A lot of my clients come to me at the beginning of the fall feeling pressured to get their homes on the market and sold before the Chicago winter hits us and our neighborhoods are covered in a blanket of snow. While it’s always been boasted that spring is the “time” to sell your house, you might be surprised to find out that there are unique benefits to having your home on the market in the winter.
Buyers looking in the winter are serious. The buyers aren’t spending their days looking at homes for “fun.” The weather isn’t exactly permitting for browsing, so the buyers seeking to view homes in the winter tend to have done their research before scheduling a chance to view the inside.
The market is less competitive. With the number of houses on the market seasonally going down in the winter months, the market isn’t overflowing with available homes; giving you, the seller, the upper hand. But beyond that, you have less comparable homes to compete with in general. You aren’t forced to strategically price your home slightly under your neighbors to be more advantageous and desirable to the buyers looking in your area.
Less having to leave the house. You could see this as a negative, but when I’m trying to prepare for holidays, kids off school, and the weather is cold, I would rather not have to leave my house for hours at a time. It works out in the winter because, as mentioned above, the buyers are ready to buy, but they aren’t wasting their time. They tend only to pick the houses they are interested in BUYING to view. And many people don‘t want to be out in the cold looking at open houses, so less chance you’ll be leaving for those too.
The mood is different. Fall and winter scents remind people of “home.” It’s been a common tactic used by sellers to bake, created a “warm” feeling in the home before a showing. A fire, a cranberry candle, and a home filled with the scent of baked goods have a psychological effect on buyers. A good one.
You will get your next home at a better deal. If you are upgrading, you will have less competition buying in the winter than in the spring, which means you might just save yourself some money AND some stress not competing with other buyers in the hustling spring market.
Agents aren’t as busy. Your agent isn’t running around on showings all day like he/she is in the spring months, which means she has a lot more time to be extra attentive to you. You’ll hear from her sooner, and she will have more time to spend focusing on your home and getting it SOLD.
Your buyer’s lender won’t be as busy either. Many times in the spring if a home doesn’t close on time, it’s because the lender is backlogged with files. The appraisal gets ordered late, the underwriter’s turn around time is longer than anticipated, and the loan process takes longer than either the buyer or their agent expected. In the winter, the lender isn’t as busy either, which means a faster appraisal, faster underwriting process, and a quicker chance for you to have peace of mind that your buyer is entirely ready and clear to close!
Winter might not be suitable for sunbathing or swimming, but when it comes to selling your home, it definitely has its advantages. You might find that the lessened stress and slower paced market activity makes your experience much less pressured and stressed than in the spring market fury! Plus, many companies offer lower rates for services in winter because they aren’t as busy either!