December 4, 2019

Winter home sales can be hot!

The weather outside might be frightful, but recent research shows winter listings are more likely than summer listings to fetch a price above asking.

It might seem counter-intuitive to conventional wisdom, but winter home sales are often hot!

Statistics show 17.5 percent of winter listings fetch more than asking price, comparable to spring (18.7). Similarly, while 48 percent of spring listings sell within 30 days, 46.2 percent of winter listings do.

It all stems from decreased wintertime real estate competition.

Winter buyers tend to be more serious. They often have narrow time windows in which to move. Those with kids probably want them settled into new schools by the new year.

Buyers are less likely to make a lowball offers and often want to close quickly - two things that can make the sale much smoother.

On the flip side, a lot of homeowners decide to wait until spring to put their home on the market. Others who already had a home on the market decide to take it off until after the holidays.

What remains on the market are the most motivated sellers - now matched with the most motivated buyers. It’s a winning combination.

That’s why Bay Equity Home Loans and its real estate partners work just as hard during the winter months as the rest of the year.

So what are a few quick and inexpensive things sellers can do to attract the best winter bids?

Keep the driveway and sidewalks clear of snow and slush, and put out a nice welcome mat for buyers and agents to wipe their feet – maybe even provide a place to take off shoes, or plastic slipcover booties.

The right price is a must. Listen to the recommendations of your real estate agent — by pricing right at the beginning, you start the process in the strongest position.

Make the season work for you. While it might be chilly, it's a magical time of year. Deck the halls with holiday decorations, and maybe even build a snowman out front. Show off any extra storage where they can stash coats and other winter gear. Get your own gear out of the way and into rented storage!

Make them feel at home. When it is cold out, buyers get a little frostier. They tire easily from grueling home shopping.

Fill the house with the smell of fresh baked cookies and fresh hot drinks. And make sure to have plenty on hand to offer!

It's winter, so it better be cozy inside. Contact a professional to make sure the HVAC system is working properly and check for drafts by windows and doors.

Keep the heat at a reasonable temperature during showings - especially if there's no one living there. There's nothing worse than visiting an "icebox" and trying to picture it as your new home. More insulation in the attic will help.

Lastly, keep it light and bright. Make sure to open all the drapes to let in as much natural sunlight as possible. A coat of light-colored paint is an inexpensive way to highlight kitchen and bathrooms, but can be used to brighten any room.

While spring sees a rush of homes coming on the market, homes that list in the winter are much more likely to stand out.

The time that feels right is the right time to sell. Don’t automatically give winter sales the cold shoulder.