Can You Sell a Home in Winter?

Can you sell a home in winter?

Can You Sell a Home in Winter?

Now that the winter weather has arrived and the holidays are upon us, those who might be considering listing their home for sale may be wondering if it is possible to sell a home in winter.  As with any major decision, it is a good idea to weigh the pros and cons first.

Whenever people meet a Realtor®, the first question they inevitably ask is, “how’s the market?”.  Another common question is, “when is the best time to sell a home?”.  The short answer is always, “right now”!  Since the CNY market has been a seller’s market (favoring sellers) for the past two years, the best time to list is as soon as possible.  We just don’t have enough homes available for sale nor the choices available to satisfy all our qualified and motivated buyers.

Getting back to the question to be answered, “can you sell a home in winter”?  There are many positive reasons.  The following list presents some of the many positive reasons to sell a home in winter:

  1. Less Competition – Whenever you list a home for sale, you’ll be in direct competition with other homes on the market. There are always homes for sale at every time of the year, but there is a significant decline in the winter months which reduces the competition.  Granted, there will be fewer active buyers during this time as well, but you have a much greater chance of getting the attention of a greater percentage of the active buyers at this time of the year than at the peak of the selling season in the spring.
  2. Better Motivated Buyers – Let’s face it, to view homes for sale during the winter months with the associated challenges presented by the weather, active buyers must certainly be motivated! This motivation may merely be an effort to end the search or to meet some deadline associated with the buyer’s plans.  Regardless, sellers stand to benefit from higher quality offers, quicker decisions and emphasis on closing as quickly as possible during this time of year.
  3. Sale Prices Closer to Asking Prices – Here in CNY, sale prices in the off-peak months are statistically closer to list prices. During the peak months, a larger gap occurs between the sale price and the asking price where sale prices are statistically lower than list prices.  This does not imply that you can ask more in off-peak months, but it does imply that sellers can reasonably expect sale prices to be closer to the asking price.
  4. January is the Biggest Transfer Month – More corporate transfers occur in January than in any other month of the year. In order to tap into this potential pool of buyers, you must sell a home in winter.
  5. Better Advertising Exposure – Brokerages routinely advertise throughout the year, but here in CNY, they yield to the retail outlets between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. At the peak of the market, they rotate their abundant supply of listings through the limited advertising spreads to present as many homes as possible.  When selling a home in winter, there are fewer listings which increases the chances that your home could be presented much more frequently or even continuously.
  6. Holiday Decorations – Without a doubt, if you tend to “deck the halls” for the holidays, this may make your home a showcase. Whenever you give buyers the opportunity to see themselves living in your home or wanting to live in your home, you have a home that shows well!

Of course, there are negative aspects to consider when you sell a home in winter.  Most of these are the general challenges associated with the weather.  There are also high demands on personal time and lack of availability due to the holidays.  Finally, sellers may not have the luxury of choosing when to sell, being forced to sell a home in winter due to schedule requirements.

For those willing to put forth a little more effort to sell a home in winter, the positives present great opportunities not available at other times of the year.  Just make sure that the agent you choose to market your home for sale will be present, working and available here in CNY while your home is listed.  Many agents take advantage of the off-peak season to schedule extended holidays where the weather is warmer.



About Michael Liepke

Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker with Howard Hanna Real Estate Services in the Manlius, NY office
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