Selling Your Home in the Winter

| January 07, 2019

Many sellers choose to list their homes in the spring and early summer to try and hit the peak selling season. Most buyers are looking in the warmer months of the year, especially in Iowa, when they don’t have to trudge around in the snow and colder temperatures. Many buyers are also trying to get settled in to their new homes before the school year starts. Buyers, and sellers too, want to stay hunkered down in the warmth, not pack and move boxes in and out while snow is falling. Trees, yards and landscaping all look grey and dreary in the winter. While statistically more homes are listed and sold during the months of March-August, many homeowners have benefitted from listing their homes in the colder months.

Since many sellers list in the spring and summer, and some even take their listings off when the cold starts sneaking in, there is less competition for those that do list in the winter. Instead of 10 other homes in your home’s price range, there might only be 3.  Buyers may not be as eager to get out in the colder months, but our digital world has made it so that potential buyers can see your home through a quick internet search. If it’s the home they’ve been waiting for, the cold weather isn’t going to stop them. Usually buyers that are looking in the winter months are serious about moving. They’re not afraid to trudge through snow or brave the colder temperatures because they’re working under a deadline, or because they saw your home online and fell in love!  With some buyers working under a time crunch, and the lower number of homes on the market, for some sellers, listing in the winter can actually result in a quicker sale than listing in the summer. While many buyers stop looking during the holiday season due to busy schedules and more gatherings with family, keep in mind, other buyers are using this time to show homes they like to family that they have visiting from out of town.

There are several things you can do to help sell your home quicker if you do decide to list in the cold, snowy months of the year:  

  • Shovel and clear all walkways, driveways, porches and decks often and put down salt.

Making the house accessible and easier to view leaves buyers with more time to look at your home and see all of the great aspects it has to offer, rather than spending their time looking down and worrying about slips, or focusing on all the snow they’ll have to shovel themselves if they buy your house. It will also create a more inviting feel, and you won’t have to worry about wet and snowy shoes all over your home.

  • Do what you can to make the home feel warm and cozy.  

Turn the furnace up a few degrees the day of showings.  Add some throw blankets and turn on the gas fireplace before a showing so buyers can envision themselves cuddled up on the couch.  Buyers will be paying closer attention to the house having drafts and being energy efficient, so consider having service done to your furnace and doing any repairs they suggest for better heating.

  • Add some color & light!

You can beat the winter blues and short days by adding extra lamps in your home and spotlights in the yard for night showings.  Outdoor wreaths, holly, and simple colorful décor can add a seasonal boost to your landscaping and curb appeal.

Many sellers will still choose to list in the spring and summer, and for some, that may be the best approach. For others, that may not be an option, or may not be right for them. If you’re considering selling your home, contact a Ramsey-Weeks real estate professional today to determine the best strategy for listing your home, and to determine your home’s market value!

-Alex Plate, Realtor