A common thought in real estate is never list your home in the
winter offseason. Perpetuated by industry experts, agents and repeat sellers
alike, this saying encourages many would-be sellers to wait until the spring
peak to list their homes. However, studies show that homes listed in the winter
offseason not only sell faster than those in the spring, but sellers also net
more above their asking price at this time. 1 Don’t wait until spring
to sell. If you’ve been thinking of selling your home, here are five compelling
reasons to list now.
1. Take advantage of low inventory. Since
most sellers are waiting until spring to list, local inventory falls during the
offseason. However, there are still motivated buyers who are ready to move now
and don’t want to wait that long to purchase a home. According to the National
Association of Realtors, 55 percent of all buyers purchased their home at the
time they did because “it was just the right time.” 2 These eager
buyers may flock to your home. You may not need to try as hard to make your
home stand out in the sea of other similar homes. With less competition, more
buyers, some of whom may have otherwise overlooked your home if you listed
during the peak, will express an interest to buy. While you’ll likely have
fewer showings in the offseason, buyers who do visit will be more serious about
writing an offer. Your home will likely sell faster than it would have during
the peak season.
2. Set a higher listing price. Homes sold
during the offseason sell at a higher price, on average, than those sold during
the spring and summer peak. There are many reasons for this. First, motivated
buyers are willing to pay closer to the asking price for a home. Second, homes
are more likely to be priced right and reflect the economics of not only the
local market, but the neighborhood as well. Often, homes listed during the peak
may be priced to compete with other homes in the area and neighborhood. Sellers
may be pressured to sell for less than the list price in order to encourage
buyers to choose their home out of the others on the market.
3. You’ll receive more attention. While
our team always strives to give you the personal attention you deserve, when
you list during the offseason, we’re able to work more closely with you to
ensure your home is prepared for its debut on the market. We can also take more
time to answer your questions, address your concerns, and prepare you and your
home for the sale.
Additionally, if you’d like to hire a tradesperson to handle
routine maintenance or undertake a minor home renovation before you list, you
may be able to take advantage of flexible scheduling and cheaper rates. Many of
these professionals experience a winter offseason as well, and will be able to
focus their time and attention on you and your project.
4. Easier to maintain curb appeal. Curb
appeal is intended to attract the buyers who are just driving by as well as
those who saw your home online and wanted to see it in-person. It sets the
stage for what interested buyers can expect when they step foot in the home
during a showing or open house. If you list your home during the peak of the
selling season, you may exhaust your time your energy maintaining curb appeal.
You’ll likely spend most of your free time mowing the lawn, weeding, trimming
shrubs and hedges, planting flowers in pots and in flowerbeds, pulling spent
blooms and watering it all to ensure it looks lush and healthy on a daily
basis. After all, a lush landscape will attract potential buyers and set your
home apart from other similar homes in the area.
The offseason eliminates the pressure to maintain a
picture-perfect front landscape. Since most grass, shrubs and plants go dormant
at this time of year, you’ll have less to maintain. If you live in an area that
experiences a traditional winter, your landscape will be covered with snow.
Even if you live in a milder climate, you may not have to mow as often, if at
all. It’s still important to ensure your exterior appears well-tended, somake sure
your walkway and front porch remains free of snow, ice and debris.
5. Tap into the life changes of buyers. Many
buyers receive employee raises and bonuses at the end of the year. If they’ve
been saving to buy a home, this extra money may allow them to reach their goal
for a down payment and put them on the path to becoming a homeowner.
Additionally, companies often hire new employees and relocate current ones
during the first quarter of the year, creating a strong demand for housing. If
you live in an area that’s home to a large company or has a strong corporate
presence, this may be the perfect time to list.
Thinking of Listing in
the Offseason? 3 Things to Do Before You List
Get your home ready to list by following these tips.
1. Schedule maintenance. Buyers,
especially first-time buyers, want a home they can move into right away; they
don’t want to repair the roof or the furnace or replace windows with blown
thermal seals before they move in. Do the scheduled maintenance and make
repairs before you list your home for sale.
In some cases, it may help to have an inspector do a
pre-inspection of your home. A pre-inspection will make you aware of any major,
potentially deal-killing, issues that will have to be addressed before you
list. It also gives you an idea of minor issues that a potential seller may
want repaired. Overall, it helps you to accurately price your home and may protect
you from claims a buyer might make later. 3
2. Create light. Balance out the lack of
natural light outdoors by turning the lights on inside. Since people naturally
tend to buy emotionally, turning on the lights helps create a sense of warmth
and coziness. Light a fire in the fireplace, if you have one, fill your home
with the scents of the season, such as vanilla or fresh baked cookies, and put
a throw blanket on your sofa.
If you plan to paint the interior of your home before you list,
consider an off-white shade to create consistency throughout your home and make
the space feel larger and brighter. If you have photos of your garden or the
home’s exterior in the spring or summer, display them so interested buyers can
get a glimpse of what the home looks like in other seasons..
3. Give your home a thorough cleaning. Cleaning
puts your home in its best light. Clean and polish all the horizontal surfaces
of your home, including countertops, window sills and baseboards; have the
curtains dry cleaned or otherwise laundered; wash windows, glass doors and
their tracks; vacuum carpeting and polish all wood surfaces, including the
Additionally, this is a great time to pack any personal items
and family photos as well as sort through your belongings and donate items you
no longer use. This not only eliminates any clutter, but it also gives you less
to pack and move when you sell.
If you’re thinking of
selling, give us a call! We’d love to help you position your home to sell in
1. Time, October 30, 2015
2. National Association of REALTORS, 2016
Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers