Selling in Winter

Familiarizing yourself with the cycles of real estate and how to market your home for a wintertime sale can be the difference between cash in your pocket and paying another month of mortgage interest. There are numerous factors that make selling in the winter possible. Two include the shift of inventory and the source of buyers.
The shift in inventory is a good reason to sell when you are a serious home seller. During Christmas and New Year’s, many unmotivated home sellers take their homes off the market. This leaves less for your home to compete with. Also, many of the lookie-lou buyers have packed up for the winter. As a home seller, you have fewer feet tracking up your carpet for decorating ideas and your time spent preparing for a showing is for a serious buyer.
Marketing real estate during the winter requires more focus. Rather than viewing all real estate buyers as the same, they should be broken into categories and needs. Commercial or residential, upsizing or downsizing, primary home or vacation home, long-term or short-term, and the list goes on. Each category means different needs and timing demands for the buyer. As a seller of real estate, you can use this information to target your ideal buyer and produce a sale while other property owners are wasting precious weeks hoping someone will call on their expensive newspaper ad.
Some sources of oft overlooked buyers include:
  • Relocations: Buyers who are relocating for job purposes are not shopping for begonias and springtime frew-frew. They’re looking for a home for their family. That means the right location for schools, the best floorplan and other personally important factors. They will buy a house on Christmas Day if that is what it takes to get their family settled.
  • Investors: Many part-time investors take the Christmas holiday time off to look for good deals. It is a break from their monotony of work to focus on personal investing for their own future. Not only do many investors have more time to focus on their personal goals, they realize that many of the best deals are found in the winter when home sellers are afraid no one else is looking to buy a home.
  • Cyclical Employees: These are people who get more time during Christmas and winter breaks than at other times of the year. Perhaps they travel or have springtime jobs which require long days of work such as landscaping. These home shoppers have a primary goal to finish their purchase before the next business cycle hits them and takes away all their free time. They want to get it done now.
  • Tax-Time Buyers: A huge motivator is often greed. And there’s nothing wrong with that! Making an end-of-year real estate purchase (and sale) is good for many people who need to offset a tax liability. These are often commercial buyers. This buyer (or seller) doesn’t care about the weather outside.
The Bottom Line – To sell in the winter; make a plan, focus on your buyer and watch the inventory cycle. Smart home sellers are educated on the simple facts which affect the sale. A little attention to the special needs of a winter selling strategy will get you to the closing table in record time.