The winter season can be an excellent time to list your home—contrary to popular opinion. There are several reasons for this:
- Potential buyers can tour your home on the Web, no matter the weather.
- During the winter there tends to be less competition.
- Winter homebuyers are seriously motivated.
- There are also potential tax breaks.
- Holiday work schedules sometimes allow more time for house hunting.
Historically, the winter months have represented something of a dry season for home sellers. That conventional wisdom is increasingly being challenged, however, with more and more activity animating the chilly winter weather.
But what’s changed? Why is winter suddenly such a good time to list your home? And what home selling tips should you keep in mind before you make your winter listing?
Let’s walk through these questions one at a time, beginning with the reasons to list during winter, then offering a few tips for making your listing effective.
Why Sell Your Home During Winter?
There are a few factors that have made winter a productive time of the year for listing your home.
On the Internet, there’s no such thing as seasonality. Historically, one of the main reasons why home sales have tapered off in winter is because, frankly, buyers don’t want to brave cold weather to tour listings. Today, though, there’s not as much need to leave your warm and comfy sofa to look at homes. It’s easy enough to browse some possibilities using real estate apps and websites—and when you find the listings you’re really excited about, you can contact the listing agent.
There’s not as much competition. Simply put, a lot of folks still believe winter to be a home selling doldrums. As such, many would-be listers decide to hold off until the weather turns warm. Their loss is your gain, however; with less competition on the market, it’s much easier for you to make your listing stand out from the crowd!
Winter’s homebuyers are serious shoppers. Winter is a busy time of the year for many of us—and frankly, touring homes can be hard work. As such, casual shoppers tend to go into hibernation during the winter months. What this means is that those who are out shopping during the winter weather are highly motivated. They want to find a home that will work for them.
There are also tax breaks to consider. Winter homebuyers may also be motivated to capture tax breaks before the end of the calendar year. Remember, it’s possible to write off certain homeownership expenses on the annual income tax return. Mortgage interest, private mortgage insurance premiums, and real estate taxes are all tax-deductible—so all else being equal, it makes sense to buy in winter instead of waiting for spring. This translates into some great opportunities for buyers and sellers alike.
Sometimes, holiday schedules will work in your favor. You might assume that the hustle and bustle of the holiday season work against your listing, because buyers are simply too busy to come tour your property. That can be true in some cases, but it’s also true that people have more time off around the holidays—and that’s something that can work in your favor!
The bottom line for sellers: More and more people are taking advantage of the winter season—which makes it an opportune time to list your property. The question is, how can you take full advantage of this potentially rewarding season?
Tips on Selling Your Home in the Winter
There are a few things you can do to help your listing stand out from the competition. Here are some of our top tips for selling your home in winter.
Keep your décor simple and uncluttered. It’s okay to put up some tasteful Christmas lights or a holiday tree, but make sure that whatever decorations you put up keep your home feeling clean and uncluttered. Too many decorations may make your space feel smaller than it really is—and that’s something you definitely want to avoid! Finally, it’s generally best to steer clear of overtly religious decorations, which might be off-putting to some.
Aim for maximum coziness. Remember, potential buyers are going to be braving the wind and the cold to see your home—so make sure you give them a shelter from the elements. Crank up the thermostat. Keep a fire in the fireplace. Put out some cookies on the counter, and consider playing some soothing music—classical or light jazz, perhaps. The bottom line: You want your home to seem as cozy and as welcoming as possible!
Turn on some lights, especially outside. Remember that it gets dark earlier during the winter months, and some of your buyers may be exploring the property after the sun goes down. Turn on outdoor lights to make sure they are safe, and that they can see as much of your property as is possible.
Remember the importance of curb appeal. During the winter, it can be harder to keep the exterior of your home looking really vibrant; obviously, beautiful spring flowers are out of the question, but you can ensure the leaves stay raked and the lawn looks tidy. Also, consider touching up the outside of your home with a fresh coat of paint, if necessary. This can be a big job, but it can also be hugely impactful!
The standard real estate rules still hold true. No matter the time of the year, you need to market your listing. It won’t sell itself! Make sure you get high-quality photos for use on the Web, and also that you list on all the appropriate platforms. Even more foundational than marketing? Pricing. Make an informed decision about how to price your listing competitively, using local comps to come up with a realistic price point.
Be ready for a showing at any time. This is one of the hardest aspects of selling a home, but remember that you could have potential buyers wanting to tour the property at any time—and you always need to have it fairly clean and uncluttered for them! As best you can, stay on top of your home maintenance, and always be ready to put your best foot forward with potential buyers.
Sell Your Home This Winter
With these home selling tips in mind, you’re ready to make the most of a winter listing. And again, that’s no small thing: Contrary to the conventional wisdom, winter is as good a time as any to put your house on the market. Spend some time going through our home selling tips today, and decide whether now’s the right season for you to put your home up for sale!