I'm sure you've heard from several people how much better it would be to sell your home in the Spring/Summer but is it really? I think we subconsciously believe that when the weather is "better" we can get a better price, As if like the flowers blooming in the spring, buyers will just sprout up everywhere we look as soon as the snow melts. How true is this theory?
Not very true at all! There are a lot of solid reasons why listing your house in the winter, rather than waiting for spring. Of course everyone’s situation is different, and an experienced real estate agent in your area can give you the best advice, but here are a few things to consider when deciding when to list your home for sale. (And if you don’t have a choice and have to list it in the winter, hopefully these facts will help set your mind at ease!)
1. Less Competition
Fewer people tend to list their homes during the winter months, but don't let this deter you! This means that your home has a better chance of standing out, as there will be fewer competing listings. Wouldn’t you rather be the only home for sale in your neighborhood, than have three of your neighbors also selling at the same time?
2. Motivated Buyers
It takes a little more motivation to bundle up and go look at houses when the weather gets cold. Think about having to pack and move during a snow storm. The fact that someone would want to house shop during one of the busiest times of year should let you know that these buyers are ready to make an offer. The curious neighbors or “we’d like to buy a house in the next year…or two” buyers are not as likely to be making the rounds.
One of the reasons you will find more motivated buyers during the winter is that January is when many companies do corporate relocations. Someone who is being moved because of a job is not going to have the luxury to leisurely shop for houses for three months. Similarly, because many families with kids prefer to move over summer break, those who are moving in the middle of the year are more likely doing so because they are on a timeline.
3. Loans may be processed quicker
Because the housing inventory is generally smaller during the winter, lenders are less busy. This means that when your buyers are ready to go under contract, they can get their financing ready to go that much faster, and everyone can make it to closing quicker.
4. Homes listed in winter sell faster and for more money
Contrary to popular belief, homes listed for sale in the winter sold faster (by an average of one week), were 9% more likely to sell within six months, and sold for 1.1% more money relative to list price. The benefits of selling in the winter were true both for markets with very cold climates (Chicago and Boston) as well as markets like Durham, NC, with warmer climates.
There are obviously many unique factors that go into the decision of when to list your home for sale, but if you are considering listing in the winter, or circumstances have forced you to list in the winter regardless, you should keep these things in mind as you weigh the pros and cons of listing now versus waiting until the spring.