Winter is usually a time when Buyers and Sellers take their foot off the gas. Although winter can create some less-than-ideal situations, it also provides hidden benefits. As winter approaches, consider some of the pros and cons of winter home selling.
Winter home-selling pros
Though spring is usually the beginning of the home-selling rush, there are a few good reasons to commit to winter home selling.
One of the obstacles of selling when everyone else is selling is that you can get lost in the crowd. Housing inventories may be at historic lows, but that doesn’t mean Buyers aren’t still picky.
Winter home selling can help differentiate the house simply because it’s on the market in the winter. With fewer other houses to look at, Buyers might be more willing to look at the home if it’s on the market during winter. This can create added traffic for the home, especially for Buyers who like to do virtual open houses.
Less competition means more opportunity, for you and your Sellers.
Piggy-backing off less competition, winter home selling can create faster transactions. That’s because many of the moving parts within the home-selling process are less strained. Lenders have fewer loans to process, inspectors have fewer inspections, and so on.
These factors mean that Sellers have more resources at their disposal to sell their home. With more resources, Sellers can get quicker answers. Getting quicker answers to important questions about selling their home often means less stress.
More serious Buyers
Most Buyers balk at searching for homes in the winter. But the Buyers who are looking in the winter are likely very serious about purchasing. In other words, winter Buyers aren’t just window shopping.
It makes sense that these Buyers would be more serious. Winter weather is usually comparably crummy, so it’s not like they’re just driving around neighborhoods a whim. The days are shorter and these Buyers—like most Americans—likely have year-end financial obligations, especially with holiday shopping.
If a Buyer is looking in the winter, despite these obstacles, they’re likely more committed to finding their home as quickly as possible. That can mean less wasted time for Sellers and more serious offers.
Winter home-selling cons
Of course, winter home selling isn’t all roses. If it were, we wouldn’t really have a spring housing rush! If your Sellers really like the idea of winter house selling, do the right thing and prepare them for some of the pitfalls.
Weather problems and less light hurt curb appeal
Weather is the biggest drawback of winter home selling. While a fresh layer of snow can sound romantic, it’s harder to create curb appeal once that snow turns to a black slush. On top of burying any landscaping appeal under snow, cold, ice, and a lack of light from shorter days can hurt curb appeal.
One way to combat these problems is to focus on an aspect of the home that isn’t bothered by winter weather. For example, instead of showing off how long a driveway is (and how much shoveling or snow blowing it’ll need), you might focus on the roominess of the garage for keeping the elements off a potential Buyer’s car.
Staging requires more effort
When the cold blows in, Sellers are more likely to need to spend time indoors. That means you’ll have to put in more effort to keep the house ready for viewing. Additionally, you’ll need to be sure that you keep walkways clear of snow or ice for in-person visits.
Additionally, you’ll have to decide how you want to decorate indoors. Winter is holiday season, and the holidays can be a sentimental time. You may need to explain to Sellers the importance of depersonalizing the space for viewing, which can be challenging during the holiday season.
Savvy Buyers sniffing out desperation
Serious Buyers tend to be savvy Buyers. They may see a home listed during the winter and assume that the Sellers are desperate. This can lead to frustrating lowball offers or requests for cash incentives.
When working with serious Buyers, you’ll need to make sure that you’ve honed your negotiation skills. Knowing the market, understanding how comparable houses are priced, and not letting the fact that it’s winter guide the negotiation is crucial.
How a home warranty from 2-10 HBW helps
Of course, the best time to sell depends on your location. There are some real benefits to winter home selling. Another benefit to sweeten the deal is home warranty coverage from 2-10 Home Buyers Warranty (2-10 HBW).
With home warranty coverage, you can provide peace of mind to both Buyers and Sellers. Sellers get assurance that if a major system or appliance—like their furnace—breaks down while the house is on the market, they have an inexpensive way to resolve it. That gives Buyers more confidence in the home they’re purchasing, which can make the house look more appealing.
Regardless of when your Sellers choose to sell, consider a home warranty to protect them when they need it most.
2-10 HBW offers comprehensive systems and appliances home warranties to help protect your clients from unexpected repair and replacement costs. Contact us to learn more.