When it comes to selling your home, most sellers have been warned to be wary of winter as spring is considered king when it comes to the best time to sell your home.
It can be daunting to sell your home in the winter months when most data concludes that the first two weeks in May are the golden window of selling, with homes selling six days faster and for on average $1,600 over the asking price.
However, it's not all bad news if you decide to sell in the midst of winter.
As the national market continues to strengthen, more people are buying and selling homes year-round. This past year saw the U.S. median listing price in January up 7% at $289,300 and nationally, homes sold in January were off the market in 87 days, two days faster than the previous year.
It's not hopeless when trying to sell your home in January. And frankly, depending on where you live, the winter months may be more ideal and conducive to selling your home for the best price.
So if you do find yourself having to sell your home in January outside the traditional spring real estate season, here are five tips to help you sell your home fast and at a decent price.
1. Winter Weather Can Work for You
With 23% fewer homes being sold in winter, the statistics can make anyone nervous about putting their home on the market in January. Traditionally, more potential home buyers are out shopping for homes in spring when the weather is warmer, school is out, and tax rebates are in.
However, depending on where you live, winter could actually be the ideal time to put your home on the market.
In locations where seasons are mild year-round, winter is the busy home buying season when temperatures are more comfortable and less scorching hot than in the spring or summer. More people will be willing to go outside and peruse open houses.
For example, in Houston, Texas January is the best month to sell your home with sellers seeing homes go at 9.8% over market value. Other warm weather cities like Miami also see higher seller premiums during January with Miami homes selling at 2.5% more over asking price.
On the other hand, if you're selling a home in a cold winter state like Minnesota, June is your best month with a 3.1% seller premium.
Not to worry too much if you're located in a tundra, you can still sell your home for a fair price and may even have an advantage as you'll have less seller competition with fewer homes on the market in January. With fewer choices, buyers will be less likely to skip over your home.
2. Make Sure You List Your Home at the Right Price
In most markets, because January isn't a high selling month, pricing your home can be tricky. You don't want to scare off buyers by pricing too high or even too low, causing buyers to wonder what's wrong with your house.
Generally, when you put your home on the market in the winter, many buyers assume you are desperate to sell your home and may lowball you thinking you'll sell for any price.
In this scenario, it's best to be patient. You can always take your home off the market and put it back on the market in springtime when buyers will offer more competitive prices.
One way you can spur some interest during the cold January month, is to price your home slightly under comparable homes in order to draw in multiple offers.
More offers tend to drive up the value of your home prompting more competitive bids from buyers who often will end up paying more than the initial asking price.
3. Know Who Typically House Hunts in Winter Months
If a buyer is house hunting during the traditional off-season in January, it usually means they are eager to buy — perhaps they're moving for a job or because of divorce — and these buyers may be more willing to negotiate price.
You should also be aware that many buyers during the winter months are not always young families with kids.
Many times, older snowbirds are looking for a home away from the cold. Additionally, 56% of buyers actually don't have young children and aren't tied to school year schedules. These potential buyers can buy year-round, not just during the spring and summer months.
4. Understand Your Local Housing Market
The months when your home will sell at the best price can differ drastically from market to market. This is why it's imperative to know your specific market inside and out, especially if you must sell during a less than ideal time.
To make sure your home doesn't stay listed too long, it's a good idea to use a comparative market analysis to make certain your home is priced accurately and competitively for your market.
Also, know whether your market is favoring a buyers or sellers market. In a buyers market, you should expect to have your home on the market longer, while in a sellers market you'll have more competitive offers and will sell your home more quickly and at a higher price.
5. Winter Curb Appeal
When selling your home in January, it can be a challenge to dress up your home in dreary weather.
To help make your home feel more welcoming, shovel the walks, add outdoor illumination along paths, light candles indoors, add cozy throw blankets, have holiday-type smells such as cinnamon or cookies, but most importantly, be sure to take down any holiday decorations.
During the cold, problems with homes become more prominent including drafts and leaks. To help lessen these potential problems, crank up the heat so buyers feel toasty warm and will be less likely to notice any issues.
It can be a difficult task to sell your home outside the prime home selling season, so partnering with an experienced, local real estate agent for guidance can help you get the best possible price on your home.
Connect with a Clever Partner Agent to get a top-rated, full-service agent who knows your area and market, and will help you get a great price and save thousands on commission.