Should We List our House in the Winter


This is a frequent question posed by potential sellers. However, the first question they should be asking themselves is whether selling in winter is even an option.  For many it’s just not practical. Many factors have to be considered to determine whether selling in winter is the right choice; for example, do you have school-aged children, what/where are you planning to buy, what is your reason is for selling, do you plan to hire movers, do you prefer to hibernate in the winter (if so, winter selling is definitely not for you!), etc. For others, however, there may be no option but sell in the winter.

 

WHEN IT’S AN OPTION…

It’s well known that the First Quarter of the Year (Jan-Mar) doesn’t see nearly as many potential house buyers as the “Spring Market.” But if you do decide to sell in winter, there are some serious positives.

More serious buyers – generally winter buyers are more serious about their home search. Trudging around in wet/frozen conditions isn’t something people do just for fun.

Less competition – buyers have less to choose from. So while you may not have quite as many showings as you would in the spring, the showings you do have may result in …

Better offers -- and really, what more could you want!

 

ON THE FLIP SIDE

Beware, however, that those things that make it a good time to sell may also make it a tough time to buy. Even if you’re not buying another home, you may have to consider battling colder temperatures and/or messier conditions while moving. Bring the hot chocolate for your movers if you’re dealing with sub-zero temperatures and/or the tarps for your pick-up if you’re dealing with road spray.
 

POINTS TO PONDER

There are a few things to keep in mind when you’re selling in the winter, whether by choice or circumstances, and, of course, you want the best price.
  • Be careful on your pricing. If you’re overpriced and the spring market ramps up, your home sale will start to look stale.
  • If you have a pool and/or central air conditioning, there may be conditions with respect to their condition/functioning included in the agreement of purchase and sale that will extend to the better weather and the snow melting.
  • You may be asked for copies of the heating/electric bills for the winter and summer. Have them available. You should also provide any recent inspection reports from professionals, such as pool or furnace maintenance companies.
  • Your heating bill may be higher with the traffic coming through your home.
  • It may take more effort to keep your home, and outdoor stairs, walkways, decks and driveways clear, especially with icy conditions.This is important, however, to ensure that your home is presentable. You may even want to make sure that there is a clear path through your backyard to allow buyers to get a good look at it. Keeping stairs and paths clear is also important for liability reasons. The last thing you want is to have a potential buyer or agent hurt themselves when viewing your property.
  • If you have some pictures of your property in the summer, you should have them on display.
  • Ensure that you home is warm and inviting. Turn on lamps to light dark areas, keep the temperature comfortable all day, and put some tasteful seasonal décor up inside and out (urns outside with greenery, bright throw pillows inside, etc.). If you have a fireplace you may want to have it lit (although if it’s wood burning you would only do so if you were returning to your home immediately after the showing).
Selling a home in the depths of winter isn’t for everyone and it takes a bit more willingness and effort. But in many cases the extra trouble is well worth it!
If you would like any more information on this topic or would like to talk to us about our services, please contact us.