Winter Is a Great Time to Sell

If the pandemic has taught us anything it’s that there seems to be a "new normal" for just about everything—including in the real estate market. If you’re looking to sell your house, you no longer have to wait for the popular warmer months to list your home.

Although it’s more common to list during the spring and summer, there can be several benefits to listing during the off-season. For starters, home-buying trends are continuing to reflect the same pattern we’ve seen over the past two years with higher prices, low inventory, and fast turnaround times, according to CNBC Make It.

This means more people are looking for houses with fewer available listings—an ideal scenario if you want to sell your home. As we continue to see a seller’s market, Amy Stockberger Real Estate has put together a list of six reasons you might want to sell your home in the winter.

1. Demand Remains High

Although there tends to be a smaller pool of buyers in the winter, housing demand remains high, according to Danielle Hale, Realtor.com®’s chief economist. Therefore, you'll have a better chance of getting multiple offers and ultimately a faster sale, even in the winter.

Some people are also looking to take advantage of historically low interest rates before an expected increase later in 2022. CNBC notes that the Federal Reserve is expected to raise rates a few times this coming year. With that increase comes higher mortgage rates—potentially 3.6% by year-end. As such, listing your home now could be a smart move in order to appeal to motivated buyers.

Plus, tighter housing inventories and more people shopping for homes mean more competition from buyers, which is always a good thing when it comes to selling your house. You can expect offers to come in over your asking price as people scramble to get the house of their dreams, even if they have to bundle up and brave the elements to make it happen.

2. People Want to Stick to New Year’s Resolutions

Listing during the holiday season or just after New Year’s can be advantageous because everyone has New Year’s resolutions on their minds. People who have resolved to start off the year fresh with a new home will be looking to make good on that promise and shop during the winter.

Moreover, home staging may be easier after the holidays. Perhaps the season has encouraged you to clean up and pare down as you prepare to list your home and move.

There’s also less competition for services like lawn care and carpet cleaning, meaning you’re more likely to find New Year’s specials. You can therefore take advantage of wintertime savings to improve the appeal of your home—by clearing out dead vegetation and eliminating slick walkways, for example.

3. The Internet Makes Home Shopping Easy

During the cooler months, there are fewer people out and about, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t shopping for homes. The internet makes it easy to hop online and browse home listings even in inclement weather.

When listing your home during the winter, make sure you consider how your home looks online. In areas that get a lot of snow, it's not uncommon for people to be browsing for homes even when the ground is covered in white powder. Use your winter weather to your advantage and make sure you have pictures and videos of your neighborhood while it's blanketed in snow.

If you live in a warmer zone like California or Florida, you can use the nice weather to your advantage, too. Snap photos and videos of your home that show sunny days and outdoor activities even during the winter months. For people shopping online who live in a cold climate, the warm-weather imagery could be enough to book a road trip to see your home and make an offer.

Use a top-ranked realtor near you, and they can help you take plenty of pictures and videos of your home. They’ll be sure to capture every angle and in all different lighting and weather conditions.

Try browsing through a few homes for sale nearby to mimic their style and format when creating your listing. The more professional you make your listing look, the more likely people searching through real estate websites will take notice.

4. Time Is On Your Side in the Winter

With fewer people buying homes in the winter months, the process of getting from a contract to closing can be quicker in many cases. During the winter, you may see buyers who are eager to finalize a home purchase due to life changes such as a new job that requires relocation. As such, the length of time it takes to sell a home in the winter may be dramatically shorter than the same process in warmer months.

In addition, the higher demand and limited inventory related to the pandemic mean buyers are more eager to find a home before it vanishes from their reach forever. That's why homeowners in colder climates who list their properties in the winter tend to see their sales go through faster than those who list them in the spring or summer.

A word about that supply and demand issue: According to National Association of REALTORS® data, as of November 2021, the inventory of unsold homes fell by 12% in October compared to the previous year. Moreover, 82 percent of homes sold in October 2021 were on the market for less than a month.

Tight supply and demand, combined with a consumer base that is eager to finally make a purchase after several years of waiting, could mean this is the best time of year to sell your home. With interest rates remaining near historic lows for the time being, buyers are finding it easier than ever to get approved for mortgage loans. As long as you are realistic about pricing your home for sale, it's possible to quickly find a buyer during this time of year.

5. You Can Highlight Your Home’s Energy Efficiency

Telling the story of your home's energy efficiency can be a powerful marketing tool when selling in winter. When buyers are shopping for their next home, they'll wonder how much energy bills will cost and whether they'll need to invest in energy-saving upgrades.

To give your home listing a boost, you can highlight your home's energy efficiency before putting it on the market. This helps buyers see that they can save money on heating and reduces the risk of them being put off by the cold. Just knowing that a home is already as efficient as possible can help entice buyers to put in an offer, particularly if they know they won’t need to upgrade soon after moving in.

One effective way of marketing your property as being energy-efficient is by using a Home Energy Report (HER). The HER will include information on how energy-efficient your home is, which appliances use the most electricity, and what you can do to make your home greener.

Having this report will also help you see anything that might need to be fixed or upgraded before putting your home on the market, such as air leaks or energy-losing windows. Use a top-ranked realtor near you to find out which upgrades will add the most value to your home. You can also check out this Energy Savers report from the U.S. Department of Energy for more tips.

6. You’ll Have Your Real Estate Agent’s Undivided Attention

With fewer listings during the winter, your real estate agent is likely to work extra hard on your behalf. As discussed above, not many people want to go house hunting when it is 15 degrees below zero outside. Add blizzards, snowstorms, and icy roads to the equation, and you will see a migration of buyers indoors.

These factors, coupled with fewer listings during the winter, may cause your real estate agent to be more motivated to sell your home. Plus, with fewer buyers in the marketplace, it's easier for agents to negotiate on your behalf.

But how can you tell if you’re working with a top-ranked realtor? Here are some questions you should ask your real estate agent before listing your home:

  • Will my home be priced as aggressively as others in my community, or will it be given an additional premium due to its desirable location or features?
  • Will my home be marketed on a Multiple Listing Service (MLS), or will I only be marketed through an exclusive buyer's brokerage database?
  • What is the average time it takes for homes like mine to sell in my community?
  • How does my local market stack up against other markets in the region?
  • Is there an oversupply of homes for sale nearby or an undersupply?
  • How long are homes on the market before they sell, on average?

You Can Sell Your Home in Winter

If you're thinking of selling your house this winter, you might be surprised to learn that the market is actually less competitive than in the summertime. Fewer listings, high demand, and other factors detailed above mean that you'll have a better chance of finding a buyer if you're motivated to sell fast.

Of course, if you use a top-ranked realtor near you, you’ll have a much easier time selling your home and getting through the entire listing and closing process. Feel free to reach out to us with any questions as you consider listing your home in the winter.