On Real Estate & More – December 2017/January 2018

The general school of thought for real estate—and it often proves to be correct—is that listing your home in the spring market will bring the biggest benefit. People are more likely to look for homes when the weather is nice. Weather-wise, it is a nicer time of year, and sellers know their yards look better. Yet there are some very logical and compelling reasons for purchasing or selling a house and moving in the winter, as well.

As you know, moving and selling real estate often go hand in hand, and though we’d like to control when we move and when we buy a house, other circumstances can happen that require us to sell, buy and move at anytime of year. But having to buy or sell a house in the winter is not the worst thing that can happen. In fact, here are some advantages that show how you could benefit from house hunting or listing your house in the winter.

Because many people think they shouldn’t list their property during the winter, there are typically fewer homes to buy at the start of a new year. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t still potential buyers; the housing market doesn’t hibernate in the winter. Sellers who list and buyers who buy often find the winter season the most advantageous time, and real estate professionals should be ready for a season that often brings in more focused and active sellers and buyers. The smaller inventory of active listings helps sellers get more attention from buyers about their properties. Homes that are priced right and show well can sell any time of the year.

For the investor looking to find a good deal in the housing market, the winter can be a good time. Sellers may often be more flexible about negotiations over prices and terms than they would in the spring. People get more realistic at this time of year, particularly if their homes haven’t sold during the summer and fall.

But instead of being determined to list your home at a specific time it might be a better strategy to watch the market. It is not always going to pay off to list your home in the winter but if you see that there is very little competition in your region in the winter then it may be worth listing your home to test the market.

Here are a few tips if you are thinking of listing your home:

As a general rule, I like the strategy of listing a home in February if you’re trying to hit the spring market. It gets the house on the market before the competition ramps up and it gives you more time to take advantage of the increased activity period.

If you want to go after that spring market, make sure your home shows well. Relatively inexpensive remodel items such as new paint and carpet make such a difference. Most important, go through your home and take care of all the little maintenance issues you’ve neglected over the years and declutter.

The biggest rule with selling real estate is there are no rules. National and even regional real estate statistics are meaningless. What really matters is your area and the competition that is happening at that specific time. Do a little extra research, remain open minded and flexible and the real estate market might reward you.