Weathering a Winter Home Sale

Putting your house on the market during the cold months may not be your first choice, and the prospect may give you a case of the winter blues. Perk up! Nearly a million homes were sold in December 2018 through February 2019. There are many good strategies for speeding winter homes sales, starting with this list.

Get Good Help

Hire an experienced real estate agent with a history of selling in every month of the year. Ask their strategy in marketing your house during the winter months to a reduced pool of buyers. Over 90 percent of all buyers use the internet to search for new homes and winter weather won’t stop them.

Include photos of your home in all seasons for your online listing. Be sure to use a professional photographer who can showcase your home with excellent lighting and attractive angles. Add some pictures taken earlier in the year so buyers can see your property surrounded by green grass and leafy shrubs.

Fewer Sellers

Since the majority of sellers flood the market in the spring, you have less competition in winter with a lower inventory. Buyers have less to choose from which might mean that your home could sell faster. Work with your agent to price your home to sell.

Serious Buyers

If buyers are out looking at properties on snow-covered roads, they are likely very motivated. Perhaps they have a lease that’s expiring or have a contract on the home they are selling. January and February are typically a big time of the year for corporate relocations, so there are plenty of people searching for new homes before their move. These buyers are on a time crunch, which can work to your advantage.

Year-End Tax Breaks

If buyers are looking to buy in the winter, they may be very interested in making a purchase before the end of the year. They can write off some home buying expenses on their taxes. They can also deduct mortgage interest, private mortgage insurance premiums and real estate taxes.

Winter Curb Appeal

Snow can actually make your home look beautiful, but only when it’s fresh and new. Clear the driveway, sidewalks, deck, and patio and keep them clear throughout the winter season. In addition to keeping buyers safe as they walk to your door, you are letting them see what’s buried under the snow that they would enjoy the rest of the year. Keep ice melt down as needed. Clear a path from the street to your walkway so visitors aren’t forced to come through snowdrifts. Winter days get dark early, so make sure your exterior is well lit. Solar lights lining the sidewalk can help.

If you are selling around the holiday season, keep outdoor decorations simple. After the first of the year, make sure they are all gone. Your curb appeal will take a big hit if you still have Christmas lights up after the middle of January.

A Cozy Interior

Potential buyers are looking for a warm, cozy place to call home. This is easy to achieve in the winter with a fire in the fireplace, some good smells coming from the kitchen and a few soft throw blankets placed around the home. Keeping your home light and warm are prime concerns this time of year. Push the thermostat up and turn your lamps on. Utilize timers when you aren’t home during the day. Open shutters and drapes. Check outer doors and windows for drafts then correct any inadequate seals. Swap out old filters from your HVAC system to help rid the house of bad odors and keep the air fresh.

Make your house sparkle. Deep clean every room, closets, under sinks, the basement, and the garage. Check for spiderwebs in every corner of every room. Winter shoppers are going to track snow and dirt into the house, so maintain between showings by sweeping, mopping and vacuuming daily. Place a sticker with most recent inspection on the hot water heater and the HVAC system.

Again, keep holiday decorations to a minimum instead of displaying your entire collection of Santas, snowmen, and nativities. One exception is a tall Christmas tree if you have cathedral ceilings. A soaring tree emphasizes the height and drama of the room. Be prompt putting decorations away. Everything that looked so pretty when you first decked the halls will start to look tacky if it lingers deep into the new year.

It can be a challenge to sell your home during the winter, but with strategic planning and creative marketing, you can find a buyer even with Jack Frost nipping at your nose.