It's an understandable belief that selling your house in the winter is less than ideal. The majority of people would tend to agree with this assumption... Which is EXACTLY why you should ignore it!
There are plenty of reasons to list your house in the winter but the one that is most important lies within the perceptions of all the other sellers that are waiting until the spring to either put their property back on the market or are waiting to list it once the snow is gone. The fewer properties on the market competing with yours, the more demand there is for your house! Being 1-of-5 is a heck of a lot better then 1-of-15, wouldn't you agree?
Further to supply and demand... there are multiple reasons why having your house on the market now is beneficial to your situation:
1. Fewer showings equal the same result
In the Spring, summer and fall there are a lot of reasons to go look at a house either via open house or private showing. Some come to see the property as a comparable to theirs, some are looking for design ideas and many are just out for something to do on a nice day. In the winter, these reasons go out the window and into the snowbank. There is only one reason for someone to put on their boots, coats, gloves and hat, scrape off the frozen solid car and drive to your property in less than ideal road conditions.... They are considering buying it!
2. Staging with a holiday touch
Many sellers and agents (including myself) believe that staging is crucial when selling a home but it would be impossible to stage the home to fit every buyer that entered wouldn't it? Not during the holiday season! You see, the holiday season gives sellers the unique opportunity to give that warm and fuzzy feeling to everyone that enters. I don't know anyone that dislikes the holiday season, do you? Generally, a piece of artwork or a colour used during staging is enough to change the perception of a potential buyer during a showing but when holiday decorations become a part of the picture, it significantly reduces the likelihood of a buyer finding that one 'thing' that starts them down the road to not buying the house that they really do need/want.
3. Faster proceedings
Don't get me wrong, there are fewer properties listed and sold throughout the winter. This means that everything should go much smoother between sale and closing. You see, mortgage companies don't have as many deals to process, so yours starts at the top of the pile. Lawyers are only closing one house per day rather then five. Home inspectors have more time available so they can get in to look the house over sooner throughout the winter months. All of these things make for a quick and painless real estate transaction. You shouldn't take any of them lightly, all of them have the ability to add a significant amount of stress to an already difficult process.
4. Rates are low
As discussed in my previous post Mortgage Rates: Up, down or sideways, rates today are good and thus provide buyers with the ability to purchase more freely. If you have been keeping up with all of the real estate news then you know that rates are suppose to go up. Who knows if this will actually happen but if it does it will significantly impact the amount you can get for your house.
5. Buyers are out there
Everybody's situation is different but what remains the same is that there are always buyers out in the market. The Real Estate Market is open 365 days a year so don't get caught with your open sign flipped to closed.