Many potential sellers ask me if they should list their home in the winter or wait until the spring. There are many things to consider such as the location of the home, inventory and demand and whether the home is occupied during the winter. If not, who is removing snow and preparing the home for showings?
You might think that it would be harder to sell your home in the winter than summer, but there are several real advantages to putting your home on the market in the cooler months.
There are fewer homes on the market in winter – therefore less competition – and the buyers who are looking in the winter months are often motivated to purchase. The summer selling season can sometimes be frenzied, and in the winter sellers can take a little more time to consider offers.
Not to worry, the reasons that lead people to make a new home purchase, such as a new job, a growing family and downsizing, happen all year round.
If you are a seller who wants to take advantage of the decreased competition in winter months but don’t want to move during the winter, there may be the option of a post-closing rental agreement, where the seller can lease back the home until the spring thaw. However a purchaser must check with his or her lender, if the home loan interest rate is based on a primary residence, there is a time limit on a post-occupancy agreement.
Exterior landscape is a bit of a challenge, and first impressions are so important. Cutting back shrubs, trimming trees and raking up leaves will keep a tidy presentation.
Make sure walkways are cleared and ice-free before every showing. Although the holiday season can be a hectic time to show and sell your house, there are distinct advantages to staging and showing your home at this time of year; you have a chance to show your home at its very best adorned with warmth and cheer.
A few exterior holiday lights or decorations show pride in ownership and seasonal spirit, but don’t overdo it. Find a tasteful balance.
Inside the home, protect your floors by putting down a mat for snowy boots or buy some shoe covers from the hardware store. If you have a fireplace you may want to have it on. Make sure your thermometer is set at a comfortable temperature and if it is winterized, put notes in the bathrooms stating so.
According to the multiple listings data, during winter 2013-’14, December through February, La Plata County recorded 135 residential sales with the median days on market of 117.
In spring 2014, from March to May, there were 256 closings with 102 median days on market (which were most likely put under contract during the winter months).
La Plata County had 1,040 residential closed postings in Multiple Listing Service year to date, so that would be about 25 percent of the homes sold for the year closed post winter.
Kelly Kniffin is a Realtor with Legacy Properties West-Sotheby’s International Realty in Durango. She can be reached at Kelly@homesdurango.com