Timing is everything! Well, maybe not everything. But when you are selling a home it does matter when you put your home on the market.
The tale that’s always told is Sell In Spring. I’m here to tell you that blooming flowers and green grass aside, there are other great times of the year to put your house up for sale.
Winter is one of those times. So whether you want to move or need to move let’s take a look at the surprising reasons behind selling in Winter.
And don’t miss the last reason…it’s my favorite!
1. Low Inventory = Less Competition
I’m about to debunk the myth that “Winter is not a great time to list your home for sale”, but the truth is so many people believe that it’s a bad time to sell that they choose not to put their property on the market. If they aren’t on the market and you are, that means you have less competition. Less competition is a GREAT thing!
Wouldn’t you rather be one of 5 choices instead of 25 choices? When there are fewer choices homes sell faster and get more money.
People often like to point out the fact that fewer homes sell in Winter. They aren’t wrong. But when you look at graphs showing how many homes are listed compared to how many sell, most of the time a much higher percentage of the homes listed sell in Winter vs Spring. As in, if 50 homes are listed in Winter, 45 of them will sell. But if 100 homes are listed in Spring only 75 of them will sell.
So be one of the few instead of one of the many!
2. Sell Faster and Maybe for More Money
This is really a continuation of Low Inventory does a seller good! When there are fewer homes on the market and roughly the same amount of home buyers year round, it means your home is more visible and has more exposure just by the nature of market conditions.
When that’s the case, it oftens means a home will sell faster. Home buyers are eager to see the newest house on the market if only a couple are being listed each week. If the product (your house) is good, the price is good, and the marketing shows it off, buyers will be at the house ASAP and ready to write an offer.
When there is urgency in the market and buzz about a particular home, not only does it sell quickly it will also receive an offer with a great price and terms. That’s your ideal situation!
3. Only Serious Home Buyers Shop in Winter
Yup, that’s right. Harsh weather gets rid of the Looky-Loos! Open houses are a fair weather sport, and those that aren’t truly motivated stay home.
Serious home buyers don’t care if it’s raining or snowing – they are bound and determined to find a new place to live.
This does mean you may get fewer showings. But what does that matter if each showing means more? Also, it takes some of the hassle of always having to shuttle the kids and dogs out of the house for each showing.
4. Mortgage Loans Process Quicker
Winter time is a slower time for both new mortgages and refinances. By slower, I mean fewer are being processed.
This is good news when you are buying or selling a home. It means that the process will be smoother. Fewer glitches or hold ups. The mortgage lender will be less distracted and able to concentrate on each file instead of being overwhelmed.
Anything to make the sale of your home more relaxing is a win in my book!
5. Homes Show Well in Winter
Marketing a home for sale is all about getting the home buyers to imagine the house as their home. Nothing does this better than cozy decorations!
You don’t necessarily want to go over the top but wreaths, lights, candles, pine cones, a fire going in the fireplace, and themed welcome mats all make a house feel homier. When you have a few of these simple decor items in place it’s hard for potential home buyers to NOT imagine themselves living in the home.
Some agents may recommend going with a stark look and not decorating. Not me! I believe it amps up the good cheer AND the offers.
6. Homes That Close in April/May are Listed January-March
This is my favorite reason to sell in Winter. It’s all about the statistics! You can’t beat numbers to tell you the truth.
If you look at a graph of “Closed Transactions” and “Average Dollars Per Square Foot” for each month over the years, you’ll notice that typically the most homes sold and the highest average dollars per square foot usually land in the months of April and May.
This has translated to mean that April and May are the best times to list your home for sale. In fact, it really means that January through March are the best times to list.
Why? Because the stats are for when they Closed, not when they listed. Homes usually close 5-10 weeks after they are listed for sale. So if you listed your home for sale on February 15th, you would close right around April 1st.
What does this mean for you? Beat the rush and list somewhere between January and March to get the peak price!
Let’s Get Real
I always aim for truth and honesty so my clients can have realistic expectations when they are buying and selling homes.
Here’s the truth on whether or not to list during Winter: If you need to sell your home and make a move (or you highly desire it) then timing isn’t an issue. There will always be someone interested in purchasing a home.
What matters is being strategic about working with a great real estate agent who can guide you toward an appropriate pricing strategy, create excellent marketing, and make the home sales process easy on you.
If you are considering selling your home this Winter, give me a call and we can have a conversation about your goals and timing.