Selling Your Home in the Winter
While many buyers and sellers choose to take a break for the holidays, listing your home for sale in the winter can be a great time to take advantage of less competition among other homeowners and get your home in front of buyers that are serious about closing a transaction. If you’re considering selling this season, here are a few key points to consider, courtesy of Upnest.
Emotions & Experience
A slower sales season means showings will be fewer and far between, but it also means that buyers are only going to schedule appointments if they are serious about the home. As Upnest notes, “a successful showing is all about emotions and experience,” but inclement weather and shorter days can work against a buyer’s feelings. Consider how to fight against seasonal negative perceptions by leaving exterior and interior lights on in advance of the showing and ensuring the heat is at a comfortable temperature. You may also want to add a touch of tasteful holiday décor or add a light seasonal scent, such as vanilla or cinnamon, to enliven the atmosphere.
In the winter season, homes can take an average of 10 to 20 additional days to sell, so it’s important to time the listing date with that in mind. Not only will you need to find a buyer, but you’ll need time to negotiate contracts, complete inspections, and close.
Because various parties within the transaction will take vacations and some offices will operate on augmented holiday hours, “end of year real estate closings are trickier and more trying than usual.” It’s imperative to employ the help of a seasoned real estate agent who is adept at navigating the process and can exert “influence over these vendors and players in your transaction to get a closing done” this time of year.
A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words
An overwhelming number of homebuyers begin their searches online, which means it is more important than ever to capture the essence of your home with professional photography. According to Upnest, great photographs “can make tens of thousands of dollars of difference in perceived value,” not to mention getting your property onto the list of properties they most want to view. Be sure your agent is connected to a professional photographer, as the winter can pose a special challenge, whether its muddy grass, leafless trees or a lack of daylight.
Keep Up with Appearances
Buyers will want to see that pricey exterior and interior items such as the roof, siding, gutters, plumbing and landscaping are in good condition. If it’s difficult for them to see, a buyer will assume the worst, and “that means deducting $25,000 or whatever the local cost is for a new roof, to be safe.” You can combat these assumptions with photos but also with details about warranties. If you’re especially concerned, “consider a home inspection in advance to overcome objections and doubts before they come up.”
Finally, something as small as a snow-covered or icy walkway can prove hazardous—and expensive—when you invite potential buyers into your home. Be sure to maintain your home (even if you are not living in it) to avoid potential danger.
If you’re considering embracing the excitement of a winter home sale, contact me today for a complimentary appointment to discuss your next move.