It’s a fact. There’s such a thing as the “selling season” for real estate. In most markets, this is when the weather is warmer and the kids are finishing the school year. Here in Louisville, almost 31% of homes sold during the year are sold between June and August. But never fear! Winter is also a great time to sell. Here are the top tips for selling your home in the Winter.
Selling During Winter Makes Sense
1. Low Inventory, Less Competition
Each year housing inventory decreases heading into the Holidays. It’s simply a fact. But that’s good news for home sellers listing their properties during this time. Less competition means your home can really stand out!
2. Buyers Are More Motivated
Once a buyer finds the home they like best, the pressure is on. They want to buy their favorite. And they certainly don’t want to keep house hunting. Ask any local expert Realtor, they’ll tell you that these deals are more likely to make it to the closing table.
3. Corporate Relo
When the company says it’s time to move then… it’s time to move. A company relocation can be a valuable benefit to a home buyer. (Especially selling their current home before they buy yours.) But for home sellers, when the buyer is using a corporate relo it usually means a higher sales price. Not always, but more often than not.
4. Year-end Bonus Money
There are still companies that hand out year-end bonuses. And no, we’re not talking about a one-year membership in the Jelly of the Month club. Just think about it. Buyers who have more cash on hand are more likely to pay a higher price on their new home. It’s like treating themselves to a Christmas present. That’s one of the lesser-known tips for selling your home in the winter.
Selling in Winter: Make It Smart
Ok, let’s start. Here are 9 tips for selling your home in the winter starting with three powerful strategies from the professionals.
Almost every home buyer will hire a home inspector. But what if the seller has an inspection report already completed? Then, going one step further, has already corrected any problems it shows? Well, this tells any prospective buyer the house is in great shape. This is a very enticing feature for home buyers.
2. Price It Right from the Start
Can’t underestimate how smart this tip is for sellers. Don’t play the game of pricing higher and hoping to get more than the house is really worth. This strategy rarely works. Quite the opposite, in truth. All listings get most of their showings during the first two weeks on the market. Do not push those potential buyers away by over-pricing your home at the start.
3. Remove All Obstacles to Purchase
Even if you prefer to close three or four months in the future most buyers won’t. Even if you’d like to take all your kitchen appliances with you most buyers will expect them to stay. Think it’s ridiculous to pay any part of a buyer’s closing costs? Don’t think that way. Some buyers might need it to offset limited funds for their downpayment. Just set those costs against the sales price and consider the net instead. Any obstacle you can remove will make it that much easier for the buyer to pick your house.
Selling in Winter: Make It Easy
4. Accept Showing Requests
Holidays can be a very busy time. Think about it from the point of view of the buyer. If they’d like to see your home early on a Saturday morning, that might be the only time that works for their crazy schedule. Understand this upfront and be ready to say “Yes!” to all showing requests.
5. Clear Snow and Ice
Make the entrance to your home safe and inviting. Remove all snow and ice from the drive and walkways. Not only does this increase everyone’s safety it also makes your home look better. It’s a win-win!
6. Provide All Info Up Front
Start by having the Seller Disclosure completed before any showings have been requested. All marketing materials should be printed and ready on the kitchen counter too. Take it a step further. Many buyers would love to know your home’s average monthly utilities so have them ready. These thoughtful measures will smooth the way to a faster deal.
Selling in Winter: Make It Enjoyable
7. Turn Up the Heat
This tip seems fairly obvious but you’d be surprised how many cold homes I show to my clients. You don’t have to go crazy but 72 degrees inside feels wonderful when it’s 30 degrees outside. You want your potential buyer to enjoy your home from the moment they enter.
8. Lots of Light
Days are shorter during the Winter. People like light better than dark. So it’s up to the seller to make up the difference. Make sure all the lights are on. Also, it’s better for blinds and curtains to be wide open. Every extra bit of light improves the impression your home makes on those inside.
9. Make It Festive
Take advantage of the fact that it’s the Holidays. Turn on those twinkle lights. Maybe play some music softly in the background. Perhaps bake a batch of hot, chocolate chip cookies? Who doesn’t like a party? Write a little sign that says, “These cookies aren’t for Santa, they’re for you!” Invite your guests to really feel at home. Who knows? These people walking through your home in the middle of Winter could be the ones that buy it.