A lot of people find winter to be one of the most difficult times to sell a home. Truth be told, the entire winter season, from before the holidays through the end of February, is generally the slowest in the real estate industry. But that doesn’t mean the winter is a bad time to sell your home. The winter months, particularly February, can actually be beneficial to the seller.
Why You Should Sell in the Winter
One of the reasons the winter is considered a difficult time to sell is because there aren’t many buyers. After all, who wants to fight holiday traffic, brave the bitter cold, or slip on ice to view homes? During the colder months, potential buyers are making their plans but most of them aren’t in any real rush to make a purchase. A lot of people will even take their homes off the market in December, allowing their contracts with their showing agents to run out, thinking they’ll get a fresh start in the spring.
But here’s the deal – people who are looking to buy homes during the winter months are usually very motivated. They have a reason they’re moving, even if it’s snowing or the weather just plain stinks. They’re relocating because of a new post or new job; or for some reason that makes a move necessary right now.
According to Redfin, “74% of homes listed in February sold within 90 days, and 13% of them sold for more than the list price.” These buyers need good homes and they don’t have as much to choose from.
Preparing Your Home for a Winter Sale
The need of the buyer doesn’t mean you can slack off with home preparation work, though. Your home needs to look just as inviting as it would during the warmer months, which honestly means a little more effort on your part. Some ideas include:
Shoveling and salting the walks frequently; for an inviting atmosphere and for safety;
Make the home look brighter by removing unnecessary window treatments;
Emphasizing parts of the home that make it appealing in the winter – like an attached garage or a mudroom;
Emphasize conveniences near the home – close schools, regular plowing and city conveniences, close stores;
Decorate the home. Even after the holidays, plain wreaths with adornments look much nicer than an empty doorway.
Regular interior staging rules apply, of course. Cleaning and decluttering are important, as are making necessary home repairs. Just know that selling a home during the winter months isn’t impossible, and leaving the home on the market while others are pulling them can up your odds of selling considerably.