December 18, 2017 | Jen Hellmich

Why It Pays to List Your Home in Winter    

By   Daniel Bortz   October 30, 2015        

Spring may still be peak home-shopping season, since  most families want to move when the kids are out of school. Yet it actually pays to list in the winter, when buyers tend to have more urgency: A study by online brokerage Redfin found that average sellers net more above asking price during the months of December, January, February, and March  than they do from June through November, even in cold-weather cities like Boston and Chicago. And homes listed in winter sold faster than those posted in spring.

Should you put your home on the market now? Unless you need to sell (say, you’ve purchased your next home or are relocating  for a job), “timing always depends on supply and demand,” says Indianapolis real estate agent Christine Dossman.

*To understand your local climate, check the number of  days on the market for current and recently sold listings. If most are  sitting for more than 60 days, it’s safer to wait until spring, when more buyers will emerge. Yet “if properties are selling quickly, take that as a green light to list,” says real estate broker Peggy Yee of Vienna, Va.

If you do move forward, these strategies will help make your home a hot seller this winter.

Price It Right
The quieter winter market brings special pricing  considerations. Unlike in spring, when there are more shoppers—and it  may make sense to price low to try to generate a bidding war—you’re less likely to receive multiple offers.

Winter is also a bad time to test the market and list high. If the house doesn’t sell, you may need to drop below market  value to nab a buyer before new properties appear in spring and make  yours look stale by comparison.

The upshot: Take a conservative approach and price at market value, Yee advises. Check closing prices of comparable  properties sold in the past 30 days, then eye current list prices to make sure your home won’t look overpriced.

 Schedule a Tune-Up
 Winter buyers are particularly attuned to issues related to heating and maintenance. Get your furnace, HVAC, and roof  inspected, and make any necessary repairs. Also on your to-do list: Clean the gutters, change air filters, and weather—strip the windows.
Many cold-weather house hunters will also be thinking about heating costs. Consider low-cost upgrades like insulating the attic or installing energy-efficient windows, which can slash utility bills, says Brendon DeSimone, author of Next Generation Real Estate.

Brighten Your Home
Snow and gray skies make for a gloomy first  impression. Warm up curb appeal with basic landscaping, and add  inexpensive cool-weather plants like holly to invigorate outdoor space.  Fix chipped paint, caulk windows, and repair cracked window seals, which can cause condensation that freezes over and creates an eyesore.

Offset the season’s poor natural light by painting  your house off-white throughout—it sets a consistent color palette and  makes the space feel larger, says Sacramento interior designer Kerrie  Kelly.

And create a sense of warmth throughout the home, starting with the living room, where staging can have the greatest  impact, according to a National Association of Realtors report. Use such seasonal touches as stacked  wood by the fireplace rather than holiday decorations.

As always, de-clutter and depersonalize. Put away family photographs so that buyers can see themselves living in the home;  instead display pictures that show what the property looks like when  the temperature is warmer, like the garden in full bloom or the backyard  in the summertime. Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean buyers can’t appreciate what your home has to offer year-round.

*As of 12/18/17 properties SOLD within 10 miles of Columbus, IN over the past 180 days were on the market an average of 63 days. Supply is low and demand is high, making this an EXCELLENT TIME  to list your home for sale with Team Columbus, RE/MAX Real Estate Professionals. CALL TODAY for the market value of your property!



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