Selling in the Winter – It May Be the Smartest Move You Can Make
Are you considering selling your home in the winter market? Most people who are considering selling a home think that waiting until spring is the smartest move. Don’t let this popular misconception cause you to miss out on a great opportunity to get ahead of the game.
Sure, conventional wisdom holds that the blooming flowers, beautiful weather, and upcoming school schedules for young families make spring the hottest season for realtors. But there are a number of reasons to move now and get your home on the marketplace before spring starts. Selling your home in the winter can be quicker and easier than you think.
Winter Means Less Competition
With the big spring push to list homes, the real estate market becomes significantly more crowded. There are plenty of homes available for those looking, resulting in more of a buyer’s market. In the winter months, because of the lower supply, there is greater demand from buyers. They have fewer choices, putting you in a position to have more potential buyers walking through your home. Simply put, selling your home in the winter enables you to stand out from your competitors and get noticed by more people.
Real Estate Shopping Begins Online
Keep in mind that many people who are thinking about taking the plunge to buy a new home in the spring tend to start some casual online real estate shopping in the winter. A recent report by the National Association of Realtors revealed that almost 50% of home buyers start their search online. These future home buyers enjoy perusing the online listings to get an idea of what’s available.
Because so many potential buyers do not even connect with a realtor until they have gone online and started begun comparing properties and narrowing down a favorites list, you have a good chance to easily grab the first views of a large segment of the market. Enhance your online posting with magazine-quality real estate photographs and you just might motivate buyers to make some offers before they even see your house in person.
Winter Home Shoppers are Serious Buyers
In the spring, there is a tendency for homes on the market to get a lot of views, but they are not always from people who are ready to buy immediately. The weather is nice, leading people to just casually explore the market, driving around and dropping in to Open Houses with no real intention of doing anything other than shopping to get an idea of what’s available in the marketplace.
When you are selling your home in the winter months, you are presenting it to serious buyers. Generally, people who make appointments to see houses in the winter really need a new house and are ready to move right away. They would not be shopping in the harsher winter weather if they did not have a strong reason to move. These buyers out searching in the cold winter months have likely done their legwork for the financing and may even have a pre-approval ready for their mortgage loan. These factors all work to the winter home seller’s advantage.
Another point to remember about winter home shoppers is that many employers give out end-of-year or new year bonuses. A bonus can provide the down payment for a new home, so many prospective home buyers hold out through the year waiting for the winter influx of bonus money. Selling your home in the winter is the way to tap into that group of buyers who are waiting for their bonuses to show up in time to shop the end-of-year real estate listings.
Selling Your Home in the Winter Lets You Highlight Some Great Features
Listing your home during the winter months allows you the chance to show off features that may not get as much attention in the spring, summer, or fall. Great real estate photographs let you highlight some very attractive winter selling points that can really work to your advantage:
- Fireplace: Keep that gorgeous fireplace burning during the winter to evoke emotion in potential home buyers. Complete the effect by decorating the mantle and staging rooms with warm, cozy furnishings and accessories that help viewers see what a haven your home can be.
- Hot tub: A hot tub is another item that can be a major winter marketing advantage. Make sure the area around your hot tub is clean and clear. Highlight any gorgeous views from the tub, and if possible get photographs while freshly-fallen snow surrounds your steaming tub.
- Snow removal: This is the time of year when a small driveway and minimal sidewalk space become positive selling points. Get photos that show off your neatly-shoveled driveway so potential buyers can appreciate the fact that your home offers reduced snow removal labor. Does your HOA provide snow removal services? Factors like this might tip the scales in your favor when it comes to choosing between your home and the one nearby with the long or steeply inclined driveway.
- Winter weather resilience: How does the snow sit on your roof? Where does it tend to drift around your house? Is rain gutter icing a problem? Selling your home in the winter lets you help potential buyers answer these important questions for themselves. If you’ve invested in a whole house generator to keep your electric and heat running during power outages, make sure you include this in your listing. People tend to value this type of feature more during the winter storm season.
- Weatherization and energy-efficiency: Show off your home’s good qualities in these areas. Long before buyers visit your home, you should make sure to take care of any winter-specific problems. For example poor insulation, drafty windows, inefficient heating systems and so on.
Winter is a Great Time to Sell Your Home
If you’ve been considering selling your home but have been hesitating because of the wintry weather and thinking that spring will be better, it’s time to reconsider your options. Selling your home in the winter is more than just a possibility. A few key strategies will turn the winter months into your personal prime home-selling season.
As long as you are able to get your home ready for prospective buyers, the cold and sometimes dreary months of winter in Northern Virginia can work to your advantage. And using top-quality real estate photos in your marketing campaign will help to move your home faster and for more money. Just ask your realtor to contact Northern Virginia Real Estate Photography for a consultation.