Pros and Cons of Selling Your Home in the Winter
Advantages of Listing Your Home in the Winter
1. Reduced Competition
Most people put their houses on the market in the spring, which creates a ton of competition. In the winter, home buyers have far fewer homes to choose from, due to these homes for sale at this time of year often get more showings and interest from buyers. Plus, many buyers are less picky when there are fewer options.
They’re also more serious. During spring and summer, some people attend open houses for fun. Winter buyers are looking because they truly need a place to live. That often leads to quicker sales and fewer fixes to pay for after a home inspection since desperate buyers are less nitpicky about minor repairs.
Some winter buyers are also motivated to rush through a sale by Dec. 31 to take advantage of tax benefits, like being able to deduct a month or two of mortgage interest and property tax.
2. Online listings Make House Hunting Easy
Before the Internet, trekking out in the cold was the only way for winter home buyers to see their options. Now, online listings make it easy for people to house hunt during the winter months. Scrolling through listings curled up in front of the fire in their pajamas, they only have to face winter’s chill to see the shortlist of their favorites.
3. Agents Are More Motivated
The busy seasons for real estate agents are spring, summer, and fall. In wintertime, many spend all day twiddling their thumbs. If you get an agent during the offseason, they have more time to focus on selling your home. Just make sure you take time to find a skilled real estate agent instead of someone with nothing but a large marketing budget.
4. Contractors Are Easier to Find
Many homes need updates or repairs before they go on the market. In the summer, finding a trustworthy contractor is challenging because they’re busy. But most have plenty of availability during cold weather. And contractors are often willing to negotiate better rates during their slow season.
Pro Tip: If you’re looking for a reputable contractor in your area, check out HomeAdvisor. They thoroughly research and do background checks on contractors so you can be confident you’re hiring the right person.
Disadvantages of Listing Your Home in the Winter
1. Winter Weather Is Inconvenient
Winter weather can make house hunting an arduous chore. Buyers have to bundle up in boots and heavy coats and get out into the cold. And in some regions, ice and snow make traveling hazardous. If there’s heavy snowfall or ice, you must keep the driveway and sidewalk plowed and salted for visitors at all times. Potential buyers will also track in snow, salt, and possibly mud. And that means spending extra on a cleaning service after showings if you’ve already moved away.
2. Curb Appeal Is Challenging
In spring and summer, it’s easy to enhance your home’s curb appeal with flowers and attractive landscaping. In winter, it’s more challenging. If you’re lucky enough to have a fresh blanket of snow on the ground the day you photograph your home, you’ll have a leg up on the competition. But many homes listed in winter look a bit drab and worn because everything is brown and gray.
On the plus side, you don’t have to spend a lot of time and money maintaining a picture-perfect yard. You don’t need to plant flowers, mow your lawn, or rake the leaves. If it snows, you shovel. That’s it. One way you can add some curb appeal is to decorate the outside of your home for the holidays. Many people celebrate during the winter season, and most people will appreciate a festive-looking home. Just keep the decorations moderate and tasteful.
3. Buyers Have More Financial Obligations
Many people have a lot of extra expenses at the end of the year. They buy holiday gifts, travel for winter vacation, set aside money to pay taxes, or winterize their homes or cars. Many also have increased season-related medical expenses. With a tighter budget, many are reluctant to make such a big purchase. Winter holidays and uncertain weather make people wary of moving this time of year too.
4. Buyers Might Have More Negotiating Power
Some sellers get multiple offers at competitive prices when there are fewer homes on the market. But when there are fewer buyers, some drive a hard bargain. Sellers who are nervous they won’t get another offer until spring tend to take lower offers.