Thursday, February 21, 2019 / by Amber Tice
Home sellers and real estate agents often fear the winter months because it seems like a poor time to list. The truth is that winter can be a great time to list your home for sale. The median listing price nationwide in February 2018 was $274,900 according to Realtor.com. As the real estate market continues to favor sellers, buyers are beginning to look to purchase a home beyond just Spring and Summer. Less inventory, less competition, and more serious buyers are all factors to consider.
Less Inventory ~ Conventional wisdom tries to say that taking your home off the market in winter, or waiting to list until the spring selling season starts is the best way to sell your home. The truth is that if you are trying to sell your home, wouldn’t you rather list when there is less competition? Why not list your home in the Winter when other sellers are taking their homes off the market? More buyer eyes will be on your property when everyone else is deciding to wait.
Higher Prices ~ With the end of the summer season homes are removed from the market because sellers mistakenly believe they need to wait until Spring. But when listings flood the market in April, prices can go down as a “buyers market” takes hold and inventory increases. Listing your home in the winter allows you to price your home correctly ( be careful here; over pricing in the winter can lead to your home sitting on the market and going stale) making it more likely for a seller to get better offers. Remember, winter is not a time to test the market. Make sure you are pricing your home realistically.
Serious Buyers ~ Buyers in the winter also tend to be more serious about a home purchase. The holidays are a time to relax and enjoy family and friends. The snow and cold weather are deterrents and can make looking at homes more complicated. In real estate, studies show that if a buyer is out looking for a new home during these months (November, December, January, February), they have a reason to move, which tend to create better offers.
Other Considerations ~ Don’t forget! Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean you don’t have to worry about curb appeal. Here in Spokane the snow can hit at any time, which can make it very difficult to even get to the front door of a seller’s home. Snow blow your driveway on a daily basis, and make sure there is a clear path for potential buyers to enter your home. Make buyers feel welcome! Offer coffee and cookies by leaving a Keurig out on the counter and a note inviting buyers to help themselves to a warm cup of joe. More reason for them to stay inside where it is warm and fall in love with your house even more.
Home sellers can enhance their ability to capitalize on the slower pace and smaller inventory by listing their homes for sale now. February is a wonderful time to get ahead of the competition just in the knick of time! Winter is the perfect time to get the highest possible sales price while the competition is waiting until Spring.