Tips for Selling Your House in Winter

In a perfect world, we would all list our homes in the Spring. Unfortunately, that's not always an option. If you do have to sell during an off-peak time of the year, knowing your local real estate market is key to getting the best price for your home. Here's some ways you can shorten the listing period and get close to the same price you would get in peak season.

The real estate market is on an upswing, and real estate transactions are increasing during every month of the year. In the last year, the median listing price of American homes increased 7%. And, the average listing period for this past year is 2 days less than it was the year before.

So even though it's January, the trends are hopeful. Plus, there are ways you can take advantage of the Winter season and get the best price for you home.

The Cold and Snow Can Work in Your Favor.

If you live in an area where Summers are scorching hot, milder weather may be more conducive to home buyers. More people will be willing to leave their air conditioners to house hunt. Don't despair if you live in the north of the country - with fewer homes on the market, yours is more likely to stand out to prospective buyers. It's also a critical time for home buyers to assess the accessibility of your property during the winter months. If you're home is listed, clear away snow from drives and walkways as soon as you can. Make it easy for buyers to access your property.

Price Your Home Right

Even with the upswing in the market, determining the right price for your home is critical. If you price your home too far under market value, buyers might wanter if the price reflects some defect in the property. The trick is to settle on a price that is just a little below that of comparable homes. That way, you might attract competitive bids which may even drive the price up to what you were hoping for in the first place.

Know Your Buyer

Many house hunters who are looking for properties during the off-season are doing so because they are under a time crunch: they may be relocating for work, or dealing with a break-up. These potential buyers will be more inclined to negotiate price, given their urgent needs. Seniors often show for homes year round, since they are no longer tethered to work or school schedules. Seniors may be in search of a home in a smaller town, or in a region with a milder climate. Make your home inviting to these demographics.

Know Your Local Market

Peak-season for real estate can vary dramatically in different parts of the country. Learn as much as you can about your local market, especially if you are listing your house during the off-season. Consider getting a comparative market analysis to ensure that your listing price fits your area's market trends and is attractive to buyers. If the analysis determines that you are in a buyer's market, understand that your property may be on the market a little longer than if it were a seller's market.

Exterior & Interior Staging

Fight the winter gloom by making your home cheery and bright. As mentioned before, keep your walkways and driveways clean and clear of snow. Consider adding exterior lighting to brighten up the yard, and keep it lit during the day when it's cloudy and dark. Inside, employ some aromatherapy and fill the house the the scents of cookies, vanilla and cinnamon. Make sure any remaining holiday decor is stored out of sight. Make sure that the interior feels cozy. Make the investment of turning up the thermostat 5° during showings. That will make any drafts and leaks less noticeable. Though it can be a challenge to sell a home during winter, many shortcomings can be minimized with the help of the right professionals. Work with a seller's agent who knows your market intimately. Consider hiring a staging professional who can fine-tune your home in ways that attract buyers. If you follow these suggestions, you can get the best possible price for your home - even in winter!

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