Any Realtor will tell you that home sales are hottest in the spring and summer, then dropping sharply in autumn and winter. But if you find yourself ready to move during those slow months, can you really sell your house and still turn a profit?
Read on to learn how you can successfully sell your house in the dead of winter.
The Selling Seasons
According to Realtor.com, the slowest months for home sales are November through February. On average, home sales during this period are only about 68% of those seen in peak months.
Summer tends to see the highest sales volume – and sales prices – for homes. Children are out of school for the year, making the transition to a new neighborhood a little easier. By contrast, winter months mean holidays, frantic schedules, and less time to look for and purchase homes.
It’s important to note that weather can impact whether or not you sell your house with ease. In the northern and midwestern states, where winters are harshest, colder months see fewer sales. However, more temperate climates see relatively steady home sales throughout the year.
Sometimes, sellers don’t have a choice. Perhaps you’ve finally found the perfect forever home – just before the holidays – and you simply must sell your current property. Maybe financial trouble is forcing you to sell before springtime. Or perhaps an end-of-year job transfer means you have no choice but to sell your house during the dreary winter months.
Do not fear: selling your home in the winter isn’t as bad as you’ve heard. In fact, the timing might even work in your favor.
There are several advantages to selling your home in the slow season.
Inventory is lower in the winter, giving buyers fewer homes to choose from. Therefore, even if yours isn’t the cream of the crop, options are limited, and buyers are willing to overlook shortcomings.
If buyers are looking at your home in the middle of holiday chaos, you can be sure they’re serious. While summer sees looky-loos touring open houses just for fun on a Sunday afternoon, winter doesn’t lend itself to casual browsing. Either your house is precisely what they’ve been searching for, or they’re in a hurry and need a home quickly.
Speaking of needing a home in a hurry, winter closings happen fast. Whereas lenders and title companies get backed up with loans and closings in the peak season, they are wide open come winter. You can expect those motivated buyers to already have financing lined up and for the loans to process in no time.
Of course, if you do sell your house in the off-season, consider the potential challenges.
Lack of Curb Appeal
Any real estate agent will tell you that curb appeal will help you sell your house faster. However, in the winter months, when the trees are bare, and the grass is brown, you’ll have to get creative. Instead of a well-manicured garden, use outdoor décor, patio furniture, and other aesthetic updates to liven up your space. Find more curb appeal ideas here.
Lower Home Prices
One major disadvantage of trying to sell your house in the winter is the sales price. Because the competition is fierce in warmer months, home sales prices increase in the spring and summer. November and December typically see the lowest prices for sellers. It’s still entirely possible to get the asking price or above – particularly if you’re in a desirable neighborhood. However, it could be thousands less than your neighbors sold for during peak season.
Tips to Help Sell Your House During Winter Months
Yes, it’s possible to sell your house during the winter months and sell it at or above the asking price. All it takes is some creativity and dedication.
Work with an Experienced Real Estate Agent
If you want your home to sell quickly – for the most money possible – hire an experienced and knowledgeable real estate agent. A Realtor can determine a fair and competitive price for your home and offer suggestions to help your home sell faster.
Keep Your Home Cozy
In the cold winter months, buyers will notice draftiness and heating issues. Ensure your heating system and fireplace are working, seal all windows and drafty doorways to prevent cold air from getting inside. Finally, keep your home warm and comfortable.
Let There Be Light
Daylight is in short supply this time of year. Therefore, your home should be well-lit, with curtains open to let in any sliver of natural light possible. Your agent should hire a professional photographer who can use lighting and editing to make your home appear brighter in the listing photos.
Are you trying to sell your house this winter? Are you a Realtor with tips for off-season sellers? We’d love to hear from you! Drop us a line in the comments.