Thinking about waiting to sell your home until the “Spring Selling Season” begins? You may want to think again. A common thought in real estate is never list your home in thewinter offseason. Perpetuated by industry experts, agents and repeat sellersalike, this saying encourages many would-be sellers to wait until the springpeak to list their homes. However, studies show that homes listed in the winteroffseason not only sell faster than those in the spring, but sellers also netmore above their asking price at this time.1 Don’t wait until springto sell. If you’ve been thinking of selling your home, here are five compellingreasons to list now.
1. Take advantage of low inventory. Sincemost sellers are waiting until spring to list, local inventory falls during theoffseason. However, there are still motivated buyers who are ready to move nowand don’t want to wait that long to purchase a home. According to the NationalAssociation of Realtors, 55 percent of all buyers purchased their home at thetime they did because “it was just the right time.”2 These eagerbuyers may flock to your home. You may not need to try as hard to make yourhome stand out in the sea of other similar homes. With less competition, morebuyers, some of whom may have otherwise overlooked your home if you listedduring the peak, will express an interest to buy. While you’ll likely havefewer showings in the offseason, buyers who do visit will be more serious aboutwriting an offer. Your home will likely sell faster than it would have duringthe peak season.
2. Set a higher listing price. Homes soldduring the offseason sell at a higher price, on average, than those sold duringthe spring and summer peak. There are many reasons for this. First, motivatedbuyers are willing to pay closer to the asking price for a home. Second, homesare more likely to be priced right and reflect the economics of not only thelocal market, but the neighborhood as well. Often, homes listed during the peakmay be priced to compete with other homes in the area and neighborhood. Sellersmay be pressured to sell for less than the list price in order to encouragebuyers to choose their home out of the others on the market.
3. You’ll receive more attention. Whileour team always strives to give you the personal attention you deserve, whenyou list during the offseason, we’re able to work more closely with you toensure your home is prepared for its debut on the market. We can also take moretime to answer your questions, address your concerns and prepare you and yourhome for the sale.
Additionally, if you’d like to hire a tradesperson to handleroutine maintenance or undertake a minor home renovation before you list, youmay be able to take advantage of flexible scheduling and cheaper rates. Many ofthese professionals experience a winter offseason as well, and will be able tofocus their time and attention on you and your project.
4. Easier to maintain curb appeal. Curbappeal is intended to attract the buyers who are just driving by as well asthose who saw your home online and wanted to see it in-person. It sets thestage for what interested buyers can expect when they step foot in the homeduring a showing or open house. If you list your home during the peak of theselling season, you may exhaust your time your energy maintaining curb appeal.You’ll likely spend most of your free time mowing the lawn, weeding, trimmingshrubs and hedges, planting flowers in pots and in flowerbeds, pulling spentblooms and watering it all to ensure it looks lush and healthy on a dailybasis. After all, a lush landscape will attract potential buyers and set yourhome apart from other similar homes in the area.
The offseason eliminates the pressure to maintain apicture-perfect front landscape. Since most grass, shrubs and plants go dormantat this time of year, you’ll have less to maintain. If you live in an area thatexperiences a traditional winter, your landscape will be covered with snow.Even if you live in a milder climate, you may not have to mow as often, if atall. It’s still important to ensure your exterior appears well-tended, so make sureyour walkway and front porch remains free of snow, ice and debris.
5. Tap into the life changes of buyers. Manybuyers receive employee raises and bonuses at the end of the year. If they’vebeen saving to buy a home, this extra money may allow them to reach their goalfor a down payment and put them on the path to becoming a homeowner.Additionally, companies often hire new employees and relocate current onesduring the first quarter of the year, creating a strong demand for housing. Ifyou live in an area that’s home to a large company or has a strong corporatepresence, this may be the perfect time to list.
Thinking of Listing in theOffseason? 3 Things to Do Before You List
Get your home ready to list by following these tips.
1. Schedule maintenance. Buyers,especially first-time buyers, want a home they can move into right away; theydon’t want to repair the roof or the furnace or replace windows with blownthermal seals before they move in. Do the scheduled maintenance and makerepairs before you list your home for sale.
In some cases, it may help to have an inspector do apre-inspection of your home. A pre-inspection will make you aware of any major,potentially deal-killing, issues that will have to be addressed before youlist. It also gives you an idea of minor issues that a potential seller maywant repaired. Overall, it helps you to accurately price your home and may protectyou from claims a buyer might make later.3
2. Create light. Balance out the lack ofnatural light outdoors by turning the lights on inside. Since people naturallytend to buy emotionally, turning on the lights helps create a sense of warmthand coziness. Light a fire in the fireplace, if you have one, fill your homewith the scents of the season, such as vanilla or fresh baked cookies, and puta throw blanket on your sofa.
If you plan to paint the interior of your home before you list,consider an off-white shade to create consistency throughout your home and makethe space feel larger and brighter. If you have photos of your garden or thehome’s exterior in the spring or summer, display them so interested buyers canget a glimpse of what the home looks like in other seasons..
3. Give your home a thorough cleaning. Cleaningputs your home in its best light. Clean and polish all the horizontal surfacesof your home, including countertops, window sills and baseboards; have thecurtains dry cleaned or otherwise laundered; wash windows, glass doors andtheir tracks; vacuum carpeting and polish all wood surfaces, including thefloor.
Additionally, this is a great time to pack any personal itemsand family photos as well as sort through your belongings and donate items youno longer use. This not only eliminates any clutter, but it also gives you lessto pack and move when you sell.
If you’re thinking ofselling, give us a call! We’d love to help you position your home to sell inour market.
1. Time, October 30, 2015
2. National Association of REALTORS, 2016Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers
3. Forbes, August, 27, 2013