Buying or selling a home during the colder winter months can be a difficult task. With a smaller volume of both buyers and sellers in the market, winter can seem like a daunting time to list or search for homes. However, there can be advantages, for both buyers and sellers, to selling a home in the winter months. Learning a few tips and tricks for buying or selling your home during winter can help ensure a positive outcome.
Buyers And Sellers: Be Patient
There is no doubt that there is commonly a lower volume of both homes for sale and eager buyers during the winter. Unlike the summer months, buyers are unlikely to place multiple bids on a property, offering both buyer and seller more time to reflect on a deal. For buyers, more time to consider a purchase may lead to a better decision, usually at a better price. But this less frenetic pace has advantages for sellers, too. Less impulsive decisions usually mean that buyers are more likely to see a deal through to completion, meaning fewer deals falling out of escrow over repair requests or the failure of another home sale contingency.
Buyers who are looking at homes in the coldest winter months tend to be the most serious. There are far fewer tire kickers or “Looky Lous” trudging through the snow and ice to look at homes, as compared to casual summer home shoppers enjoying a beautiful Sunday and popping into listing with unsure plans. This means home sellers will have less inconvenience in preparing and vacating their homes for showings, and will be able to get their home in top showing condition for only the most serious of buyers.
However, this slower market does call for more patience, on the part of both buyers and sellers. Buyers may not find their dream home on their first trip out in the cold, and sellers may need to give more buyers the opportunity to evaluate their home before a deal can close.
Sellers: Invest In Staging Your Home
As a seller, it’s particularly important to make your listing stand out from the crowd in the colder months of the year. A lower volume of buyers makes it all the more important to make sure each impression counts. Staging your home may seem like an unnecessary expense, especially when added to the costs of moving and buying your next home, but according to data compiled by HomeAdvisor, staged homes spend an average of 33 to 50% less time on the market, and sell for up to 20% higher, than non-staged homes.
Particularly in the winter, it’s important to highlight your home’s warmth and coziness as you prepare to welcome prospective buyers. Ensuring that walks are shoveled, gutters are cleared, and your home looks attractive inside and out can make you stand out from the crowd and ensure your home. Maximizing light by opening window treatments and adding lamps will ensure that your home is as bright and welcoming in the winter as it would be in the busier summer months.
Buyers: Do Your Homework
Particularly if you’re moving to an area with which you’re unfamiliar, it’s always important to do your homework before heading out to house hunt, but particularly so in the winter months. Neighborhoods are less active during the colder season, and it can be difficult to gauge a neighborhood’s character from a drive through on a snowy day. Reading up on school districts, local businesses and recreational opportunities, and other important characteristics can help you to understand what your neighborhood might be like as the weather warms up.
Sellers: Be Prepared For Winter Showings
Showing a home in the winter comes with a set of unique challenges. Winter gear can pile up, making entryways seem cluttered and uninviting, and wet slush can obscure beautiful floors and cause cleanup headaches. Ensuring that your own cold-weather gear doesn’t pile up and cause clutter, having storage available for prospective buyers’ winter coats and scarves, and making shoe coverings available for guests can help to show potential buyers that your home functions well even in the winter months. With a lower volume of buyers to attend to, it’s important to make sure that each one sees your home looking its best, and planning ahead can make sure that your home always shows its advantages.
Buyers: Don’t Be Afraid To Negotiate
Especially coming off of a hectic summer for home sales, prospective buyers may feel that they can’t ask for concessions or contingencies in sale contracts. However, the relatively lower volume of buyers on the market means this is the perfect time to attempt negotiations. Sellers who have had a home on the market for a while may be more inclined to entertain the possibility of contingencies, negotiations on closing costs, or even price reductions. For winter buyers, it never hurts to ask, especially if a particular concession would be the difference between making an offer and simply passing on a property.
This rule of thumb holds doubly true for new construction — developers who have missed sales targets may be more willing to deal during the off-season.
Buyers And Sellers: Take Advantage Of The Slower Market To Get Things Moving
One decided advantage to buying or selling a home in the winter months is that all of the professionals you’ll need to help you get a deal closed — real estate agents and brokers, attorneys, title professionals, home inspectors, and contractors, among others — generally see a seasonal slowdown during this time of year. As a result, both parties will see easier scheduling, quicker response times, and an easier landscape for the time between entering escrow and closing the deal.
Landtrust Title: Your Partner for Results
When your real estate agent works with Landtrust Title, you get a partner for results. We do things differently than other title companies — whether it’s personalized support, convenient closing times that meet your schedule, or quick and easy payment methods ensuring everyone gets paid right away, our attention to detail will help ensure a smooth transaction. We’re obsessed with making your experience so seamless, you don’t even have to think about it. If you have questions about what to expect when your real estate deal closes, Landtrust Title Services can help. Please contact us today at [email protected] or by phone at 312.528.9210.