Ever since I became a Realtor people tell me they are thinking about moving. Aren’t we all always “kinda” thinking about it? Dreaming about a little more space? A spa bathtub? A man cave? A gourmet kitchen that gleams? A pool? A better neighborhood?
Some of us will always be dreaming, and others of us will cruise the web until one day when we stumble across THE HOUSE that makes us stop dreaming and start contemplating. That’s when I get the phone call (or text). “Hey….do you know anything about that house for sale in X neighborhood?” OR “Zillow says my house is worth a X dollars….is it true?”
First things first, Zillow and Trulia are not always accurate. Online sites will tell you the value of your home, but they don’t factor in all the details that go into the pricing of your home (the updates and improvements you’ve made, the popularity of the neighborhood, condition of your house, etc). So if you’re serious, you need to call a professional in the biz so we can talk about how much your home is really worth. I can run a CMA (comparative market analysis) for free. Just ask.
Also, the homes you see on the web have sometimes been under contract or sold for months, which is a real downer when you’ve already fallen in love. I can set up your “wish list” in the MLS with your own private portal. It will automatically send you listings in your dream neighborhoods and price range, saving you a lot of time and energy sifting through online sites.
Second, most people need to sell their homes before they can buy a new one, unless they’re independently wealthy or have a trust fund. Earlier this month I took a client to see an amazing home with a gorgeous salt water pool, pergola, outdoor kitchen and firepit. It was a really cool house. She turned to me and said, “I really want to make an offer, but I need to sell my house first.” She lamented that listing in the late fall would result in months on the market. We talked about the pros and cons and decided to list it. Two days later she had a contract on her home and she will be in her pool house by the end of 2014. There are benefits to selling in the “off season.”
Listing your home in the fall or winter is not the kiss of death; actually, there are some benefits. Here is what nobody tells you about selling your house in the winter:
1. SNOW. It snows A LOT in the winter and people have more time to cruise the web for listings (and they’re calling for another Polar Vortex in 2015).
2. Supply and demand. There are fewer homes on the market in the winter, and yet buyers are still looking. People move here from out of state and need housing. With less inventory, your chances for a bid increase.
3. January is the biggest month for company transfers. These folks fly in for a weekend to find housing. They’re on a deadline and NEED a family home. See #2 (supply and demand).
4. With less competition in the market, the better your position to negotiate. If you’re the only house in the neighborhood for sale, why should you accept less than asking price?
5. You’re going to get SERIOUS shoppers. Unlike the springtime window shoppers, people trudging out in cold temperatures to look at your home are serious…or just deranged.
The bottom line is this: if you sell your home in the winter, you'll be poised to make a perfect offer come spring. Rainers, if you have clients tranferring to Richmond, VA, please refer them over so we can find them the perfect home to fit their needs. Thanks for reading!