Buying and Selling Real Estate During the Winter Months

shj011617_buyingselling_in_winter_months_blog_imageWinter months are not known to be peak real estate markets. Most of us are settling in for the holidays and not thinking about moving. The good news is smart buyers are often looking to buy during this season and selling your house in the off-season is often less stressful than during peak months.

Benefits for Buyers:

Motivated sellers
Off-season sellers are not usually selling because they want to. Either their home has been on the market for a few months or they may need to move due to a job transfer or change of circumstance. Winter sellers are frequently more motivated and may be more inclined to negotiate with buyers.

Better service
By waiting until the winter to start your home search, you are likely to receive better service. Real estate agents, inspectors, appraisers and moving companies have more availability and mortgage brokers have fewer files on their desk.

Less competition
Buying during peak season can lead to bidding wars and emotional turmoil over not getting the home you fell in love with. During the winter there are fewer buyers and less competition. While inventory may be lower, you will have a better chance of getting the house you desire, potentially at a lower price.

Lower prices
As the temperatures cool down home prices do too. It’s simply supply and demand. Historically there are fewer people looking for homes in the winter, which drives prices down. Buying during winter could mean you will pay a little less for your dream home than you would in the summer.

Tips for Sellers:

Set the right price
It can be tempting to aim high with your price. Sit down with your real estate agent and talk price. It is important to price your home to sell, especially in the off season. By setting the right price from the start you’ll save time and stress and attract the right buyers.

Light it Up
If you plan on accepting showings after the sun has set, add timers to your exterior lights so your home will never be dark. Pulling up to a well lit house will give the buyers a more optimistic attitude about your house as a whole. Curb appeal is just as important when the sun sets.

Highlight Indoor Spaces
Before listing your house, make small updates to the interior. Paint walls (keep it neutral!), update kitchen and bathroom hardware, re-caulk your bathtubs or update lighting fixtures. These small projects can have a huge impact on the value and swift sale of your home. If you have an indoor room such as a large rec room, home gym, sun room or sauna, highlight it. Buyers want to see how the home can be used when it’s too cold to go outside. Discuss the room you have in mind with your real estate agent before your listing goes live and send them a write up about the uses for your bonus room to add to the listing.

Smile, It’s Snowing
Partly melted snow is not very pretty, but fresh, fluffy snow is a beautiful thing. Plan your listing photos around the weather and aim for fresh snowfall and a sunny day to highlight the winter beauty of your home.

Buying or selling a home in the winter months may not be ideal but each has its benefits. Are you thinking of buying or selling your house during the off season? Give us a call or schedule a complimentary consultation to consider how this might impact your overall financial plan.

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