I've spoken to a number of home sellers recently, who've told me they were waiting for Spring and warmer weather to list their house. To them I have to say, "That is so last year!" Or even 3-5 years ago.
For those of us in the frozen tundra of Upstate New York, winter was always considered the slow time for real estate. Not anymore. The internet has completely transformed the housing market. Buyers can sit with their tablets, snug at home in their pjs, watching Downton Abbey and scrolling through the latest listings in their area. They can bring up Youtube on their giant screen tv and watch virtual tours and fall in love with your house before they even walk through your front door.
The winter months have been some of our best selling for the past several years, and I expect it to be even stronger this year. The inventory of homes available was lower than normal for the whole year of 2015, but the buyers were plentiful. I asked a mortgage broker why he thought that was happening, and he said that in the years following the housing market crash in 2008, home owners did a lot of refinancing. Some took equity out of their homes at that time, and they would be underwater if they tried to sell it now. Others wanted to recover the closing costs they spent on the refi, so they were waiting a little longer to sell. Hopefully, enough years have now gone by to make it more feasible for those home owners to sell.
But the buyers - especially first time home buyers - are out there and are ready and waiting! In the 10 days since Christmas, I've received over 15 texts from new buyers - 8 of them just this weekend. I have other buyers I've been working with for months who are actually longing for more homes to come on the market, because they just couldn't find what they wanted with the lower inventory of last year.
Homes that are well maintained and that are priced within their market value are "flying off the shelf". Twice this past year, I put a For Sale sign out in front of a new listing for a seller who was moving out of state. Both times, they were heading right out to their new state - and before they got half way through their drive, I was calling to tell them an offer had been submitted on their home.
Buyer agents are checking the new listings every single day, hoping to find their buyer client's dream home. Anyone who waits, frequently regrets it. A significant number of my buyers had to put offers in on 3 or more houses in 2015, before they finally got one because of multiple offer situations. I've never had it happen to that degree before.
Every now and then I have a house that would be best represented if they wait until Spring. I had one home last year, with a gorgeous yard and glass enclosed 3 season room. It was a ranch that was almost completely covered up by all the snow on the ground. I did recommend that they wait until Spring, because I knew that it would show much better then. And it paid off - they had multiple offers within days of listing, as well.
But most homes don't need Spring to sell, and sell well. One of the two homes I mentioned above that sold within moments of putting out the sign, was in the midst of the snowiest winter we've had in decades.
So, PLEASE - don't wait for Spring to list your home. There are buyers who are pre-qualed and ready to buy your home. And if it's not listed yet, they're going to watch the virtual tours and fall in love with someone else's home, instead.
Photo "Home Hand-Off" by: pixbox77