A long-standing practice of real estate professionals is to take a home off the market in the winter to “refresh” the listing, and then relist the home in the spring. Most will tell a homeowner who is thinking of putting their home on the market in winter to wait until the spring, since more homes sell at that time of year. But you really need to put this old notion aside. Winter is the time you should really ramp up your marketing efforts and really push to make a great start to the new year and here are just a few reasons why……
Technology makes homes more accessible to buyers. With all the technology available to buyers today, the winter weather does not have to be a huge deterrent. Nine out of ten home buyers search for their home online, according to the National Association of Realtors. They’re searching at night after dark. They’re browsing real estate websites while out of town, at Grandma’s after a long Thanksgiving dinner. They’re driving around their desired neighborhood, viewing available homes on a mobile phone, in the safety of their warm vehicle. The way buyers search for homes has changed, and their location, the time of year, and the weather have far less effect on their ability to view homes than it used to.
January is the BIGGEST transfer month. Corporate transferees, who need to buy a house now, simply cannot wait until spring. The percentage of homes sold in winter compared to total sales has risen significantly over time. Home buyers’ changing employment and mobility situations have lessened the seasonal effect that we’re used to quoting in real estate circles. There are certainly still less sales in winter, but that brings us to the next factor…..
Competition is lighter in winter! This is one of the most significant factors most agents and sellers need to ponder. While a buyer may have had 30 homes to choose from in June, there may only be 10 homes that fit their criteria in January. If they are motivated to buy (and winter buyers are), they will choose one of those 10 homes. Sellers who stick out the market through the winter actually increase their chance to sell significantly. When the smaller number of winter sales are compared to the smaller inventory of available homes, you’ll see that an individual home seller may actually be just as likely to have their home sell in winter as in summer.
Buyers are more serious. Let’s be honest; if you were a casual looker and not ready to buy, are you going to waste your time trudging around in the snow and cold to view homes? No. Buyers that are looking in winter are much more motivated to find a home. They are still looking because they have to! This can lead to fewer concessions on your seller’s part to make the deal happen. With less competition and more serious buyers, your sellers can really have the upper hand in negotiations - bringing in in a higher price than they would be in the spring.
Homes show well during the Holidays! Use the holidays as a chance to play off of buyers emotions. You have a chance to show your home at its very best, adorned with warmth and holiday cheer. People want to be able to “see themselves” in a home. Holidays give sellers a great chance to make buyers feel the home as a warm and inviting place to reside.
The bottom line is don’t stop your marketing efforts in the winter. Use the slow season to your advantage and close more deals!