If you are planning on selling your in the winter, we have a few simple tips that will make it a little easier to attract buyers without breaking the bank.
While people buy and sell homes throughout the year, housing sales are very much cyclical. While different regions see sales spike at slightly different times than others, throughout the United States there are always more sales in the summer and less in the winter. Some years are better than others, but it is almost always true that late fall and winter, from November through February, is the worst time to sell your house.
Of course, life doesn’t always operate according to a convenient schedule. Sometimes things happen outside of our control. Maybe you got a new job that forces you to move, or maybe your family grew a little bit and you’ve outgrown your house. Whatever the reason, if you need to sell your house in the winter, it won’t be as easy as in the summer. That means you’ll have to work a little harder to get the price you want.
Here are a few tips to make selling your house in the winter a little easier.
Keep Your Front Yard Clean
This is a good tip anytime you are considering selling your house, but it is especially important in the fall and winter, given the extra debris you’ll have to deal with.
A leaf covered yard may add character to your home, but a prospective buyer won’t see it the same way. They won’t be able to see the full potential of the yard, just the amount of work that is facing them. Plus, the more clutter, the smaller the yard looks. The same is true, probably more so when it comes to snow.
Be sure to shovel your pathway. If it is slick, you should also put down a little salt or some other material. It may not look ideal, but better that than someone slipping and falling on the way into your house.
It may seem like an unnecessary expense, but you may want to consider hiring someone to be on call to maintain your yard. If your real estate agent calls to tell you that you have someone coming by later that day and you are at work, it would be a good idea to have someone that can take care of the basic outdoor maintenance for you.
Take Care of Any Outstanding Problems
Any time of year that you are selling your house you should take care of any obvious and outstanding issues, especially aesthetic ones that are easy to spot. In the winter, however, when the competition is less fierce to buy and more to sell, you should go even further than you normally might. Even if a person really likes your house and is committed to buying it, they will use that to negotiate a better price for themselves.
If you are considering selling your house in the winter, contact a contractor before listing your property. Have them come out and look your place over with a critical eye, and let them tell you what needs to be fixed. You’ll need to do this anyway to make sure there are no issues during an inspection, but make sure ask if they have any suggestions to make your house look a little more presentable without costing you a lot of money.
Make the Most of Your Light
Regardless of where you live, the winter typically brings less light throughout the day. It gets light later and dark earlier, plus there tends to be more cloud cover (depending on where you are). As a result, natural light is a little scarcer.
If you have people coming by to look at your house, try to make the most out of your light. Clear off any windows that may be covered, and be sure that all your blinds and curtains are as open as possible. If people see your house when it is darker than it should be, it will feel smaller. Turn on the lights throughout the house as well.
If you are having trouble selling your house, you may even want to consider painting your interior – at least the largest room or two – and stick with a white or off-white color.
Keep Your House Warm
While it might go against your better nature to waste power and run your heater when you aren’t home, no one will want to tour a house that is ice cold.
When you are selling your house, you want to project a sense of comfort. That includes keeping the temperature at a reasonable level. You want the buyer to be able to imagine living there. A warm home is a cozy home, so don’t skimp on the heater bill.
Store Extra Clothes and Furniture
During the winter, it’s natural for people to have more clothes laying around, as well as plenty of blankets, shoes, and more. You may even be so used to it that you barely notice it anymore, but you should clear away as much of the clutter as possible. Even if everything is stacked nicely, it still makes your house feel a little smaller than it otherwise would.
While you’re at it, you should get rid of anything in your house that you aren’t using. Put it in storage if you need, but if there’s room in the attic you can put things there too – the more open space you have in your home, the better.
You should also be strategic with any seasonal décor. A Christmas tree may be a nice touch, so too is the odd wreath, but an over-abundance of religious iconography might alienate people of different faiths. Plus, too much of anything can easily go from cute to creepy, so find a balance.
Know When to List and When to Hold
Unless you are desperate to sell, try to avoid selling in December. With Christmas looming, an already bad time of year to sell will be even worse. If you can, push your house in November, then again in late January. You can also try listing it for rent, as people do move into new rental properties around then, but buying a new house during the holidays is something most people will want to avoid.
If you don’t have a choice, so be it, but you will be sacrificing a significant amount of money. You’ll have fewer people looking, and you’ll be offered less.
Contact Fleschner Construction Now
If you know you are currently selling your house or if you know you may be selling your house in the winter, contact us now. We can help get your place into the best shape possible before it goes on the market, which in turn can help you get the best price.