Winter may not the typical home-selling season, but homes are bought and sold, just the same. In fact, homes sold during the winter months actually have a higher chance of selling closer to asking prices, and in less time than those put on the market in the summer. Regardless of the reason for listing in the “off” season, sellers are still looking to make the most on their investment with a clean, quick close and buyers still want to negotiate the best deal on the house of their dreams.
For sellers, irrespective of the time of year, there are a few general rules of thumb to keep in mind to appeal to as many potential buyers as possible:
De-clutter – We know you’ve heard this before, and with good reason! A cluttered house not only looks unappealing, but it gives buyers an impression of “unkempt & dirty.” It also makes it difficult for buyers to see their possessions – and themselves – living in the space.
Give your house a deep clean – Take a good look at your house and try to see it as a potential buyer will: Are there carpet stains that you’ve learned to look past? Dusty fan blades? Mildew the corner of the guest shower? Buyers
Maintenance – Fix the toilet that runs and the drippy faucet in the kitchen, replace the burned-out lightbulbs in the dining room chandelier and fix the window in the bedroom that sticks. A home with maintenance issues – even if they’re minor, makes buyers wonder what else hasn’t been taken care of.
Don’t forget curb appeal – A little bit of landscaping and yard clean-up goes a long way toward making a good first impression, especially in fall and winter when trees and shrubs are looking a little sparse.
– Be flexible enough to accommodate buyers’ schedules in viewing your home – we know it’s especially hard this time of year, but you can’t sell your home if buyers can’t get in to see it!
– Decorate thoughtfully – give your home a holiday touch but don’t go overboard; edit the decorations you’ve acquired over the years (maybe just four or five nutcrackers instead of the full collection of two dozen) and stick with non-religious holiday themes.
– Embrace the holidays and set the scene – instead of the scent of fresh-baked cookies, try simmering a few cinnamon sticks and an orange or lemon rind to evoke a feeling of “cozy fall,” along with secular holiday music in the background.
– Bump up the thermostat to make your home an inviting and warm respite from the cold.
Still think a winter listing is a hard sell? Keep in mind there may be fewer buyers, but there are fewer homes on the market, too. Limited supply weighs heavily in favor of sellers. We work successfully with clients – buyers and sellers – year-round. If you need to sell or buy a property, we’ll ensure your best interests are served, winter, summer, spring or fall.