5 Reasons Why Winter is a Great Time to Buy or Sell a Home
It is a common misbelief that you should not try to buy or sell real estate during the fall and winter months.
This is generally considered the “offseason” in real estate. Many sellers mistakenly believe that the cold weather will keep buyers away and that no one is looking over the holidays. Unfortunately, some real estate professionals carry on this myth by instructing their clients to “wait until the spring” to list their home.
The truth is homes are bought and sold year-round. And while the market is typically quieter during the fall and winter, savvy buyers and sellers know how to use this slow down to their advantage. Depending on your circumstances, now may be the ideal time for you to purchase or list a home.
If you are in the market to buy or sell, read on to discover the top five reasons why winter is the great season to buy or sell.
1. FEWER HOMES TO COMPETE
Less competition can be beneficial if you are a seller. Myriad of new listings will hit the market during the spring season. If you list now, there will be fewer homes to compete.
It can be difficult for your property to stand out in a crowded market in the spring and summer months. It is not uncommon to see multiple listings on a single street during the peak selling season.
Inventory in the fall and winter months is significantly lower. That means your home will not only receive more attention from buyers, but you may also gain the upper hand in your negotiations. The research found that homes listed in the winter are nine percent more likely to sell, and sellers net more above the asking price in the winter than any other time of year.
Buyers also have a lot to love about the real estate offseason. While some buyers need to move during the winter, many bargain hunters search this time of year in hopes of scoring a great deal.
Smart buyers will continue to scan the market during the fall and winter for hidden gems that pop up during the offseason. There are always highly motivated sellers who need to sell quickly. And with less competition to bid against you, you are in a better position to negotiate a great price. If you are looking for a good deal on your new home, now is be the best time to look!
‘Tis the season to buy or sell real estate while the rest of the market is hibernating until spring. Take advantage of this opportunity to get a jump start on the competition!
2. BUYERS AND SELLERS ARE MORE MOTIVATED
During the spring and summer, you are likely to encounter “Just Looking” buyers who are just exploring and sellers who are holding out for a better offer. But the serious buyers and sellers stay active during the cold weather and holiday season because they need to move quickly. Research shows that homes listed in the winter sell faster than any other time of year.
January and February are peak job hiring months, which brings a surge of buyers who need to relocate quickly to start a new job. Life changes like retirement, marriage, divorce, and new babies come year-round. While families often find it more convenient to move during the summer when school is out, the reality is that many do not have the option to wait. According to the National Association of Realtors, 55 percent of all buyers purchased their home at the time they did because “it was just the right time,” not because of seasonal factors.
If you prefer to deal with determined and highly-motivated buyers and sellers who want to act fast and do not want to waste your time, then the offseason may be the perfect real estate season for you.
3. MORE TIME & ATTENTION
Another key benefit to buying and selling in the offseason is the increased personal attention you will receive.
While we strive to provide unparalleled client service throughout the year, we have more time available for each client during slower periods. The same goes for other real estate professionals in our network, like our lawyers, inspectors, bank appraisers, insurance agents, and mortgage professionals. Even your bank or favorite mortgage broker can respond faster and provide more time and attention during the offseason than they are during the busy spring and summer months. The result is a quicker and more streamlined mortgage approval and smooth closing for all involved.
4. SIGNIFICANT SAVINGS
Clients who move during the offseason reports significant savings. The cost of moving is lower by 15 percent or more during the winter months. And most moving companies can typically offer more flexibility in their scheduling.
Home renovations and repairs can also be less expensive in the offseason. Whether you are fixing up your property before listing it or remodeling your new home before moving in, contractors and service providers who are hungry for business are often willing to work for a discount this time of year. If you wait until the spring and summer, they may require you to pay a premium.
Home stagers and decorators are also more likely to negotiate their fees during the winter. And you can often score great deals on new furniture and décor during the holiday sales. Here in Hardgrave & Co, we offer FREE DESIGN CONSULTATION AND STAGING when you list with our team.
Whether you are buying or selling, count savings as another compelling reason to consider an offseason move.
5. EASIER TO MAINTAIN CURB APPEAL
Finally, listing your house during the fall and winter offers one key and often overlooked advantage: less lawn and grounds maintenance!
Good curb appeal is crucial when selling your home. According to Realtor statistics, 44 percent of home buyers drove by a property after viewing it online but did NOT go inside for a walkthrough. That means if your curb appeal is lacking, buyers may never make it through the door.
If you list your home during the peak of the selling season, we will generally advise you to frequently schedule mowing, edging, watering, weeding, and trimming shrubs and hedges. You will probably want to plant flowers, as well, to brighten your exterior. After all, a lush landscape is an essential element in attracting spring and summer buyers.
If you list in the offseason, however, your lawn maintenance list is significantly reduced. While we do recommend that our sellers keep their exterior clean, tidy, and free of leaves, snow, and ice, you will probably spend much less time on outdoor maintenance during the winter than you would if you listed your home in the summer.
We would also suggest some pre-planning and take beautiful, green summer or early fall photos of your house's exterior. We can use those pictures in our marketing to help buyers visualize what it looks like in the summer months.
If your home is a condo, Hardgrave & Co. team can come in and take professional photos BEFORE you put up any holiday decorations. These photos will present your home in a non-seasonal light and help your marketing during the fall & winter.
MAKE YOUR MOVE!
Now that you know all the great reasons to buy or sell a home in the offseason, it is time to decide whether you are ready to make your move.
Every situation is unique. Whether you need to move quickly or want to take advantage of all benefits this season has to offer, it is a great time to enter the market.
Give us a call today to schedule an appointment … and you could be ringing in the New Year with extra cash in your new home!