What You Need to Know Before Selling a Home in Winter

Selling a home at any time of the year can be an all-encompassing task, but for those entering the market during the off-peak winter season, there are important seasonal trends to consider. Let’s break down the major pluses and minuses of the market during the cooler months. Some obstacles may be obvious: less daylight means less time for showing homes; bare trees and brown lawns tend to hurt curb appeal; and trying to fit in a move between holiday shopping and entertaining can be physically grueling. But there are other advantages and disadvantages beyond the season itself.

Let’s break down the major pluses and minuses of the market during the cooler months.

Less Competition

In the summer months, it can seem like the whole world is on sale, and you’re just another property lost in the MLS. But in the winter, a good home can be hard to find. Spend time on the basics of presentation – keeping the home at a warm temperature, bake some cookies or bake a pie for that fresh aroma, and set the table with the fine china – to help your house stand out from the crowd.

Lower Prices

This is where a competent realtor can make the difference. Home values are historically lower in the fall and winter months, but this isn’t all bad news: with a lighter load of clients, you are more likely to get the focused attention of your agent, who will be more motivated to make each sale count.

Housing Faults More Obvious

A leaky roof might not be noticeable in the summer months, but in the winter, a house is put to the test. Other issues, like poor heating or plumbing, might also be at their worst during this time. Curb appeal is also harder to generate when plants are in hibernation. A “fixer-upper” might fare better in the summer months.

Summary

You may want to discuss with your realtor the option of waiting until the spring to place your home on the market. If you must sell in the winter, the lack of competition can give you the opportunity to stand out from the crowd.