home during the cold season, you can succeed. Here’s why you should sell your home in the winter and how to do it:
Winter brings serious and ready buyers
Let’s face it: Many people looking to buy a home don’t want to brave the cold. They decided to wait.
It’s okay that you lose this type of buyer. They may not have the motivation or need to buy right now.
But those home-shopping in the winter are highly motivated. This makes winter the perfect time to market your home to serious buyers. And serious buyers will put more money in your pocket during this season.
It all stems from less competition. During winter, housing inventory typically decreases. That means less choices for buyers. You can leverage market conditions to get a higher offer.
Source: National Association of Realtors
As you can see, housing inventory rose during spring and through the summer, and began to decline during the fall. If you list your home on the market in January 2020, you’ll have much less competition than you would in the summer.
Home sellers often don’t think of other advantages that come with selling your home in the winter. With clients at DLP Realty, I remind them that holidays equal more free time for house shopping. That gives our Success Managers time to contact our large network of active buyers and show them your home.
Moreover, about two-in-three employers give holiday bonuses and perks, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas survey. That indicates more buyers could have the cash to make an offer on a home during the winter.
When it comes to having more money to buy a home, remember tax season. Many folks file taxes during the winter and receive tax refunds. Those tax refunds could help with a downpayment.
Additionally, you can’t forget about new beginnings and New Year’s resolutions. For many, buying a home is their resolution for the new year. As a home seller, that benefits you!
Simply put, more people are prepared to buy a home during the winter—both financially and personally. They have more free time, want to fulfill a resolution, and have more money on hand.
Home repairs that give you return on your money when selling in the winter
You only have seven seconds to make a first impression. How do you prepare your home to wow buyers?
When selling your home in the winter, keep it simple. Don’t over-improve. The goal is to turn interested parties into buyers. Major repairs, like a complete kitchen remodel, may not deliver the return on investment you seek. Talk with a real estate agent about what home repairs make sense beforehand.
What you should focus on is:
- removing clutter so that the home is neat and organized
- fixing obvious issues, such as leaky faucets, broken light bulbs, and wall dents
- cleaning gutters and outside debris so the exterior looks nice
- renewing dull interior areas with fresh paint
At DLP, we refer to this as the three R’s of getting your home ready for sale: Remove, repair, and refresh. The strategy focuses on eliminating the problem areas, so the bright spots stand out more.
Since you’ll show the property during winter, heat the home and keep it extra cozy. If you have a fireplace, turn it on during showings. No matter what time of the year people view a home, they want to imagine themselves in the home. If the home feels warm and welcoming, they’ll connect to it on a personal level.
Also, light outdoor spaces with spotlights, as it gets dark very early. Don’t overdo holiday decorations (even if you’re famous in the neighborhood for holiday lights). It can look tacky when selling your home and could turn off certain buyers.
Another thing I have our Success Managers remind sellers during the winter is to clear the driveway and walkways. You absolutely don’t want a potential homebuyer slipping on an icy patch as they walk up to the door. That’s not the way to start a showing!
Marketing your home during the winter
Follow best practices for marketing your home. The season doesn’t matter. To sell your home for maximum profit, you need to do everything from list on MLS® and real estate sites to post on social media and create virtual tours.
Don’t neglect offline marketing either. Yard signs may not be as viewable in the winter, so make sure they stand out. Take out newspaper ads too. And make use of your personal network. Word-of-mouth remains a powerful way to market a home.
The point is this: Utilize all your marketing avenues. You’ll get more people looking at your home
Furthermore, hiring the right real estate agent matters even more during the winter. By partnering with an agent committed to your success, you can create and implement a strategy suited for your home sale. And that will be more effective at generating the results you want.
For more info on how to market your home and sell for more than the competition, read our detailed guide.
For those selling in the winter, I also recommend taking photos before winter snow. So, do that as soon as possible.
After all, 93% of home buyers start their search online, according to data from the National Association of Realtors. Your listing should include photos from the spring and summer to show it looks good. That way, buyers have a reference if the house is covered in snow when they view it.
Making your winter home sale a success
You can sell your home in the winter both quickly and for maximum profit. To achieve that, make repairs and upgrades that will deliver ROI. And follow the best home staging tips to turn lookers into buyers.
Additionally, develop and execute a marketing plan. By partnering with the right real estate agent, you can get the word out to the most possible people.
Finally, have a backup plan to ensure a successful sale. Because there are no guarantees in real estate. Even if you can’t find a good buyer, you have options.
At DLP Realty, we have programs to guarantee you sell your home. We even can make you cash offer for your home within 24 hours. That means no hassle, no showings, no commissions, no repairs, and cash in your pocket within 7 days. How amazing is that?