How to Sell Your Home During the Winter Season (Yes, Even in Warm Weather)
It’s the most wonderful time of the year... to sell?
Winter is the hot time of year!
In most of the country, wintertime is a slow season for real estate. Kids are ensconced in school, the house-hunting weather is terrible, and no one wants to pack up and move during the holidays.
But here in the Tampa Bay Area things are different.
Our seasonal residents begin fleeing their northern homes as the leaves start to turn in October, but the real rush comes as soon as the holidays wind down. Once January comes, there is not a vacant unit anywhere near the beach, and it’s nearly impossible to find a parking space on Beach Drive!
Of course, once they’re down here, these seasonal residents are understandably overtaken by the desire to become permanent residents–or at least to have a place of their own for next winter. Sellers know this, so they often wait until January to list, and the housing market goes crazy from January through May.
If you’ve been contemplating whether you should sell your home now or wait until the holidays wind down, we've made a list of 5 things that will help you sell your home before the market heats up again!
Take Advantage of the Season
Even though this year is a bit different, living in a warm climate during the winter has its perks. There tend to be more people here and the "snowbirds" flee from the snow which means that there are more people available who might want to make their winter vacation spot a permeate residence.
Additionally, this is the type of weather we wait for all summer long so make sure to leverage the outside space at your home. We'll make sure to highlight this in our descriptions, photos, and showings (virtual or otherwise). If the weather is particularly beautiful on the day of an in-person showing go ahead and open the windows to let some fresh air in.
Put Your Best Foot Forward Online
As Dave Ramsey says, “the internet has no seasons.” Since most people would rather be enjoying the beautiful snow-free winter weather and virtual showings are the first step for most buyers right now, making sure your home has a good online presence is very important. Most buyers will start their search online before in person. In fact, according to NAR the share of home buyers who used the internet to search for a home increased to an all-time high of 97% this year.
Leveraging the power of high-quality photography, virtual walk-through tours, and videos has never been so important but when you pair it with competing against outdoor activities it becomes vital.
Be Flexible in Showing Times and Methods
This is one of the busiest times of the year and with extra hurdles to jump this year like planning holiday celebrations online and shipping holiday gifts to family in time, free time might be hard to come by. The good news here is that most folks do tend to take more time off work around the holidays leaving more time to search for their new home. Once the holidays are over, there are a few 3-day weekends in January which are perfect to host virtual open houses and schedule showings.
Offering a virtual tour option for your home is vital in today's world so don't be surprised if you're getting a lot of showing over FaceTime or Zoom - that doesn't mean a buyer is any less serious.
Work With What You Have
When the sun sets at 4 PM, it’s a lot harder to show off your home’s exterior. Make sure that your lights around the house - holiday and decor lights, as well as year-round outdoor lighting, are all set up and turned on when the sun goes down. If you took advantage of the summer by making some improvements to your curb appeal make sure to disclose those upgrades to us as we'll make sure that any potential buyers are aware of upgrades being made around the house even if viewing homes in the dark doesn't always let them shine.
Keep Budgets and Timelines in Mind
As we wrap up the end of the year, a lot of people are tied up with other financial obligations such as holiday gifts, paying taxes, and making sure their own houses are ready for the holidays. While typically this may cause a lot of buyers do not want to invest in a home at this time of year this year is anything but normal. Buyers are competing by offering over asking and homes are selling quickly - the holidays may slow that down a bit but we expect things to heat up again by the time the trees have all been taken down.
Staying "Show Ready" Makes a Difference
While keeping your home show-ready during the winter may be more difficult it's not impossible. You’ll need to minimize the amount of decor and clutter around the house, remove packages arriving on the front steps, and keep up with putting away the wrapping paper and holiday prepping that you’re doing yourself.
Pro Tip: If may be dark outside, but be sure to keep things cozy and warm inside by turning as many lights on as you can.