Selling in the Wintertime

If you haven’t thought about trying to sell in the winter, you really should. At the beach, our buyers aren’t seasonal. Homes and lots sell year ’round as our typical buyer is looking for a vacation home or a retirement home and those two buyers aren’t usually on a set timeframe.

In the winter months, the buyers in the market are serious about buying a home. There aren’t many “tire kickers” out in the cold house hunting. They are usually motivated buyers and they’re serious. Not everyone has the luxury of waiting until the traditional spring or summer home-buying season to plant that “for sale” sign. And while it’s true that in most areas you’ll probably have fewer buyers during the winter, you will have less competition from other sellers.

There is less inconvenience to the family to keep the home up for showings, because there’s less people house hunting in winter. It’s also easier to keep the yard up as well. The lawn is brown, the weather is usually bad and, unlike the longer days of summer, you have less time to show it off during daylight hours.

With scheduled showings, there doesn’t have to be any disturbance to holiday festivities.

Several studies have shown homes sold during the winter season sell closer to listing price than those sold during the spring and summer.

Contract negotiations are easier and seller concessions less are generally less in the winter months. Remember, buyers in the winter are serious about finding a home. It’s a captive audience.

Real estate agents/brokers aren’t as busy in the winter months and with less homes on the market, your property is likely to get more attention.

Tips for selling your home in winter:

Keep snow and ice at bay: The top tip from agents: If the buyer can’t get in easily, the house won’t sell. That means keeping walkways and driveways free of the leaves, snow, etc. Just like trimming the lawn in the summer, you want to make the home look like it’s been maintained.

Warm it up: If you’re showing during the winter, think “warm, cozy and homey.” Before a buyer comes through, adjust the thermostat to a warmer temperature to make it welcoming. Many times, sellers leave right before the agent and prospective buyers arrive. In that case, adjust the heat to a comfortable temperature. Buyers feel the warmth and see the potential, and you don’t have to worry about safety concerns.

Take advantage of natural light: Make the most of the light you do have. Have the curtains and blinds cleaned and open them as wide as possible during daytime showings. Clean all the lamps and built-in fixtures, and replace the bulbs with the highest wattage that they will safely accommodate. Before you show the house, turn on all the lights.

Get the windows washed: Buyers act on the first impression. Windows are one thing that many sellers don’t even consider. In winter, that strong light can reveal grime and make it look like the home hasn’t been well-maintained.

Play music softly in the background: To create a little atmosphere, tune the radio to the local classical station. Turn it down so that you barely hear it in the background.

Make it comfortable and cozy: Consider things such as putting a warm throw on the sofa or folding back the comforter on the bed.

Set up timers: You want your home to look warm and welcoming whenever prospective buyers drive past. But you’re not home all the time, so put indoor and outdoor lights on timers.

Make it festive: Even if you’re not actually going to be present, greet your buyers as if they were going to be guests at a party.

Give the home a nice aroma: Chocolate-chip cookies… Everybody likes that smell. Other popular scents: cinnamon rolls, freshly baked bread, apple pie or anything with vanilla or cinnamon.
Watch the bad smells, too. Pet smells, smoke and musty odors can cling to curtains and carpets. Ask your agent or a friend to give it a sniff test. Then clean the house, air it out and replace drapes, carpets or rugs before you show it.

Protect your investment: Some sellers (or their agents) will ask buyers to either remove shoes or slip on paper booties over their footwear before touring the house.

Use the season to your advantage: In the winter, with the leaves off the trees, you might also have a nice view that isn’t as apparent in the spring and summer months. It’s a great time to sell waterfront properties.

If you have any questions about real estate in the greater Ocean Shores area, contact Jeff Daniel at 360.581.9020. Thank you.