Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it… Sell?

Published February 2, 2012 by Julie Provenzano

Ok, so maybe the snow part isn’t happening in North Texas this winter, but I can assure you the selling part is. 

Many people believe that dipping their toes into the winter real estate market is not a good idea.  Sellers tend to hibernate through the colder months out of fear of not moving their property and losing leverage when things start picking up in the spring.  Buyers hesitate because there seems to be less from which to choose.  Regardless, statistics show that the number of sales in relation to the number of listings stays relatively consistent throughout the year.  So what are the benefits for both buyers and sellers to braving the elements and taking the polar plunge?  Let’s look first at the buyer’s side. 

The weeding has already been done

Like the starkness of the winter landscape, where only the strongest, most committed foliage survives, the cold season real estate market listings tend to reflect only the most committed sellers.  How does this translate into a buyer’s advantage?  Sellers who are serious about moving their property are more likely to negotiate on sale price and may be willing to go that extra icy mile to close the deal.

Less competition

If you are a buyer looking to purchase a home during the winter months, you will most likely find you have less competition than if you wait until the birds start chirping again.  When you do stumble upon that perfect place, chances are good that you will not find yourself in a bidding war with another buyer.

Customer service

The market slows down in colder months and so does the workload of many industry professionals.  If you have purchased a home in the past, you are familiar with the web of people, paperwork and planning that goes into each transaction.  During the busy summer months, any little glitch in communication between parties can mean the downfall of the deal.  Not so in winter.  Industry professionals- from agents to lenders to inspectors- tend to have more flexible schedules during the cold season, so things may move at a more comfortable pace.

And what’s in it for sellers?  Everything previously mentioned can work to the seller’s advantage as well.  If that’s not enough, here are a few more examples to get your wheels rolling.

This is not your grandmother’s real estate market

Gone are the days when the average family moved only a few times.  Employers have become more adept at restructuring, reinventing and relocating, requiring their employees to follow suit.  Today’s buyer often has a limited amount of time to make his move, and the boss is counting the minutes.  Once the decision has been made to relocate, very few people have the luxury of taking their time.  In addition, the ways in which people search for homes has changed.  The internet allows potential buyers access to available inventory with the click of a mouse.  Less inventory means better chances for yours to be the chosen one.  Which brings us to everyone’s favorite topic…

Staging

Prepping a home for the market can be a chore.  However, the chilly weather can work to your advantage.  In a winter market, less is more.  In terms of curb appeal,  a wreath, strategic lighting and a shoveled walk are often all that is necessary to get buyers curious about what’s behind that quaint exterior.  So what is behind it?  If it’s a conveniently placed boot tray, a comfortably set thermostat and a tastefully decorated interior free of clutter (and fruitcake), you may have just covered all those necessary staging bases.  And that’s good news.

After the sale

If you’re in the market for a new home, because you were pro active and listed your existing home during the winter months you will be in a prime position to watch the emerging spring inventory as it blooms, allowing for a better grasp of your position as a buyer.  If you are not in the market for another home, you will be able to move forward and enjoy what’s next, unconcerned about beating the competition.

Any way you dice it, buying or selling a home in a winter market has its benefits.  So pull on those boots, shovel that drive and Let it Sell, Let it Sell, Let it Sell! 

Selling In The Winter Season