While there is certainly some seasonality with the real estate market, many realtors often advise you not to sell your home during the winter months. In reality, winter can be one of the best times to sell your home.
The truth is that there are all types of buyers that shop in all the seasons, so it is a bit of a misconception that people do not buy in the winter season. In fact, if you sell between December 1st and February 28th (loosely categorized as the winter season), not only will you find motivated buyers, but you may also experience less competition from other sellers1.
But selling in winter does not come without its share of challenges. Many buyers wait until winter to get houses at a discount, so prepare yourself for some lowball offers. Also, it may be harder to accentuate the exterior features of your home that you could normally do in the spring.
To overcome some of the obstacles associated with selling your home during the winter months, consider some of these secret staging and selling tips.
1. Price Your Home to Sell
Pricing your home correctly is one of the most important things you can do to ensure a successful sale in the winter months. While figuring out the right sales price is always important, it is especially relevant in the “off-season” because there are often less buyers on the market.
Overpricing your home can disinterest potential buyers but you also do not want to undercut your home’s value. Figuring out the right sales price can be as simple as finding the right real estate agent that knows your local market. An agent can run a competitive market analysis to help target the appropriate price point for your home.
Do not be afraid to complete your own independent research as well. Check out recent comparable sales in the neighborhood to give you a better idea of what similar homes in the area are selling for.
2. Don’t Go Overboard with Holiday Decor
For many, winter is holistically associated with the holiday season. But one of the biggest mistakes homeowners make selling their home during the winter months is over decorating for the holiday season.
For starters, not all buyers may celebrate the season like you do. Furthermore, excessive decorating can draw interest away from some of the basic features of the home.
If you decide to decorate for the holidays, ease up on the decorations and make sure they are tasteful. When done properly, this can be a perfect staging opportunity. Consider a small lit tree with a few wrapped gifts underneath, an eye-catching wreath on the front door, and warm lighting to maintain a cozy ambiance.
3. Turn on the Lights, Turn Up the Heat
One obstacle with selling in the winter months is that you naturally have fewer hours of natural light to work with compared to warmer parts of the year. This means it is extremely important to keep your lights on whenever possible.
Using more powerful bulbs to enhance the brightness of your space can never hurt. In fact, lighting can create a nice warm cohesive feel. It also draws the attention of potential buyers from the street.
Similarly, winter is synonymous with the cold so make sure to keep your home adequately heated. While it may have a small impact on your gas bill, potential buyers will be more likely to consider buying your home if it is toasty warm. It also adds a cozy factor, especially when combined with a lit fireplace or strategically staged throw blankets.
4. Make Sure to Clear a Path
Not everyone lives in areas of the country that experience snow during the winter months. That said, if you do live somewhere where snow is prevalent make sure to shovel or plow your walkway and driveway. This will allow potential buyers access to your home for showings as well as indicate that the home is properly maintained. Shoveled pathways also provide a bit more curb appeal compared to properties blanketed with snow.
5. Staging Can Be Key
Since selling in the winter months often means trying to appeal to a lower pool of potential buyers, try optimizing your chances for success by having your home professionally staged.
A recent study found that a staged home will often sell for 17% more on average than non-staged homes2. Similarly, on average staged homes sell faster than non-staged homes. The National Association of Realtors noted that for every $100 invested in staging, the potential return is $4002.
1 Zillow Group. (2019, November 27). Selling a House During Winter Holidays: Tips, Pros & Cons: Zillow. Retrieved January 6, 2021, from https://www.zillow.com/sellers-guide/selling-house-during-winter-holidays/
2 McGrady, V. (2020, July 15). 7 Pro Tips To Help Your Home Sell Faster, For More Money. Retrieved January 6, 2021, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/vanessamcgrady/2015/11/04/staging/?sh=58972b7e50c9