The Pro's and Con's of Selling Your Home in Winter

Traditionally the spring market is viewed as “THE” time to sell a home and while it is a great time, the winter market offers an excellent opportunity for selling, and buying, as well.

Being well informed about the benefits and the challenges will help you decide if it’s the right time for you or not.

The upside of a winter real estate transaction:

1)      Reduced Competition – Winter buyers have a smaller pool of homes to compare with, as a result sellers can generally ask for a higher price.

2)      Serious Buyers – Winter buyers are typically looking to “buy” a home, not just to “window shop” homes. Setting your home up for serious buyers means these time wasters stay at home.

3)      Less Emphasis on the Yard – Having a warm and cozy home means better visibility in the winter. It also means driveway cracks, weeds, worn pool liner, bad landscaping and ugly gardens are well hidden. These outdoor features can make a world of difference in the summer but get little attention in the winter.

4)      Timing – Having a firm sale in January or February means you can shop for homes in the spring market and have the luxury of a firm number for offers. Sellers like fewer conditions and, eliminating the financing condition, can help you buy a house for less than another buyer who has many conditions.

The Downside:

1)    Exterior Maintenance – Winter means snow and ice. You will need to give extra attention to ensure pathways are clear and slip-free so your many guests won’t have an accident. Removing snow from decks, patio’s and side entrances is also recommended to give buyers a complete view of your home. 

2)      First Impressions - Snowy feet at your door will mean melting snow from the boots and shoes will need to be cleaned-up often to ensure your first impression is a pleasing one. A good suggestion is extra mats or boot trays to help tame the mess.

3)      Showings – In the summer it’s pretty easy to step out for a walk while a showing is going on. In the colder months it will mean being more of a regular at the local coffee shop or your neighbors. While many home owners prefer to be home while a showing is going on, it’s not recommended. Buyers like to feel they can poke around and make open conversation with their realtor without fear of insulting you. Buyers who aren’t comfortable may not stay long enough to make that buying decision!

According to the Toronto Real Estate Board, in 2012 nearly 14% of all the homes sold in the GTA were sold in January and February alone, a testament to the value of this time of year.

Next Step:

Understanding the local market is key to understanding what the potential value of your home is to buyers and, getting the most money for your home. All of my clients get the benefit of a free staging consultation and their home is expertly advertised 24 hours a day with my customised selling system.

If you are considering a possible sale at this time of year, I can help. Call me for free information and advice, I truly work for my clients “from sign up to sign down”.

Robert Atkinson

Robert Atkinson

CENTURY 21 Leading Edge Realty Inc., Brokerage*
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