Should I Sell My House in the Winter or Wait for Spring?

Everyone knows you should wait until Spring to sell your house, right? That’s when the buyers are out, right? Well, MAYBE…

The current market is a tricky one, and depending on your circumstances you might want to list your house for sale NOW! But there are several factors to consider, and you must tread carefully if you decide to list your home for sale during the holiday season. Here are some tips and things to think about if you decide to list your home for sale now.

There’s No Place Like Home for the Holidays – But Which Holiday? Ideally we want a home to be completely neutral when it goes on the market, with no sign of the sellers or who they are–few photos, no college degrees, no religious or political items that (trust me!) only serve to distract a buyer from the main event, which is your home. We need buyers to imagine themselves there, and believe me buyers have a short attention span. We only have a few minutes to make an impression, and we don’t want that impression to be “Ugh, I can’t believe this guy has a photo with politician X…I can’t live here!” So how do we neutralize during the holiday season? Well, we probably don’t. But we try to keep it as secular as we can, and of course everything should be in good taste. No Griswold family decorating, please.

Don’t be Stale By Spring – If you’re going to try to sell, go all out. You must price aggressively and get it sold before Spring. You don’t want the days on market to be over 90 by the time the majority of buyers start peeking out from behind the winter curtain to explore the real estate market. The first thought will be “Why is This Still on the Market?” Sellers always ask me how long they must wait until the Days on Market field resets; you must be off the market for 90 days to ‘start fresh.’ There ARE buyers out there — take a look at the graph “Listings vs Sales” on my website, and look specifically at November through January…though the ‘sales’ drops a bit, the inventory drops by more in most months. That means the buyers are still out, but there’s less to choose from, and you may be at an advantage. All bets are off if you’re trying to sell a home where the buyers are likely to have school aged children though…you’re likely better off waiting until spring, as few buyers will move children during the school year if they can help it. It can happen, of course, but it’s less likely. Think about who your target market is before deciding when to list.

Lighten Up
– It’s getting dark earlier and earlier…and remember many buyers are coming to see your home after work. Make sure you have adequate lighting in the house, and though it’s not eco-friendly, leave at least some lights on even when you’re not home, and especially leave the porch light on…you want your home to look warm and inviting on those cold winter nights, not to mention that you don’t want the agent fumbling with the lock while the buyer is standing outside freezing. And while we’re on the subject, make sure your walkway and steps are *always* shoveled and salted in inclement weather.

If you need help thinking through whether to sell your home, and would like advice on how to best prepare your home for sale in the Winter OR Spring, contact us for a no obligation consultation.

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