Everyone knows that the spring market is hot for selling or buying a home. But did you know that the winter months may actually be better for selling?
In the spring, a lot of inventory hits the market, and that means your listing is just one of perhaps hundreds from which buyers can choose. In the winter months, you have less competition; your house will stand out.
Be aware that the construction of new homes is projected to continue to increase in 2017, so buyers who may not have been able to find their dream home within the existing inventory will have new options to fill their needs.
Demand is Strong
According to the latest Realtors® Confidence Index from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), buyer demand remains very strong for most of the country. Buyers are ready, willing and able to purchase right now. People who need to move in the winter months also have more urgency. They cannot wait for the spring market, and that means your home may sell more quickly. In fact, Fannie Mae announced that they anticipate acceleration in home sales in 2017. As the spring market heats up, banks will be inundated with loan requests and closing times will lengthen.
The NAR’s Existing Home Sales Report also shows that the supply of homes for sales is still below the six-month supply needed for a normal housing market. And there is pent-up desire among buyers who may many have been waiting until after the presidential election to make a move.
Nationally, amid tight supply, half the properties that sold in October 2016 sold at or above the listing price and were on the market 30% fewer days. Holding to the rule of supply and demand, when less inventory is available, prices go up. Be careful not to list your home at too high a price, however; you want your home to sell quickly. If it is still on the market when the spring surge arrives, it will look stale. Your Realtor® will help you find comparable properties in your area to help set an ideal price.
It is a Good Time to Move Up
If you are considering moving to a larger, more expensive home, do it now. Prices are projected to rise by 5.2% in 2017, according to CoreLogic. Interest rates are also predicted to moderately rise in the next 12 months, reports Freddie Mac. Even a slightly higher purchase price or a small increase in your interest rate can have a big impact on your housing costs.
Realtors Have More Time
Since fewer people are listing homes, Realtors® have less inventory to show. That means they have more time available now than in the spring market when things are hopping. You will receive more individualized attention from your Realtor® and they will be able to focus more time on marketing and showing your home.
Ready Your Home for a Winter Sale
The way you stage your home for a winter sale differs from how you would do so in the summer months. Here are some ways you can attract buyers when it’s cold outside.
Lower Heating Costs
People who purchase homes in winter are concerned about heating: heating costs, heating systems and energy efficiency. Have your heating system checked and cleaned, change the filters and make any necessary repairs. In addition, weather strip leaky doors and windows, add insulation, or even install new energy-efficient windows. If you add energy-saving features, let your Realtor® know so he or she can point them out to potential buyers.
Stage for Winter
Winter months can be dark and dreary, so brighten the interior of your house with light-colored paint and white accessories. Maintain a consistent color theme throughout the home to give the feeling of brightness and space. Add touches that invoke warmth: display a beautiful afghan across a bed or chair in each room, stack wood in a fireplace, and set the table with an inviting winter centerpiece.
Since families are inside more in the winter, play up the entertaining options and focus on warmth, togetherness and family. Showcase an inviting den or family room, place a board game on a table, and lay out a buffet service with stacks of plates and fresh flowers. Remove all holiday décor and personal items; you want the home to be neutral so the new family can envision themselves living here with their own possessions.
Illuminate the Exterior
Even though flowers aren’t blooming in winter, you can still bring warmth and light into your exterior decorating. Use small white outdoor lights or floodlights that illuminate the house front, and provide structural elements in the garden with benches, planters and rock walls. Don’t ignore the entryway; place urns with small evergreens or winter-hardy topiaries near the door, and hang a non-holiday wreath as a welcoming element. Show how outdoor entertaining areas can be used with a fire pit, candles and warm throws on outdoor chairs.
Cozy Up an Open House
Create a warm and inviting environment at your winter open house by adding a coziness factor. Light a fire in the fireplace (or gas logs or woodstove) and offer hot cocoa or hot cider and freshly-baked cookies. Turn on all interior and exterior lights, and illuminate the garden or backyard with festive twinkling lights. Clear snow and ice from driveways, walkways and paths to outbuildings, and don’t forget to clear dangerous icicles from the eaves. Ensure that parking spaces are available in front of your home.
Armed with all these reasons and ways to sell in winter, maybe listing your home now isn’t such a bad idea.