While it’s common for some homeowners to put the brakes on a home sale in the winter season, the final quarter of the year can actually make for an excellent time for sellers to enter the real estate market. Lower inventory on a historic basis during this time of year paired with a pool of buyers that are serious about their home search can prove quite favorable. If you’re thinking about listing your home for sale during the chilly season, it’s key to consider the following 6 items outlined in a recent Upnest article.
Stage Your Showings
When listing in the winter, it isn’t uncommon to have less showings (as some buyers take a break until after the first of the year) and so, those that are scheduled must be maximized. As Upnest writes, “a successful showing is all about emotions and experience,” which can be tough when there are few daylight hours. Be sure to leave interior lights on and make sure it’s nice and warm inside. A few holiday decorations and comforting smells—such as cinnamon, orange or vanilla—can also add to ambiance.
Keep in mind that the timeline for a winter home sale is often longer than in it is other months, with homes averaging “10 to 20 days longer” on the market. It will take time to align with a buyer, negotiate the contract, accept the offer, arrange inspections, and close—so be prepared for a somewhat lengthier path to transaction close than you would otherwise.
End of Year Closings
There are tax benefits to be gained when closing before the end of the year, so don’t be surprised if the buyer wants to close right in the midst of the holiday season. It can be harder to arrange inspections and appraisals—with many of us taking vacation time around the holidays—and real estate attorneys or title companies often work shorter hours. It can feel a little overwhelming in the hustle and bustle of the season, but an experienced real estate agent can help you navigate the intricacies of a mid-holiday closing to ensure your transaction timeline remains on schedule.
A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words
Professional photography is always an important part of the marketing of a home for sale, but this importance is compounded in the winter season when the environment is filled with barren trees, little daylight and inclement weather. After all, “muddy grass, dirty snow, dead trees and a dark home are not exactly inspiring to active buyers.”
Make Your Home Shine
It can be tough for buyers to get a clear understanding of the condition of your home when the weather is unfavorable. This is especially true when it comes to things like a roof, gutters, landscaping and a home’s exterior.” One way to combat buyer assumptions is to provide photos of the home in better weather and gather “information and warranty details on these items upfront.” It can also help to have a pre-inspection done, so buyers have access to a detailed report at the start.
Even if you do not occupy your home, it’s important to take care of “hazards like snowed over or icy walkways, or falling gutters” to ensure there are no added dangers during a showing. It’s also imperative to winterize your home, so that no un-warranted issues arise as you move toward closing.
Selling in the winter certainly isn’t for the weary, but it can also be a rewarding time to sell and when “done right,” it can result in achieving your real estate goals with favorable tax outcomes and less of the frenzy that is known to overtake the Puget Sound real estate market in the spring and summer seasons.