How to Sell Your Home During the Winter Season
It’s the most wonderful time of the year... to sell?
Snow and icy roads galore are upon us but this winter will still be a great time to sell your Central Ohio home - especially if you're ready to get settled by spring. Here's why. First, homes show very well during the holiday season (nice job, Clark). Secondly, buyers are still active in the market right now (if you look at how many people are applying for purchase mortgages). Additionally, the number of homes currently for sale compared to how many buyers are in the market still heavily favors sellers (see my market report later this week). Last spring's pandemic led to fewer homes on the market last spring than we normally see in Central Ohio (generally speaking), but it's highly likely we'll see more homes on the market in Spring 2021 than we did in Spring 2020. Lastly, a person's desire to own a home doesn't go away during the holiday season.
These are all great reasons why listing your home during the winter will help you secure a fast sale.
If you’ve been contemplating whether you should brave the snow and list your home now I've made a list of 5 things that will help you sell your home before the weather warms up (and more competition appears)!
Put Your Best Foot Forward Online
As Dave Ramsey says, “the internet has no seasons.” Since most people would rather be cozied up on the couch in the winter and virtual showings are the first step for most buyers right now, making sure your home has a good online presence is very important. Most buyers will start their search online before in person. In fact, according to NAR the share of home buyers who used the internet to search for a home increased to an all-time high of 97% this year.
Leveraging the power of high-quality photography, virtual walk-through tours, and videos has never been so important but when you pair it with cold weather and snow it becomes vital.
Be Flexible in Showing Times and Methods
This is one of the busiest times of the year and with extra hurdles to jump this year like planning holiday celebrations online and shipping holiday gifts to family in time, free time might be hard to come by. The good news here is that most folks do tend to take more time off work around the holidays leaving more time to search for their new home. Once the holidays are over, there are a few 3-day weekends in January which are perfect to host virtual open houses and schedule showings.
Offering a virtual tour option for your home is vital in today's world so don't be surprised if you're getting a lot of showing over FaceTime or Zoom - that doesn't mean a buyer is any less serious. Currently, most of my buyer clients are out-of-town, so I preview homes via a video feed for them before they travel for a showing.
Work With What You Have
When the sun sets at 4 PM and your beautiful lawn is covered by snow, it’s a lot harder to show off your home’s exterior. Make sure that your lights around the house - holiday and decor lights, as well as year-round outdoor lighting, are all set up and turned on when the sun goes down. If you took advantage of the warm weather this summer by making some improvements to your curb appeal make sure to disclose those upgrades to us as we'll make sure that any potential buyers are aware of upgrades being made around the house..
Keep Budgets and Timelines in Mind
As we wrap up the end of the year, a lot of people are tied up with other financial obligations such as holiday gifts, paying taxes, and making sure their own houses and vehicles are winter-ready. While typically this may cause a lot of buyers to not want to invest in a home at this time of year this year is anything but normal. Buyers are competing by offering over asking and homes are selling quickly - the holidays may slow that down a bit but we expect thing to heat up again by the time the trees have all been taken down.
Staying "Show Ready" Makes a Difference
While keeping your home show-ready during the winter may be more difficult it's not impossible. You’ll need to minimize the amount of snow and slush people bring through the door and will need to keep up with putting away the wrapping paper and holiday prepping that you’re doing yourself. You’ll also end up plowing the driveway and sidewalks for any potential visitors.
Keep things cozy and warm inside by turning the lights on, putting the heat up a couple of clicks and of course lighting a fire if you can.