But don't despair. We've teamed up with HomeLight this week to bring your some encouragement (and a few to-don'ts) if your home is destined to don a for sale sign in the upcoming weeks.
Reasons Winter Sales Work
Second, people who are looking will probably be motivated buyers; otherwise, they’d wait until spring. Being ready to buy, they may be more willing to overlook the house’s imperfections. And you only need one to make a good offer. Third, it’s “downtime” for realtors, too. If yours has less going on, he or she will be eager to get your house sold, dedicating more time and energy to you and your home.
Ways to Defeat “Downtime”
- Do the best you can when it comes to curb appeal. Keep outdoor living spaces, such as patios, porches, and decks clutter-free, bright, and welcoming. Keep the lawn raked and mowed, and keep gardens neat. Pot some pansies or other colorful plants and flowers that grow well in winter. Simple seasonal decorations, such as pumpkins or white Christmas lights, add color and charm. Do not overdo: intense light displays and huge Halloween cobwebs are bad choices.
- Stage the house to be welcoming and cozy. Arrange pretty throw pillows and crocheted blankets on furniture. Have the fireplace going, and vanilla candles in strategic spots. Bake something that smells wonderful, and give buyers a taste along with hot drinks while they look around. Some holiday decoration is fine, but keep it minimal and refrain from adding religious touches so that everyone feels welcome. Creative wreaths, pine, garlands, a simple tree, or even just some red and white flowers will do nicely (if a large Christmas tree will show off your cathedral ceiling, then yes, do it). Remember to prepack anything you aren't using to help potential buyers envision themselves in your home.
- Have your insulation and heat in tip-top condition. Insulating the attic brings return on investment, and buyers will appreciate it. The furnace should be serviced and cleaned so they will feel its warm efficiency.
- Maximize light in every way. Wash the windows, and do not let blinds or drapes block natural light. Change bulbs and shades to create brighter, warmer light, and/or add more lamps. Install outdoor lighting to combat the early darkness. Small, solar-powered lights along walkways, motion-sensitive lights for security, and landscape spotlights can all replace some of the curb appeal winter took away.
- Consult with your realtor about not listing the house in the usual way, on the MLS (multiple listing service). Because a house can take longer to sell in winter, it may be best not to have a listing sit there long-term, which looks suspicious to some buyers. A better approach might be by word-of-mouth among agents.
- Many companies relocate employees in the fall, so consider contacting their relocation specialists as a source of potential buyers.
- Exterior listing photos should be shot in warmer weather, in full leaf and bloom, to make sure buyers see the home’s best “face.”
Experienced top realtors near you know how to overcome seasonal challenges to selling in your market. When choosing your agent, ask about success in winter sales. The advice and efforts of a great realtor can turn “downtime” around to get your house sold fast.