December 28, 2021

Buyers and sellers: This winter is hot!

Winter is typically a slow time for home sales - with sellers holding off listing until buyers return in the spring. The housing market in winter 2022 is anything but!

Buyers: With low interest rates still pervading, the normal ebb and flow of housing cycle has been simply washed over, drowning out the normal winter lull.

But compared to the last 15 months, buyers are apt to have smoother sledding. The crazy bidding wars and fast-rising prices are finally slowing down. Inventory will be low, but with a little less competition, buyers in most parts of the country should have a few more options.

There may even be room to negotiate price. According to a Realtor.com survey, 77% of October sellers said they would accept an offer as much as 7% below asking. Only 54% of sellers were willing to entertain this scenario in springtime.

Mortgage interest rates are trending up, but are still near historic lows. Still, experts warn: Pay attention, even small changes will affect monthly costs and price points.

The market is likely to cool compared to 2021, but it will still be active and may pick up quickly with another early spring rush. By February, hesitant buyers may feel the heat.

Sellers: In 2021, there were multiple months when homes sold faster than any other months in any previous year! That kind of demand doesn't suddenly dry up because the weather gets cold. Winter 2022 should also be a great time to sell!

Here are a few things to know:

Fast sales: According to Realtor.com, homes are spending an average of 45 days on the market, just 39 in the nation’s largest 50 metros. That’s down from 53 in 2020.

Price it right: Get it right at the start. Too high, and you may turn off potential buyers. Check comps online or have your agent check: You may have to adjust.

Where will you go? Have a game plan for where you’ll move once your home sells. A “suitable property” contingency means your sale depends on your ability to find your own new home. If not, the deal can be called off.

Know your sale: A pre-home inspection can help foresee any potential buyer issues.

No needless upgrades: A fresh coat of neutral paint, new carpet and a spruced-up landscape are low-cost ways to make a great first impression.

Money matters: Sellers typically pay the real estate agent’s commission and other costs including transfer tax, recording fees, and outstanding liens.