Do a quick search online about selling property after the summer, and you’ll probably find some conflicting viewpoints. Whether or not you can sell a house in the winter is a topic that’s constantly up for debate, but it’s worth pointing out that buyers are looking for homes every season.
For sellers, it’s important to keep in mind that buyers in the market during the winter and holiday months are serious. These buyers want to make a decision, and I encourage my sellers to bend over backward to make the decision an easy one if and when buyers see their homes. Marketing during the winter is challenging, but not impossible.
Always keep a positive outlook and an open mind to ideas your agent provides.
8 Secrets To Selling Your Home, Stress-Free—Even During The Wintertime!
1. Identify your biggest reasons for selling
Were you recently offered a new job opportunity?
Are you an empty-nester looking to downsize your home?
Do you need more living space for your growing family?
Every seller has some specific reason for putting his or her home on the market. Depending on your unique situation, you may or may not be under pressure to sell your home as quickly as possible.
If you have a tight deadline to sell and relocate, then your first priority will be to make the home look its best for showings. Additionally, you’ll want to get a head start on fielding Realtors to find a professional who’s familiar with your neighborhood.
On the other hand, if you’re not in a hurry to find a new home, find out how home prices in your neighborhood have been affected each season over the last several years. Do homes comparable to yours tend to sell for more money in the winter or spring? If you’re not in a rush to sell right now and market data suggests you can list at a higher price in the spring, then you may want to wait a few months to move.
2. Don’t forget about curb appeal
As the weather gets colder, it can be tempting to develop a laissez-faire attitude towards outside maintenance and yard cleanup. Doing so, however, can dramatically decrease your chances of attracting buyers willing to pay your full asking price.
Cub appeal is what gets buyers’ attention when you list your home for sale. Though it may not seem significant, a front yard full of leaves, weeds, and debris can actually be enough of an eyesore to make a buyer think twice before inquiring about the property.
3. Plan ahead and take high-quality photos
While a fresh blanket of snow may look picturesque, buyers need to know what the property looks like the rest of the year. It’s never a bad idea to hire a professional photographer to take both exterior and interior shots before you put your house on the market. Remember, most buyers will see your home for the first time in online listings. If you don’t own a high-quality camera, you’ll risk turning away buyers before they even get through the door.
Investing in professional photos is the perfect way to ensure your listing makes a solid first impression.
4. Winterize the entire property
Chances are, no homeowner thinks of winterization as a particularly fun task. But the fact remains that keeping up with routine maintenance shows buyers your home has been properly cared for—something they’ll absolutely notice during showings.
Make a winterization checklist for yourself to keep track of which chores have already been completed and which ones still need to be addressed.
5. Put away over-the-top décor
There’s no harm in having a wreath on the front door or some decorative hand towels in the kitchen. In fact, most Realtors, including myself, recommend staging. Just be thoughtful of decorations that may be too bold or too personalized to be appreciated by buyers.
As a rule of thumb, excessive knick-knacks, furniture, and anything else that buyers may view as clutter should be removed from the home before your Realtor begins scheduling showings. On a related note, if you haven’t yet started moving out of the home, be sure to pack up valuable items and family heirlooms as soon as possible for safekeeping.
6. Keep the heat set to a comfortable temperature
Even if you’ve already moved out of the home, keep the heat running until the you close on a deal. Not only will this prevent pipes from freezing and bursting; having the heat on helps buyers visualize themselves living in the house, thereby increasing your chances of receiving a favorable offer.
7. Let in some fresh air
Periodically opening a few windows around the house in between showings can help improve indoor air quality and eliminate odors. Believe it or not, damp, musty air is actually one of the most common reasons buyers will decide against putting in an offer.
8. Create a marketing strategy that appeals to your ideal buyer
Perhaps one of the greatest advantages your Realtor can provide you with is an understanding of the buyers actively looking at your neighborhood. Depending on where your home is located and how long you’ve owned the property, today’s buyers may have different priorities or preferences than you did when you moved in.
Work with your Realtor to figure out what types of buyers are interested in your neighborhood, what they look for in a home, and how you can create an online listing that appeals to those needs. For example, young families may be excited by large backyards, whereas investors looking to rent out the home may care more about a property’s proximity to shopping and entertainment.
An experienced Realtor can help you pin-point all of your ideal buyer’s needs, making your property sale an easy transaction.
Get Help Selling Your Home This Winter
If you need assistance selling your Houston home, please contact me today to get started! I frequently work with homeowners in the Tanglewood, Memorial, Uptown, and Galleria neighborhoods, and have been a part of the community for nearly 30 years.