If you’re think about listing your home in the winter, use these ideas to make a great cold-weather impression.
Spring may still be the peak home-selling season, since most families want to move when the kids are out of school. Yet it actually pays to list in the winter, when buyers tend to have more urgency: A study has found that average sellers net more above asking price during the months of June, July and August than they do from September through December. And homes listed in winter sold faster than those posted in spring.
Should you put your home on the market now? Unless you need to sell (say, you’ve purchased your next home or are relocating for a job), “timing always depends on supply and demand,” says real estate guru Shead.
To understand your local climate, check the number of days on the market for current and recently sold listings. If most are sitting for more than 40 days, it’s sensible to wait until spring, when more buyers will emerge. Yet “if properties are selling quickly, take that as a green light to list,” says a number of real estate agents.
If you do move forward, these strategies will help make your home a hot seller this winter.
Consider Your Pricing Stratergy
The quieter winter market brings special pricing considerations. Unlike in spring, when there are more buyers it may make sense to price low to try to generate more interest.
Winter is also a bad time to test the market and list high. If the house doesn’t sell, you may need to drop below market value to nab a buyer before new properties appear in spring and make yours look stale by comparison.
The upshot: Take a conservative approach and price at market value, Yee advises. Check closing prices of comparable properties sold in the past 30 days, then eye current list prices to make sure your home won’t look overpriced.
Tidy Up Your Home’s Presentation
Rain and gray skies make for a gloomy first impression. Warm up curb appeal with basic landscaping, and add inexpensive cool-weather plants to invigorate outdoor space. Fix chipped paint, caulk windows, and repair cracked window seals, which can cause condensation that creates an eyesore.
Offset the season’s poor natural light by painting your house off-white throughout—it sets a consistent color palette and makes the space feel larger.
And create a sense of warmth throughout the home, starting with the living room, where staging can have the greatest impact. Try to stay neutral in colour and use such seasonal touches as stacked wood by the fireplace.
As always, de-clutter and depersonalize. Put away family photographs so that buyers can see themselves living in the home; instead display pictures that show what the property looks like when the temperature is warmer, like the garden in full bloom or the backyard in the summertime. Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean buyers can’t appreciate what your home has to offer year-round.