Selling a House During Winter Holidays: Tips, Pros & Cons, Zillow.com
Houses sell in every season, but during the winter months, should you list your house or should you wait until spring?
Winter is not the peak real estate season, but winter home sales are becoming more common. According to Zillow research, 23 percent fewer homes are sold in winter than in spring, and homes listed for sale in the winter stay on the market about five days longer compared to the yearly average time on the market, from listing to closing.
A common misconception is buyer with school-age children typically wait for late spring due to the school year. But actually, less than half of home buyers have school-age children and thus are not limited to a school schedule.
Benefits of Winter Listings
- Motivated buyers: While more buyers are looking in the spring and summer months, the buyers actively shopping for a new home in the winter are likely very motivated — often moving because of a job relocation, change in financial situation, or change in family needs.
- Less seller competition: With fewer homes on the market in winter, there’s less competition from other sellers, and a limited inventory for buyers.
- More attention from agents: When agents have fewer listings, sellers receive more of their undivided attention. The same goes for buyers’ agents — they have more time to arrange showings and negotiate deals.
- Tax benefits: Buyers looking to purchase homes before the end of the year for tax purposes find December listings ideal.
Issues with Selling in Winter
- Lowball offers: Buyers may think winter home sellers are desperate to sell, so be prepared to field lower offers than you might during other times of the year.
- Curb appeal is limited: In the dark, dreary winter months, it’s a challenge to show off a home’s exterior, especially landscaping.
- Financing can be delayed: Due to vacation schedules and bank holidays, it can take longer for buyers to get financing finalized during this season.
- Less likely to get multiple offers: In the spring and summer seasons, sellers often find themselves in multiple-offer situations. This is less likely to happen in a slower selling season.
- Some home flaws are more apparent: A drafty, cold house is more apparent during the winter.
- Snow and Ice Removal: The seller might need to hire someone to remove snow and keep driveways and walkways clear and safe.
While the house should be warm and cozy, holiday decorations should be kept at a minimum. Perhaps some festive candles or a wreath on the door, but no Christmas trees, Santas, candy canes, excessive outdoor lights, or nativity scenes, please. Why? Because the holiday season is about a month long (Dec 1 – Jan 1) and the median days on the market (DOM) for winter properties is about 92 days according to Zillow. You don’t want your online photos still showing decorations in February.
Tips for Winter Selling
- Hire a professional photographer to take high-quality photos that are light and bright–perhaps include a 3-D video tour.
- Keep the heat on its regular setting so it’s warm for showings. Turn on the gas fireplace for ambience and warmth.
- Select an agent who can assist in making sure the house is accessible, is well-lit, and provides a door mat and shoe booties during nasty weather.
- Price the house right.
While it can be a challenge to sell during the winter season, with some helpful strategies, expert tips, and creative marketing, you can find a great buyer for your home any time of year — even in the winter.
Contact Premiere Stagers & Realty at 608-345-9396.