Well it’s a well-known fact that nobody buys or sells a home in the winter. Right? Wrong! In fact, if you checked the numbers, you’d find that a good chunk of home purchases happen during the frosty days of the year. While it may not be peak season, winter home sales are becoming more common, as home sales increase across all seasons.
Over the past few years, winter home sales have increased with a decrease in their days in the market, however that’s not necessarily because more people are buying during the holidays but the increase in the number of properties being listed.
According to recent stats, over a million homes were sold in the U.S. last winter (1.086 million, to be exact, from December 2019 to February 2020). Sure, over half a million more were sold in the summer months of 2020 but the booming numbers for winter sales is definitely not something that should be ignored.
So, if you’re wondering if you should put off showcasing your listing until spring, why wait?
You might just be surprised to learn that there are actually advantages to selling while Jack Frost is nipping at your nose.
With a few tweaks here and there and all the right guide, it’s sure to be a fail-proof sale! Let’s kick-start your holiday checklist for the ideal sale with a few tips to keep in mind:
1. The internet never sleeps:
While the holidays may be the ideal time to let your hair down and get warm and cozy with your family, your ideal buyer may be searching for their new home. There’s nothing you can’t do with the technology of today, get your listing online ready and maybe take potential clients on a virtual 3D tour of their dream home.
2. Invest in the best photographer:
Quality real estate photos are everything, and making a home’s interior seem light and bright during the winter takes a professional. If you can’t find one on short notice, you can always select a photo of your property from the previous spring or summer. Styldod offers real estate photo editing at just $1.5 - Try Now!!
3. Stage your property for the holidays:
Getting your property to look ready for the holidays is never a bad idea no matter the season. Making your listing look its best is a sure shot way to get more eyes looking your way. Try out Styldod's Virtual Staging at $16 only!!
Winter brings over a lot more than cold winds and snow, it brings in cozy clime and the holidays. Here are a few tips and tricks of the trade to stage your property for the holiday season:
1. Do not go overboard:
Don’t know what it is about the holidays but most people tend to go all out this time of year with the decorations and festivities forgetting to keep in mind while selling a house, less is more. Try to keep the decorations tasteful. Make sure they accent not overpower the room. Small ornaments and unassuming décor elements may speak a lot more than in the face decorations.
2. Crank up the cozy and the heat too!:
Light a fire in the hearth, play soft holiday music in the background, and prepare fresh-baked goods or mulled cider for guests, maybe throw around a few blankets. Keep a warm temperature inside giving the buyer more incentive to linger, especially on a cold day, but you don't want to overdo it.
3. Keep the lights on:
Pull up the blinds, open the shutters, and push back the drapes on every window unless the view or outdoor scenery is particularly undesirable. Turn on every light in the house, including appliance lights and closet lights. You can further brighten dark rooms with few windows by placing spotlights on the floor behind furniture.
One of the most important thing to keep in mind while selling in the winter is to figure out who is buying in the winter. Knowing and understanding your audience and potential buyers can be a key factor in selling your property quickly.
A common mistake and misconception most people have is that each season brings a new buyer, well that’s not true. Simply put all buyer shop through all seasons. The factor that drives them to come into the market is their need, season barely plays a role. Although you may face a few challenges while selling the property.
Challenges of selling a house in winter:
- The offers may not come rolling in: Unlike in the spring, your buyer list is construed comparatively. Buyers are in for the low pricing during winters and the desperate need to find a home. It’s better to be prepared for much lower offers than expected.
- No curb appeal: Take down outside decor. Nothing says “my home won’t sell” like a house with reindeer inflatables on the lawn in February. It’s already difficult to show off the landscaping with all the snow (if any) and the dark nights. We don’t want bad décor making the home’s exterior look lackluster.
- Expect the financing to be delayed: Come the holiday season, come the mood to shut shop and cozy up at home with the family, especially with the extended vacation schedules. The buyers may take longer than expected to finalize their financing.
- Single offers are more than multiple: Don’t expect a large bidding battle for your listing like you would in summer. The number of buyers out there are less. Remember winter is a slower selling season.
- Flaws are more evident: If a home is drafty, dark, or leaky, these flaws tend to show themselves more dramatically during the cold winter months.
It’s not all distress, there are plenty of benefits of selling during winter.
Benefits of selling a house in the winter
- Serious buyers: Most people in winter want to curl up in bed while sipping on some delicious hot chocolate. Also everybody knows how busy the holidays can be, friends and family gathering, decorating and all the festivities that come with the holidays, so if a buyer is roaming ‘the streets’ looking for a home then they are sure to mean business. They are probably working on a deadline like an end of a lease or a relocation.
- Low inventory is lesser competition: As spring comes back, other sellers will begin pouring into the market and your home will be just another fish in a great big pond. But in the winter, there are fewer homes for sale. That competition over low inventory can make winter an ideal time to sell your home. For perspective, 250,000 homes for sale dropped off the market from November to December in 2019—the steepest drop all year!
- Holiday on the mind: You may think people are less likely to see your home in the midst of their hectic holiday schedules. While that can definitely be true, most often since people have more time off around the holidays they end up spending more time browsing their favorite home apps, dreaming about their future decor, and maybe even schedule a home showing.
- Tax benefits: Winter brings with to tax benefits and holiday bonuses that most home buyers will be motivated to capture before the year-end. Home buyers can write off some of the expenses of their home purchase on their taxes too!
Well, whoever said that winter season is a bust for real estate clearly had no idea what they were talking about. With the right planning and the perfect set up and strategy, the clime will clearly be ruled out as reason to not buy! So don’t be afraid to put your listing out there, the right buyer is just around the curb. It is worth checking out our previous article "6 Effective Real Estate Listing Tips To Sell Your Home Faster".