Pros & Cons of Listing Your Home in the Winter
“It’s the most wonderful time of the year,” to sell?
Despite homes being covered in snow and icy roads galore, winter is a great time to sell your home! Or is it? Just like with any season, there are pros and cons to selling your home in the winter. If you’ve been contemplating whether you should list your home now or wait until the snow melts away, we made a list of everything you should take into consideration.
Buyers mean business
While more buyers are looking in the spring and summer, there are more serious buyers in the winter season. If someone is making time to visit open houses and showings (and potentially move) during the coldest time of the year, they are more likely to be serious about their search.
Most people will wait until spring to list their home. This means the housing inventory is much lower in the winter, leaving less competition for sellers. For homes that are out-of-date or have significant challenges in marketability (e.g., location near a main road), it may be good strategy to enter the market at a time when there are fewer homes listed.
Online house hunting is year-round
As Dave Ramsey says, “the internet has no seasons.” Since most people would rather be cozied up on the couch in the winter, making sure your home has a good online presence is very important. Most buyers will start their search online before in person. In fact, 93% of people use the internet in their home search, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR).
More time off = more time for buying
You might think that, being the busiest time of the year, people would be too busy to stop by and look at your house. But, people tend to take more time off work around the holidays leaving more time to search for their new home. The three-day weekends in January and winter breaks in February are also popular times for open houses and showings.
Curb appeal is limited
When the sun sets at 4 PM and your beautiful yard is covered by snow, it’s a lot harder to show off your home’s exterior. Although you can add some festive decor like a wreath to your door, you can’t show off all of the hard work you’ve put into your curb appeal.
Buyers have limited budgets
As we wrap up the end of the year, a lot of people are tied up with other financial obligations such as holiday gifts and traveling, paying taxes, and making sure their own houses and vehicles are winter-ready. This may cause buyers to feel more budget-conscious in their home shopping or to avoid large investments all together.
Sellers are more likely to find themselves in multiple offer situations in spring and summer, when buyers have more competition. Buyers may even think that winter sellers are desperate for any offer at all, causing them to lowball their initial offers.
"Show-ready" means more effort
You know that one friend who always makes you take your shoes off before walking through the house? Well, you may find yourself being that person now. To keep your home show-ready during the winter, you’ll need to minimize the amount of snow and slush people bring through the door. You’ll also end up clearing and de-icing the driveway, sidewalks and walkways for visitors more often.