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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Don’t be afraid of winter if you want to sell your house.

Many would-be sellers mistakenly decide to take their houses off the market for the winter or to wait until spring to list. Doing so can actually cost cost them time and money.

According to a press release about a recent study by the real estate brokerage Redfin, the spring real estate season just barely nudged out the winter as the best time to be on the market. The Redfin report showed that 18.7 percent of spring listings received above the asking price while winter listings were close behind at 17.5 percent. What’s more, 48 percent of homes listed in the spring sold within 30 days; 46.2 percent of homes in the winter sold within that time frame.

Our local market makes things even better for sellers in winter because we have an on-going shortage of inventory on the market. So, while winter may be a period when there are fewer home shoppers out looking, there are fewer other houses on the market for your home to compete with for their attention. Not only that, but those who are out looking serious buyers and not the nosy neighbors and tire-kickers that are out there in the warmer months.

This time of year, little touches like having a fire going in the fireplace and leaving hot coco and cookies can also make the visit experience more pleasant for winter time visitors. You may also like leaving scented candles burning, but be very careful and very conservative with that. Too many or too much scent can actually be a turn off and some people are even allergic to the stronger scents. Even a little Holiday music playing softly in the background could help set a positive tone for the visit. Certainly and effort should always be made to make sure that lights are turned on, especially the porch lights, during these darker winter months. Don’t get hung up on the cost of burning a few lights when you are trying to sell a big ticket items like a house.

If you decorate for the holidays while your home is listed, you may have to tone it down a little this year and go for a traditional and tasteful look. Remember that not all potential visitors actually celebrate Christmas in a traditional Christian way. Perhaps you should also keep the blow up Grinch Who Stole Christmas in the garage this year. Make sure that any expensive presents are safely locked away during visits and not tempting visitors from under the Christmas tree. Finally, make sure that your decorations do not impede someone from walking through your house. They are there to hoping to buy a house and not to see how many Christmas do-dads you’ve collected over your lifetime.

Once we get past the holidays and into the deep winter, especially the snowy months, you will have to make some adjustments in your efforts. You’ll need to keep the snow cleared off
the driveway, the walks and porches and salt down any ice that may be on any of them.  A person who slips and falls while trying to get to your house is not likely to buy it. It’s OK to insist that visitors remove their shoes or boots in the winter; however, you should also make sure that there is a rug or mat at the front door to put snowy shoes on and a bench or chair that visitors can use to sit on and put their shoes or boots back on. It would be nice if there were a coat rack handy or if you’ve cleaned out the front coat closet, so that they have somewhere to put winter coats while looking at your home.

The fall and winter months are not a bad time to sell, just a different time, in terms of what you need to do to make the experience of visiting your home pleasant. It also requires more discipline from you and your family so that your own family’s winter wear and boots aren’t taking up all of the space in the front hall or mud room entrance. Remember also that, during the winter, your house is closed up odors, especially cooking odors linger. You can either tone down the odor level of your cooking or buy industrial size spray cans of Febreze and spray wash your house well ahead of the showing.


Call me for a visit and event more helpful tips about selling your home in winter.