Selling your home in the fall / early winter

December 3rd, 2014
Real estate buyers

Many people are looking – and buying – in the “slower” months


It is almost universally believed that trying to sell your home in the months of November, December, January (and even into February) is a bad idea. While there are things that you need to consider, you certainly shouldn’t shy away from these months, just because you heard somewhere that it wasn’t a good time.


The Right Time to Sell

Simply put, the best time to sell is when you need to sell. Outdated fallacies about “Waiting until after football is over”, or “Because we’ll get more in the spring and summer” may cost you more market time, more headaches, and worst of all more money, depending on the market. That said, if it your ideal timeline is to sell it during in spring or summer, then that’s when you should do so. People need to move every month of the year, and homes indeed sell each and every month – a lot of them.


How to Prepare a Home for Showings During the Holidays

  1. Make it BRIGHT – The reality is that there is less natural light in these months than in others. You must make up for this by flooding your home with the brightest light bulbs out there – no one has ever complained that there was “too much light” in a home. Colorful flowers, wherever possible, also serve to brighten the mood.
  2. Don’t fear the Holidays – Since some of these months include the holidays, it’s important to mention them as well. In my experience, even though the holidays are a religious time for many, most buyers are not put off by it. The most overt exhibits of religious faith perhaps, but not the more traditional displays of holiday enjoyment.
  3. Set the Mood – For showings occurring after the sun has set, include flameless candles in all areas where a potentially memorable or enjoyable moment might take place for your buyers. If you have a fireplace, USE IT! Show how your home can be comfortable, cozy, warm and inviting. They need to see all that the home could be.
  4. Emphasize what Winter Features the Home Has – If there is anything that you have done to improve the home against the unpleasantness of Winter (new windows, radiant heated floors, green efficiency improvements, etc.), make sure to emphasize them.
  5. Show Off Photos from Warmer Months – Yes, buyers will know that the weather will get warmer, but giving them visual proof during their showing of your home (a sun-drenched deck filled with flowers, a well manicured yard, etc.) brings it to life right then and there.


What to Think About

  • Indeed, there are normally fewer buyers that are looking at this time of year than others. FEAR NOT, however – as there is much less competition for those buyers than there is in the warmer months.
  • A higher percentage of buyers looking at this time of year tend to be much more serious on the whole than other times of year.
  • The current weather outside *is not* a deterrent: while these buyers may be trudging through all sorts of nasty weather, they are envisioning being settled into their new home by the time warmer weather hits.
  • Pricing is imperative: not a “fire sale”, or a “let’s test the market” either. Just the price at which it will find the right buyer who wants to buy it now. (Hint: This is true for all markets, and all times of year.)

Bottom line, it only takes one buyer to purchase your home. You can find them any day of the year, as long as you have the right approach and your expectations are in line with the market.