Baby, it’s cold out there. The old rule of thumb is to wait until Spring to sell your house, but this isn’t your grandma’s real estate market. The power of the internet combined with a recent drop in housing inventory have kept things moving. We may have to wait until Spring for the ground to thaw, but today’s selling market is warmer than ever.
Get That House on the Market
Are you ready to sell your house NOW? Don’t wait. Follow these modern tips for selling your home during the winter months:
- Keep things neutral. The “neutral décor” rule applies to the festive season as well. It’s okay to show a little holiday spirit, but as with your year-round wall colors, too much personality could lower the marketability of your property. Festive trimmings make the best overall impression when they appeal to the masses. Go traditional without manifesting any specific holiday. Some examples of neutral-style festive décor include white strand lights, live garland, bells, candles, and white or ecru-colored stockings. Pinterest is a great place to find ideas and inspiration.
- Play up the cozy. Now is the time of year to have the fireplace looking ship-shape. Consider having your fireplace and furnace inspected and maintained before you list. Also, when you have a showing scheduled, keep your central heat on and make sure your home is well-lit.
- Shovel and de-ice your driveway and approach. If your prospective buyers have to trudge through the elements they might think your home requires too much maintenance.
- Consider upgrading to smart technology in the areas that will help to sell your home. A smart thermostat, like the Nest, allows you to turn the heat up right before a showing no matter where you are in the world. Other examples of winter-busting smart technology include video doorbells (like the Ring), WiFi-enabled smoke/CO detectors, and digital assistants that stream background music (but do think about disabling the ringer on your phone).
- Appeal to your buyers’ senses. Use a wax burner to disperse Holiday smells like cinnamon, pine, or peppermint. Consider baking before an open house or showing…and of course make sure your oven is squeaky-clean!
- Even thought you'll be competing with the marketing efforts of the Jolly Old Elf, it's still a seller's market in many areas. He’s a seasoned pro and he can out-perform even the most desirable homes on the market, so don't get discouraged if your home doesn't receive much interest until after Christmas.
- This final rule applies to all four seasons: Your first few days on the market are important for setting the tone. Prepare, clean, maintain, and fix anything that’s broken before you list. It’s better to be proactive so you can get the highest possible offer for your home.
The Numbers are on Your Side
If you’re still in doubt that your home will sell in the winter, consider the following statistic: According to 2017 data from the National Association of Realtors and Dave Ramsey, home sales in winter months shot up 4.5% over the previous year. November and December showed strong sales with a slight down-tick in January, then a rebound in February. Contact an experienced Realtor to find out how things played-out in your local market last year.
Bottom line: You can successfully list and sell your home during the colder months. You’ll have to make your home attractive to winter buyers, but you’d have to work to make your home attractive to springtime buyers anyway so you might as well list now if you’re ready. A good real estate agent will know how to market your home no matter the weather.