January has traditionally been a slow month in the real estate business as the majority of sellers wait until the middle of February or later to capitalize on the early spring and summer markets which are traditionally the hottest months of the year in real estate. However, it can be suggested that putting your house on the market in January could prove more beneficial to you as the seller.
Placing your home on the market in January gives you as the seller an advantage over the sellers waiting for spring or summer to sell their house. First, you have less competition from other sellers. This means that your listing will be seen by more buyers and could potentially be on the market for fewer days. Second, the market isn't as frenzied as it will be when the weather warms up. This allows you, as the seller, more time to review the offers.
In the hot seller's market we are experiencing today, there are far more buyers than sellers. As such, inventory of homes for sale is low and more buyers will be viewing your listing. This can lead to a higher chance of getting full asking price or more with the increased exposure of your property.
Some tips for preparing your home for sale in the winter months:
- Make the outside appealing. Take down the Christmas lights. If your home looks dated on the outside, it gives the impression that it is dated inside as well. Spruce up the entrance way with a nice wreath on the door or even an urn or two with light, appealing tree branches in them.
- Ensure the temperature inside the house is comfortable for any showings and that interior lights compensate for the duller natural lighting from outside. You don't want to give the appearance of a dark and dreary house. The brighter and cheerier the interior, the better presentation value. If it's too cold, the buyer may not walk away with a very good impression.
- Have pictures available of the landscaping in summer months. If you have a beautifully landscaped yard and flower or vegetable gardens, it adds to the value of your home. Show the buyer what the property will look like when the weather warms up. Curb appeal matters and landscaping can go a long way towards bringing in the right buyers.
- Make sure to clean walkways and the driveway. If it's icy, have salt readily available and be sure to use it on showing days to lessen the chances of someone slipping and falling.
In essence, make your house warm, cheery and inviting so that the potential buyers feel at home and they'll be more open and receptive to placing an offer on your house.