It’s that time of year again…which begs the question of whether it’s worthwhile trying to sell your home now, or just wait until spring. Many people choose to do the latter and either let their listing expire, or pull their home off the market during the holidays and winter months.
It has been common practice, and many sellers and agents believe that it is better to take a home off the market in winter to “refresh” it and then re-list it in the spring – since more homes sell at that time of year anyway. My listing clients often ask me: “Isn’t it a waste of time? Won’t my house just sit on the market, increase the market time and become shopworn? Maybe the market will be better in 2014?” The fact is, if you want to sell your home, it should absolutely be on the market during the winter.
Here are my top 8 reasons why you should market your home during winter:
1. Less Competition – Most sellers don’t put their homes on the market during the last or first couple of months of the year. So, if there are buyers in your local market, you may be at an advantage selling when most sellers are waiting.
2. More Time to Get Top Dollar – With less competition, by marketing your home early you may be able to secure a higher price.While the buyer may have had thirty homes to compare and choose from in June, there may only be ten homes that fit their criteria in January. If they are motivated to buy, they will choose one of those ten homes.
3. January is the Biggest Transfer Month – Did you know that more corporate moves happen during the month of January than at any other month of the year? Corporate transferees, who need to buy a house now, simply cannot wait until spring. I’ve seen this firsthand; clients say “I’m flying out for a week/few days. We’d like to see these 11 homes (maybe some others?) and we’ll be making an offer before we leave.”
4. More Serious Buyers – you may have fewer showings but more qualified buyers.
5. Better Timing – By selling your house during the winter you may have the opportunity of “first dibs” on the plentiful spring inventory.
6. Homes Show Well During the Holidays – The holidays are a great time to show homes because they feel warm decorated inside and out.
7. Showing Flexibility – Rather than pull your house off the market and miss a good prospect, change the showing procedure to require advance notice or restrict showings when you have company. Buyers will understand. (Just be aware of the limited time relocation transferees have to see properties.)
8. Changing dynamics in home buyer searches – justifying not listing in winter because there are less daylight hours, and bad weather inhibits buyers from wanting to see homes is not relevant as it was in the past. According to the National Association of Realtors, nine out of ten home buyers search for homes online – at their workplaces, on their smart phones, and from the comfort of their homes after dark.
Sellers who stick out the market through the winter actually increase their chance to sell significantly. When the smaller number of winter sales are compared to the smaller inventory of available homes, you’ll see that an individual home seller may actually be just as likely to have their home sell in winter as in summer.
Much like the old printed MLS listing books, newspaper ads, and pocket listings, this practice of “seasonal marketing” has seen its better days. That’s why it is important that you hire an agent who is in tune with current buying trends and has more updated marketing practices. My knowledge of the real estate market, use of cutting edge technology, savvy marketing and negotiating skills, and of course my ability to listen to my clients’ needs is what will help you achieve your goals.
The bottom line is home sellers today who adapt to the new real estate landscape and the modern buyer’s online searching habits put themselves at a significant advantage over their selling competition–even in winter.