Although many sellers will wait out the winter months, planning to list their homes as the weather warms up, there’s a good deal of evidence suggesting that this may not be an ideal strategy. In fact, some research suggests that you’re better off getting the deal done while the neighborhood’s still frosty and white. For those looking to enter the quieter market of winter home selling, here are a few important tips to keep in mind.
1. Don’t Believe the Hype
Conventional wisdom suggests that the spring and summer months present the best opportunities for putting your home on the market. To begin with, you avoid the pitfalls of the winter weather, which can be particularly harsh in Boston, carpeting your home and lawn with ice and now—and possibly keeping potential buyers away. It’s also generally true that the home market is at its busiest and healthiest during the warmer months of summer.
But more recent data, including a study conducted by Redfin in 2013, paints a different picture: their research reveals that even in colder cities, homes are not only more likely to sell in the winter, but they sell faster and at higher prices relative to their listing prices. How can this be true? One theory posited by Redfin suggests that while there may be more buyers sniffing around in the summer, those shopping in the winter are generally more serious about buying—and often need to relocate quickly, meaning they’ll want to close faster and might be willing to pay more.
2. From the Outside: Making Your Home Presentable in Winter
Perhaps the most important concern for winter selling is to ensure that your home remains as beautiful and presentable in the winter as it does in the summer. You may not be able to show off your verdant lawn or neatly managed landscaping, but a home can look great under a cover of snowflakes if it’s properly maintained. To begin with, make sure to keep all walkways free of snow and ice to avoid making visitors uncomfortable. You’ll also want to keep windows and other important features clean, while carefully considering the way both interior and exterior light appear from outside.
3. Keeping Cozy in the Interior
In the winter, you can turn potential buyers’ natural desire to come inside and warm up to your advantage. Take care to heat your home before anyone arrives so that they can luxuriate in its warmth without having to hear (or smell) the heating systems waking from their hibernation. If you have a fireplace, go ahead and show it off. Lighting is important—you may even want to touch things up with holiday decorations or mood-setting candles. And some winter sellers will go the extra mile by providing guests with warm, tasty treats to eat or drink, too, such as hot cider or a fresh plate of oven-baked desserts.