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Selling in a Winter Wonderland: How to Sell a Home in Winter

October 24 2018
by Leisl Bailey

Small white house wrapped in red scarf to represent selling a home in winter.

Winter is the season of giving, holidays, and…house buying?

If you’re having trouble deciding whether or not to sell your home in these winter months, take a seat. In this article, we’ll give talk about how to sell a home in the winter and how you can take advantage of the season.

Can you sell a home in winter?

The chances of selling in winter in years past has been slim.

For whatever reason, no one wants to venture out into the cold weather to tour house after house when there are a million other things to do: parties to plan, gifts to buy, and events to attend. Weird, right?

But since the age of technology has grown into “just the way we do things,” house buying in the middle of winter has actually been improving. In fact, a study completed by Redfin in 2013 showed that homes sold between the months of December and March actually garnered more money than homes sold between June and November.

Why sell a home in winter?

It seems as though the old adage of selling in the spring is on its way out. Here are a few benefits of selling a home in winter instead.

Less Competition

Many people take their homes off the market for the fall and winter, hoping to list again in the spring when there are more active buyers. That leaves the serious buyers—the winter buyers—fewer houses to look at. The smaller the inventory, the higher the chances of a potential buyer taking a serious look at your house.

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Tax Breaks

Rather than have a tax baby, many buyers are looking to get a tax break from their house. To get a tax break for a house, though, one needs to have a house.

That’s where your home comes in.

You’ll be able to capture those buyers looking for a quick close before the end of the year. On that saving money note—winter buyers also avoid the springtime mortgage rates. The increase in mortgage rates typically occurs right around the time more homes hit the market.

Time Off From Work

As the holiday season arrives, more people are taking off work to use those last few days of vacation. That is the perfect situation for you, as potential buyers will be more available during the day to come walk through your open house.

The Internet Is Always There

This is a wonderful time to be alive. Instead of venturing out on a cold day, potential buyers can sit on their couch wrapped up in a blanket while searching for houses online. This means you’ll have buyers who are more than simply interested to see if it will even work, they have done their homework and are already pretty sure that it will.

Having super interested buyers means you’ll have a higher chance of getting your asking price.

Tips for How to Sell a Home in Winter

There are a few things you should really consider if you are planning to sell your home in the winter.

Cozy living room with winter decor, lit fireplace, and blankets. Staging makes it easier to sell a home in winter!

Staging

Staging the home allows the buyer the opportunity to see the home as it could be.

Whether you actually stage your home or just do it virtually, it’s best to take advantage of the season when you’re trying to make a winter sale. Although it is the holiday season, you don’t want to alienate any potential buyers by putting up holiday decorations. Stick to a festive string of light and a few garlands, if you can’t live without holiday cheer.

Feel free to go beyond the holiday-themed decor, though, and utilize what you have. Because winter gets dark pretty quickly, wash the windows to let in all the light you can. Turn on all of the table lamps and accent lighting you have for a comfortable but bright feel; you may even consider putting a few spotlights outside and behind furniture to highlight the pieces.

Finally, increase the homey atmosphere by lighting a fire in the fireplace for some added warmth and using textures in rugs or throw blankets make the home feel even more cozy.

Curb Appeal

Curb appeal is key. If a potential buyer drives up and sees a wintry mess, they might leave without coming in!

If you are in an area that sees a lot of snow, make sure to shovel the driveway as well as the walkway. You want the area clear and able to walk in despite the recent snowfall.

If you don’t get much snow, make sure you don’t have too many dead (or hibernating!) plants. You want to remind your potential buyers that the garden (and in fact the whole property) have potential year-round.

Luckily, if you sell a home in winter, that means significantly less yard work to prepare for a sale.

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Make It Inviting

Make each potential buyer feel like a guest by turning up the heat in the living room, putting on some smooth music, and lighting a fire. You may even consider setting the table that looks ready for a feast!

Be aware that energy efficiency is something winter buyers are very mindful of. Make sure your HVAC is in running order. You may even consider replacing your windows for more energy efferent ones.

Because it’s winter, the inspector will likely not be able to complete a thorough inspection. Be prepared with any documentation you might have on the maintenance of the features of the house.

Winter Home Sale Mistakes

Although lighting a scented candle seems like it would add even more festivity to the atmosphere, you may want to refrain. Many people are allergic to artificial scents and it can turn off a buyer quickly.

Also, avoid over decorating your house. While a Christmas tree adds a nice touch, don’t deck the halls with every light and singing item you have. You may even want to replace family photos with images of the home in warmer months.

Lastly, don’t put off working with a real estate agent. A great real estate agent will know how to price your home for a winter sale. Because there aren’t a lot of people listing their homes on the market, you may get lucky and not have to share your agent with anyone.

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