It’s no secret in the real estate industry that spring is peak season for potential buyers to start looking at homes. Families want to relocate while the kids are out of school and there won’t be any chance of snow-related issues during the move.
While you may get more traffic by listing your home in the spring or summer, that may not be the best choice overall. One study found that sellers are more likely to sell their home above asking price between the months of December and March. This is even true for areas with cold winters. Furthermore, homes listed in the winter sold slightly faster than those listed in the spring, on average.
A possible reason for this could be that people looking in the winter are looking because they’re more serious about buying in a timely fashion. For example, if a couple needs a bigger home before the arrival of a child or if a professional needs to move for a new job. To get in a home they love quickly, they’ll sometimes be willing to pay top dollar.
Before you make winter listings your new passion, there are a few things to consider.
- The Area’s Housing Market
Real estate fluctuates constantly. Before listing a home, do some research. Look at the homes currently for sale when winter hits. Have they all been on the market for two months? If so, it may be better to wait until the spring when there is a heavier flow of potential homebuyers. If someone sees that the home has been listed for a while, they may try to use that as leverage to lower their asking price.
- The Asking Price
Some sellers choose to price a home low to generate a bidding war. In the winter, that’s not a great idea since you’re less likely to receive multiple offers. However, you also don’t want to list the home too high because that could be an immediate turnoff. Seasoned real estate agents are pros at finding that sweet spot to hone in the right buyers.
- Repairs that Matter
Homebuyers in the winter aren’t looking for a major fixer-upper if they’re trying to move in immediately. If there are problems with the HVAC, furnace or roof, it could be a deciding factor that sends the buyers in another direction. Be sure that the home’s major systems have been inspected and updated if any repairs are needed. Additionally, change air filters, weather-strip the windows and clean the gutters before any showings or open houses.
Winter home sales might not be ideal for every seller, but it’s an option that shouldn’t be completely off the table from the start.