Winter is here and you have finally decided to put your house on the market, but you heard somewhere that it’s better to wait until the spring. Is it really? Some conventional wisdom says that selling a home in the spring is a better bet. Flowers blooming, green grass and sunny skies make homes look their best, the thinking goes, and so this is the ideal time to list your house for sale. But is this actually true?
Nope! There are a lot of solid reasons why listing your house in the winter, rather than waiting for spring, can actually be really smart. Of course everyone’s situation is different, and an experienced real estate agent in your area can give you the best advice, but here are a few things to consider when deciding when to list your home for sale. (And if you don’t have a choice and have to list it in the winter, hopefully these facts will help set your mind at ease!)
1. Less Competition
It’s true that fewer people tend to list their homes during the winter months, but this means that your home has a better chance of standing out, as there will be fewer competing listings. Wouldn’t you rather be the only home for sale in your neighborhood, than have three of your neighbors also selling at the same time?
2. Motivated Buyers
It takes a little more motivation to bundle up and go look at houses when the weather gets cold. The holidays keep people busy, and many people are traveling or entertaining guests. Not to mention that packing and moving in the cold is not much fun. But these small hurdles to house-shopping just mean that you will likely avoid wasting time with buyers who aren’t serious and ready to make an offer. The curious neighbors or “we’d like to buy a house in the next year…or two” buyers are not as likely to be making the rounds. Motivated buyers are more likely to be pre-approved for a mortgage and to know what they want, and so you are more likely to have showings turn into serious offers.
One of the reasons you will find more motivated buyers during the winter is that January is when many companies do corporate relocations. Someone who is being moved because of a job is not going to have the luxury to leisurely shop for houses for three months. Similarly, because many families with kids prefer to move over summer break, those who are moving in the middle of the year are more likely doing so because they are on a timeline.
3. Loans may be processed quicker
Because the housing inventory is generally smaller during the winter, lenders are less busy. This means that when your buyers are ready to go under contract, they can get their financing ready to go that much faster, and everyone can make it to closing quicker.
4. Homes listed in winter sell faster and for more money
Redfin looked at home sale data from 2011-2013 and found some surprising things. Contrary to popular belief, homes listed for sale in the winter sold faster (by an average of one week), were 9% more likely to sell within six months, and sold for 1.1% more money relative to list price. The benefits of selling in the winter were true both for markets with very cold climates (Chicago and Boston) as well as markets like Durham, NC, with warmer climates.
There are obviously many unique factors that go into the decision of when to list your home for sale, but if you are considering listing in the winter, or circumstances have forced you to list in the winter regardless, you should keep these things in mind as you weigh the pros and cons of listing now versus waiting until the spring.
For more info on deciding when to list your home for sale, check out these great articles:
- Should You Wait for Spring to Sell? 12 Real Estate Pros Weigh In, from Raleigh Realty
- How to Sell a Home in the Winter, from Bill Gassett
- Spring May Not Be the Best Time to Put the House on the Market, from The Washington Post
- Insiders Guide to Winter Curb Appeal, from Inlanta Mortgage
About the author: My name is Matt Minor and I’m a real estate agent with Hunter Rowe Real Estate in the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina. I’d love to help you buy or sell a home in the Triangle. Give me a call at 919-450-5999, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re thinking about buying or selling a home in Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Cary, Apex, Carrboro, Clayton, Fuquay-Varina, Garner, Holly Springs, Knightdale, Mebane, Morrisville, Sanford, Smithfield or Wake Forest.