You might think that spring is king when it comes to buying and selling real estate—after all, most families prefer to move when children are out of school and the weather is, well, more pleasant. However, selling your house in winter isn’t an impossible feat; in fact, there are perks to selling in the winter. Notably, buyers who are looking for homes during the winter often have a greater sense of urgency.
Ideally, it’s best to wait and put your home on the market at a time when supply and demand are suitable. Understanding your local market is extremely beneficial in forecasting the potential of your listing. But sometimes you have no choice but to try selling in less-than-ideal times.
Forget about spring cleaning because it’s time to get winter cleaning. As always, when it comes time to sell your house, part of your job is to make it as attractive as possible to potential buyers. De-smudge the fingerprints off the windows, clean up muddy or snowy footprints, clean the carpets, dust every surface, and rid your home of all moisture or debris that might have blown in from inside. If the initial task is too much to handle, consider hiring a professional service to help with the upkeep.
Your house needs to put its best foot forward, especially if the dead grass outside isn’t quite cutting it. Chaos isn’t the fastest way to selling, but organization is. The more stuff in your house for showings, the smaller your space might seem, even if it’s not. Get rid of all the unnecessariness now and you’ll be thanking yourself later when it comes time to move.
Similarly, remove personal effects from the home when it comes time to show it. When you sell your house, it’s no longer yours, and you want to encourage potential sellers to see it as theirs. Create a blank slate where they can envision their personal belongings, rather than yours.
Winter can be a particularly dreary season, especially with late sun rises and early sunsets. Minimize the doom and gloom a bit by lightening up the inside of your home so it feels more cheery, warm, and inviting. Add more lighting and, if necessary, go over dark rooms with a fresh coat of white paint.
When the weather is cold, it’s less likely that buyers will want to have to make repairs themselves before moving in. If there is anything wrong with your house that could detract from its value, it’s important to fix them. It’s especially a good idea to make sure the furnace, HVAC, and roof are inspected and in working order. Buyers will be thinking about the heating bills at this time of year—is your home well-insulated and energy efficient?
Create a sense of warmth in the house, both in temperature and in appearance. You don’t want potential buyers to be cold touring your house—keep the heat on, start a fire in the fireplace if applicable, and stage the home appropriately. Throw blankets and seasonal décor can help make your home feel extra cozy and inviting. Highlight the winter-friendly spaces the next family can enjoy when being outside isn’t an option.
During the winter season, it is often advisable to take a more conservative approach and list your home at market value. Winter is a quieter month with less shoppers, and chances are a bidding war is not going to happen if you price too low. Similarly, winter isn’t a great time to test the market and list high. Review closing prices of comparable properties and discuss list prices with your realtor.
A house with good curb appeal is an easier sell, regardless of season. Prepare your exterior for winter weather by trimming trees and shrubs, shoveling snow off the driveway and walkway, and eliminate any patches of ice that could be a hazard. Further, fix chipped paint, caulk windows, repair cracked window seals, and utilize cool-weather plants and seasonal décor to make the outdoor spaces hot.
Your real estate agent is always going to be able to help you get the best price for your house, regardless of the season. They are experienced in listing home in both favorable and unfavorable markets and can therefore provide you with both insight and advice to get you where you want to be.
You can find our tips to make your home winter ready here.
Sarah is a content writer and social media assistant with a BA in literature/creative writing from Wilkes University. When she’s not spending her days at work writing, reading, and drinking coffee, she’s usually at home reading, writing, and drinking coffee. She also devotes a fair amount of time to HGTV, drawing, and doting on her dog. As a creator, Sarah believes in emphasizing personality through design and DIY projects.