This is no time to hibernate from what it takes to sell your home: Winter is a great time to put your house on the market.
According to Laura Taras Lander, a seasoned real estate broker with the Higgins Group (Westport, CT), putting your house on the market before springtime has definite advantages. “There is very little inventory on the market, since most sellers like to time listing their home to coordinate with the end of the school year,” she said. “The winter market gives a seller less competition and potentially peace of mind with an accepted offer before the spring frenzy begins.”
You can often get a higher selling price now, Lander said: “Buyers tend to start with a higher offer when a house hasn’t been on the market for long.” Winter buyers also tend to be more motivated to jump on an opportunity.
Here are some tips for making the season work for you.
- Check websites to get a good sense of recent sales so you can be realistic about pricing and which improvements add value.
- Invest in some holiday décor, but remember that not everyone celebrates the same holidays; keep it generic.
- Put sentiment aside. Don’t set the price based on how much the house means to you.
- Skim design publications to see if there’s anything glaringly outdated or idiosyncratic to address before showing the house.
- Declutter to make the house look its best. You want to present an attractive yard, entry and interior. That might mean putting some items in storage (even better, selling and donating furnishings that you don’t need, especially if you’re downsizing) to help buyers envision their belongings in the space.
- Put valuables in storage or your safe deposit box.
- Assemble a folder with information about appliances, improvements and neighborhood resources.
- Don’t be there when people are viewing your house. You don’t want to hear the snarky comments that buyers make to drive down the price.
In our real estate practice, we see plenty of people looking for new homes in the wintertime. Don’t get cold feet about selling just because there’s a chill in the air. Contact us to see how we can help.