1. Less Competition
It’s true that fewer people tend to list their homes during the winter months, but this means that your home has a better chance of standing out, as there will be fewer competing listings. Wouldn’t you rather be the only home for sale in your neighborhood, than have three of your neighbors also selling at the same time?
2. Motivated Buyers
It takes a little more motivation to bundle up and go look at houses when the weather gets cold. The holidays keep people busy, and many people are traveling or entertaining guests. Not to mention that packing and moving in the cold is not much fun. But these small hurdles to house-shopping just mean that you will likely avoid wasting time with buyers who aren’t serious and ready to make an offer. The curious neighbors or “we’d like to buy a house in the next year…or two” buyers are not as likely to be making the rounds. Motivated buyers are more likely to be pre-approved for a mortgage and to know what they want, and so you are more likely to have showings turn into serious offers.
One of the reasons you will find more motivated buyers during the winter is that January is when many companies do corporate relocations. Someone who is being moved because of a job is not going to have the luxury to leisurely shop for houses for three months. Similarly, because many families with kids prefer to move over summer break, those who are moving in the middle of the year are more likely doing so because they are on a timeline.
3. Loans may be processed quicker
Because the housing inventory is generally smaller during the winter, lenders are less busy. This means that when your buyers are ready to go under contract, they can get their financing ready to go that much faster, and everyone can make it to closing quicker.
4. Homes listed in winter sell faster and for more money
We looked at home sale data from 2011-2013 and found some surprising things. Contrary to popular belief, homes listed for sale in the winter sold faster (by an average of one week), were 9% more likely to sell within six months, and sold for 1.1% more money relative to list price. The benefits of selling in the winter were true both for markets with very cold climates (Chicago and Boston) as well as markets like Durham, NC, with warmer climates.
There are obviously many unique factors that go into the decision of when to list your home for sale, but if you are considering listing in the winter, or circumstances have forced you to list in the winter regardless, you should keep these things in mind as you weigh the pros and cons of listing now versus waiting until the spring.
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