It’s no secret that the housing market slows down in the winter. With the holidays, the traveling, and the colder weather, buyers just aren’t as eager as they were earlier in the year — and they might even have a smaller budget.
Still, that doesn’t mean selling your home this winter is impossible. It just means you’ll need to get a little creative to get your home noticed.
Are you thinking of putting your home on the market this holiday season? Here’s how to up your chances of a fast (and lucrative) sale:
- Use a pro. It can be tempting to list and sell your home solo (called a FSBO or For Sale By Owner). After all, it can save you thousands in commission fees. But in reality, stats show that FSBOs sell for significantly less than homes listed by an agent — and they take longer, too. If selling your home quickly (or at top dollar) is important, you’ll likely want an agent by your side to make it happen — particularly in the slow winter months.
- Try an ibuyer. If you want a quick sale but don’t want the high commission, you can consider selling to an ibuyer like Opendoor, Offerpad, or Knock. These are all companies that will give you instant offers for your home — all online and off the open market. There’s no showings or staging, and you don’t have to haggle or negotiate on pricing. (Keep in mind though, you’ll likely get less cash with an ibuyer than on the open market, so be prepared for a cut in profits.)
- Embrace the holidays. Use the season to your advantage, and leverage holiday decor to really stage your home and make it feel welcoming. Put a wreath on the front door, light the fireplace when it’s chilly outside, and hang twinkling lights along the back patio. You can even bake an apple pie or put out pumpkins around Thanksgiving. Make it easy for buyers to imagine themselves in the home for future holidays.
- Price it right. Make sure your home is priced properly from the very start by analyzing local comps and recent sales. You want to fall right in line with other similar homes in the area — or better yet, just under. Buyers are on the hunt for a steal during the holidays (after all, they’re already spending tons on presents and travels as it is!). Putting your price just a few thousand below your neighbor’s can bring the buyers calling.
- Offer concessions. If you really want to stand out in the winter market, offer concessions to help pay for closing costs and other fees. You can even include your concessions in your listing, so buyers are aware from the very start. Closing costs often eat up thousands of a buyer’s savings (meaning they can spend less on the home!), but as a seller, they simply come out of your profits — you don’t have to write a check or hand over cold, hard cash. Offering to pay even a portion of a buyer’s fees can make your home seem like the deal of a century.
- Keep up your curb appeal. It can be hard to keep the yard looking great when it’s freezing, snowy, and just plain miserable outside. But curb appeal means a lot to a buyer — and it can often make or break a sale. If you can’t commit to shoveling the sidewalks, raking the leaves, and tending to the lawn several times a week while your home is listed, bring in a pro to help with the task. You can also put out hardy potted plants, low-maintenance ferns, or even faux flowers to spruce up the yard during chilly times.
- Set the table. For most of us, the holidays are spent around the table, catching up with loved ones and enjoying delicious, home-cooked meals. To bring up those wonderful feelings of holiday joy and nostalgia, consider staging a beautiful tablescape before every showing. Include your nice china, cloth napkins, candles and a floral centerpiece. Really drive home those “home for the holidays” memories.
- Be flexible. It’s definitely a pain to leave your house at the drop of a hat every time a buyer needs a showing, but when you’re selling in the winter time, flexibility really is key. Many buyers are traveling, hosting family, or wrapping up year-end tasks at work, and their schedules just aren’t as open as they are during the summer months. It might be a hassle, but opening your doors on a weekday evening, a holiday weekend, or even in the early morning hours can be what sets you apart from other homes on the market.
Are you looking for a move-up home once you’ve sold your current one? Then talk to an Embrace loan officer. We’ll get you pre-approved and help you find the right mortgage product for your goals. Contact us today for personalized guidance.