Are you thinking about selling your home but not sure winter is the best time to list it?
Seasons affect your listing time, even in the hot market that we’re in right now.
February is the slowest month of the year, taking about 60 days on average to sell a home, according to Laura Adams, senior real estate analyst at Aceable, an online educational platform and resource for agents.
"If you are listing in February, that’s something to be aware of," Adams said. "You may just need to give it a little more time, even if the home is priced well and looking great."
Simply being in winter will make it a bit more difficult for buyers to come and see your home, especially if you’re in areas of the country that have some severe winter weather events going on.
Curb appeal is still important
Adams said it is good to recognize that even if there’s snow on the ground, you do need to make sure that you’ve got a good curb appeal by letting buyers see the best of your home.
"Making sure you’re shoveling not just your driveway for your car, but also the area where a buyer would walk up to your front porch and see your beautiful front door," Adams said.
Also, having updated photos on your listing can help buyers know that it’s fresh and hasn’t become stale on the market.
Competition can be lower in winter
While spring is traditionally the busiest time for real estate, the good news is that if you are listing in the winter, you may not have as much competition.
"There may be fewer homes on the market, depending on your area or neighborhood," Adams said. "Having fewer homes on the market means that you may be able to charge a higher price," Adams said.
Watch for storm damage
Aside from it potentially taking longer to sell your home in the winter, another disadvantage could result from severe weather causing damage to your home, like heavy ice on limbs forcing them to fall on your roof.
"Now you’re going to be in a situation where you’re going to need to get a repair made. And that could take a while," Adams said.
And with the current supply chain issues due to the pandemic and construction, many supplies are behind.
"So that means that it may take you a little longer to get a repair made and get the home looking good or listing," Adams said.
And if winter weather issues are going on, you may need to make an insurance claim that could add a little extra time to the process, meaning your home may not be in tip-top shape for a potential buyer.
"And in that case, you may even want to consider taking the home off the market temporarily to get everything repaired, get the home looking great and then putting a fresh listing back on the market," Adams said.
Slippery roads can make showings tricky
Winter weather also affects open houses, where many buyers just don’t want to get out when roads are icy and snowy.
"It could mean that you just don’t have as much participation, which is a downside to having a listing on the market during the winter," Adams said.
However, you can prepare for not having great showings on your open house by having good video and ensuring that you’ve got plenty of great images of your home.
"There’s a lot of technology that allows you to do 360-degree video so that buyers can go online and actually see every part of the home remotely," Adams said. "Preparing for the fact that you may not have good showings due to the weather with video, I think, is a great way to prepare."
Feature outdoor pluses in warmer months
It is also good to remember that if you have a lot of great outdoor features, like a summer kitchen or outdoor pool and patio, it could lend itself to waiting to sell your home in the spring or summer when it’s going to look its best.
Keep it cozy
But if you are deciding to list your home in the dead of winter, making sure your home is well heated when the buyers are there, so it seems cozy and they know that the heating system is working, is a plus.
For real estate agents working in markets affected by severe winter weather, Aceable offers tips to help their clients winterize a home, so it’s not subject to potential damage due to freezing pipes.