With winter approaching it is not uncommon for those of us in the real estate industry to meet sellers who say, “I’m going to wait until spring to sell.” Spring is the busy time of year in real estate. That being said, spring is not necessarily the best time to sell a house. Here are six reasons why winter might just be the very best time to sell your home.
1. Serious Buyers - It gets dark out by 4 o’clock in the afternoon and it’s frigid cold. Buyers that are out looking at homes this time of year are serious buyers. They have narrowed down their search so that they can avoid wasting any time out in the cold. Sellers that list their home now may have less showings than spring months, but every buyer through the door is potentially THE buyer for the home.
2. Holiday Decorations - Homes that are warmly decorated for the holidays enable the potential buyers to picture themselves living there. They see themselves enjoying hot chocolate by the hearth that is strung with pine. They picture themselves decorating their own tree and enjoying family holiday dinners in the over-sized kitchen. Holiday decorations create warm emotions for most buyers and emotions often equate to love – you want that buyer to fall in love with your home.
3. Competition - There is less home sale competition in the winter. Less competition means you have greater access to the pool of potential buyers. Why sell a home when everyone else is? If you are looking to gain maximum value for your home, the easiest way to do that is to sell when there is very little competition.
4. Interest Rate Certainty - If you are selling your home so that you can buy a new place right away, then moving forward now makes the most sense because you know what the rates are right now (or can find out by calling your mortgage banker). Rates are volatile and there is no saying what they will look like in five or six months. Eliminate the uncertainty by moving now.
5. Close Faster - Selling a home in the winter is a faster process than selling a home in the spring. In the spring, mortgage companies are inundated with mortgage applications. Everyone and their brother starts the home buying process in the spring which means it typically takes longer to close. A winter buyer can usually close in 30 days, which is practically impossible in the spring.
6. Non-Contingent Buyer - Let’s say that you are planning on buying another house, but not right now. You could sell your house now and move into a temporary housing until spring. This gives you huge leverage when you go to buy a house in the spring because you will not have to make offers that are “subject to selling a house.” In the spring, the market gets competitive so buyers who have to sell a house are pushed to the low end of the totem pole when there is bidding war. If you don’t have a house to sell, you will have an easier time buying your next house.
There is no absolute perfect time to buy or sell a home. I work with customers all year long through every season. If you are considering buying or selling a home, call me. Together we will create a strategy that is designed just for you.