Welcome back to the Seasonal Selling Series! For this edition, we are going to focus on elements of winter selling. How does it differ from other seasons? What are the benefits of selling in the winter? What specific steps can you take to get your home ready for winter selling? Let’s find out…
Online All the Time
Today’s home buyers do most of their home searching online, especially when the weather is bad. Plus, with multiple apps right at their fingertips, buyers can set alerts to let them know when a home has been placed on the market that matches their desired criteria. This makes it easy for them to be constantly checking the internet for new listings before bed, during their lunch break or while waiting in the checkout line at the grocery store. Even though open houses and showings are less frequent in the winter, buyers are still actively looking.
Since internet searches are so important during the winter, your home’s online presence is crucial to its success. Be sure to use high-quality photos and focus on your home’s strongest selling points. Every room in your home should be fully lit up to help counteract the lack of bright sunshine from outside.
It’s also recommended to create a video tour to post along with the listing photos. This helps buyers better visualize the layout of the home and its unique details when you can’t have in-person showings.
Talk with your REALTOR® about additional online marketing steps they can take in the winter to help sell your home.
Coziness Is Key
It’s important that buyers feel instantly comfortable once they step inside the house since it’s so cold outside. Make your home warm and inviting for any potential buyer coming by. If you have a fireplace, turn it on and create a cozy mood. Set your heat to an appropriate level; not too hot and not too cold. A buyer may not remember everything they saw in the house, but they will definitely remember how they felt.
Some believe it’s a good idea to bake fresh cookies or light some candles before a showing/open house. This derives from the fact that our sense of smell and our memory are directly linked. If a buyer thinks your home smells good, they will relate positive feelings and memories with your home, which can increase their odds of putting in an offer. If you choose to do this, be careful with the kinds of scents you are using. There are various types of scent sensitivities and the last thing you want to do is cause a potential buyer to break out in hives. Do away with wall plug-ins and scent sticks and opt for more natural smells from fresh baked goods or subtle candles.
Lighting inside the house is also important. The skies are normally overcast and gloomy during the winter season, so what would be a great show of natural light in the summer, might not translate as a great selling point in the winter. Turn on all of the lights to keep the mood bright and cheery while potential buyers are viewing your home.
Don’t Neglect Landscaping
In the winter, most of a buyer’s focus is on the inside aspects of a home. They want to make sure there is enough room for their entire family and that the home will function for their needs when they can’t be outside. However, an unkempt exterior will cause some concerns for buyers in their overall judgement of your home.
Buyers tend to look for homes with easy outdoor maintenance, so doing small things, like keeping the sidewalk completely clear of snow, will help ease their minds. Other important chores can include removing dead vegetation, adding a fresh layer of mulch and blowing away fallen leaves. Keeping the yard spruced up can do wonders for the success of selling your home.
Seasonal décor is always a nice touch, but don’t go overboard. Hang some lights and wreaths around the property for an elegant appearance. This is also your best opportunity to add pops of color in the otherwise drab wintry exterior. Opt for wreaths with berries and winter blooming plants for some much-needed color.
Price It Right
In the spring, you have more options when pricing your home for sale. You can list low in hopes of fostering a bidding war, or you can test the market with a higher list price and drop it later if needed. In the winter, however, you have to be careful and price your home appropriately.
Unlike in the spring, there aren’t as many buyers actively looking, so the odds of receiving multiple offers is low. This could result in you selling for much lower than what your home is worth or what you expected to get.
Also, winter is not a good time to test the market. If your home is priced too high, buyers will move on or commit to waiting until spring. It also puts pressure on you to drop the price and interest a buyer before new properties start appearing closer to spring and make your listing look old and stale by comparison.
Winter selling can be successful, you just need to make sure you are pricing your home appropriately. Your REALTOR® can present you with a comparative market analysis that shows what homes like yours and in your area have recently been sold for. That way, you can accurately price your home together.
Pros of Selling in Winter
There are two major pros to selling your house in the winter. The first is this season can bring out the most motivated buyers. The majority of winter buyers are working against a deadline, whether it be an expiring lease, relocation date or contract on their current home. The pressure of these deadlines drives buyers to mean business during their winter search. In addition, buyers can also be motivated by the tax benefits of buying a home before the end of the year. Home buyers can write off some expenses of their home purchase, making it important to close before January.
Secondly, there is less competition with a slow market. Although you might think this is a bad thing because that means less offers, it’s actually better for a different reason. The fact is, not only are there less buyers in the winter, but there are also less sellers. Buyers won’t have a lot of options and with their motivation to close before the end of the year, that means good things for you. Use this to your benefit when discussing compromises and offers with buyers.
Our Seasonal Selling Series returns Monday, March 25th with our spring edition.