This time of year I always start to get the same question. Should I sell my house now or just wait until the spring when everyone else sells their houses? This seems like an obvious answer until you see a few key points.
1. It is too cold, no one wants to look at houses in the snow? In Knoxville, Tennessee, where I am from, we really do not get a lot of snow. As a matter of fact, we are lucky if we see any snow at all. Therefore this common hesitation doesn't apply to this area.
2. No one is looking for houses in the winter time. This is plainly not true. There may be less people looking to buy. However, the ones who are looking are more serious. There may be less property visits during the cold months but the ones who are willing to drag their realtor out in the winter must be pretty serious. Wouldn't you rather have less traffic if they are more serious buyers?
Another point is that with less inventory during this time of year means less competition. During the spring there are going to be a lot more homes to compete against. I would rather be a big fish in a smaller pond, than a small fish in a big pond full of other fish.
3. I can't decorate my house for Christmas. I disagree. I say, don't just put out your Christmas decorations, go all out. Make your home the best decorated house on the block. A house can look truly beautiful, warm, and inviting during the holidays. One very strong buyer desire is to be in the new home by Christmas. Last year I had four sales in December specifically for this reason. One of them actually closed on Christmas Eve to make good on my promise to get them in by Christmas.
Another idea would be to put some lights around the realtor's "for sale" sign too. Please make sure that your realtor replaces the holiday pictures in their marketing after the holidays. It looks nice while it is in season, but after that it just looks dated. More on that on point #5.
4. I like to invite friends over for holiday parties. I can't do that if my house is for sale. Are you kidding? This is the perfect opportunity to show off your home to a large group of people. Don't just invite a few people over, host the Christmas party. Your friends might not be in the market to buy a home, but you don't know who they know who might be in the market. It is estimated that most people know at least 150 people very well at any given time.
5. If we don't sell the house over the winter, it will appear stale in the spring. This might be true but there are tricks you can do to lessen the impact. The most effective change you can make is to adjust the price. If the house was listed all winter and it didn't sell, the chances are the price is too high. Have a price adjustment, even if it is just a small one. Also, update the pictures. Most likely the original pictures were taken with leafless trees and plants without flowers. Your house will look drastically different with some fresh blossoms and updated landscaping. Be sure to take the picture of the house from a different angle as well. Someone who saw your house a thousand times on the internet will be forced to pause and look at the house again in a fresh light.
6. That tax credit expired, it won't help me sell my house. Actually, congress decided to extend the tax credit through April. Not only did they extend it, but they opened it up to more people. If you wait until the spring you will miss this large group of buyers.
7. I'm still not convinced. I really need to sell but think we should wait until the spring. My final point is best illustrated with a story. In my past life I worked at a computer retail store. One day our general manager made a surprise visit to our store. He looked around our sales floor and then looked in our stock room. He proceeded to bring out boxes and boxes of inventory that we had in our stockroom that was not on the sales floor. "You can't sell, what your customers can't see!" If someone is not actively trying to sell your home, no one will know it is for sale, and no one will buy it.
These are just a few points to ponder as we head unto the winter months.