You don’t need to be in real estate to know that Spring is the best season for real estate activity. With winter finally in the rear-view mirror many buyers who have been holding off come out of the woodwork and start looking for homes. However, you may not have known that winter is also prime for real estate transactions. The popular thinking is that the market shuts down after Thanksgiving and picks back up after New Year. The reality is that there are many buyers and sellers looking to get a transaction in before the calendar changes. If you have been thinking about listing your home, you shouldn’t wait for the temperature to change to get a jump on your competition. Here are five things you need to do if you plan on listing your home in the winter.
Ensure Clear Pathway. As an adult, there is a lot not to like about winter. You may love the scenery of snow and the feeling around the holidays but dealing with winter weather is not a lot of fun. This is magnified if you plan on listing your home. It is essential that you get on any precipitation almost as soon as it falls. In addition to safety concerns, you don’t want potential buyers feeling uncomfortable as they enter your home. All pathways must be cleared of snow and ice. Without even knowing it, this will be the first impression on the property and can shift a buyers thinking before they enter your home.
Focus on Presentation.Regardless of the season, you can bet potential buyers will scrutinize every inch of your home. This is magnified even more with a winter listing. There are more items to be looked at and examined during the winter. It is a good idea to get the furnace, oil tank and water heater serviced prior to listing. You should also clean the gutters, cover the HVAC unit and clean all areas of the chimney. These items may not directly improve the presentation, but it is what buyers will look at when they are at the property.
Lighting/Heat. There is a natural gloominess associated with winter. Everything gets dark earlier, people are constantly cold and there is less going out and about as much. With a winter listing it is essential to make the house feel like home. This starts with making sure the heat is clicked up an extra few degrees, even when you are not home. Sure, you will pay a few dollars more for the heat, but it will be worth it when you sell your home. You should also examine the lighting situation in the property. If the lighting is dull, your home won’t show as well as it possibly could. Something as minor as changing the light bulbs and upping the wattage can have a huge impact.
Price Right. The end of the year is not the time to shoot for the moon with your list price. As with any season, price is the most important criteria with any listing. With a fair market list price, you will generate interest, which in turn increases demand and will ultimately help get your property sold. On the flip side, if your list price is too high buyers will look elsewhere and it may be weeks before you can generate interest.
Winter is truly as good a time as any to list your home. If you have been on the fence whether to list or not, you are wise to list now and get a jump on the market.