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The Winter Housing Market

Selling your home is a stressful endeavor any time of year, but selling in the colder winter months has its own special challenges. From market slow-downs to scheduling around the holidays, choosing to sell from as early as October to as late as February brings a host of challenges. But don’t stress—these experts have tips for selling no matter the time of year.

Selling Your Home in the Winter

When you list your home, it’s usually impossible to know how long it will be on the market. If you’re looking to sell in winter, you might feel the urge to decorate for the holidays even as you try to make your home look neutral. Experts have mixed views on this.

“Buying a home is more than about the sticks and bricks, it is also about the ‘feeling’ and visuals,” says L. Michelle Terrell, a strategic real estate advisor at Real Estate Bees. “Holiday decor usually will put someone in a good space.”

Adams agrees. Decorations are fun and exciting for kids and buyers with families will like the festivity, he says.

Milford Adams, immediate past chair of the Denver Metro Association of Realtors notes, “I had a client that said they would give full price to the sellers if they would leave the outside Christmas lights and the Christmas tree with the home.” Adams says

If you do decorate, wait to hang up the lights until after your listing photos have been taken. 

Decor aside, if you live in a snowy area, you’ll want to make sure your home is safe for potential buyers during this time.

“When touring a home in cold weather, the seller should make sure the outside walkways and driveway is clear of snow, completely shoveled, front, back and the side of the house and the back deck,” Adams says. “You also want to put down sand and salt to make sure the area is safe, because your potential buyers will still want to see the back of the house.”

Your home might remain on the market longer than normal in winter, but you won’t necessarily have to reduce the price to get things moving.


Buying a Home in Winter

Buying a home during the winter does have some advantages. Namely, you could get a better deal while the shopping is slow.

“Market values don’t necessarily drop too much during winter months, depending on the current market conditions and area,” says Alex Capozzolo, co-founder of Brotherly Love Real Estate. “However, you’ll likely have an easier time getting your offer accepted, because there will be less competition among buyers.”

Additionally, you’re able to check on the condition of the property during colder months.

“This is a good time to inspect window frames and door frames to measure how well they are sealed. If you can feel drafts coming through either, this could be something you can negotiate in the final sale,” Capozzolo says.

If you notice areas of the property covered in snow drifts or otherwise obscured by seasonal conditions, you can ask the agent for photos of the property in warmer months, Capozzolo says. Adams adds this is a good way to get a feel for the lawn, as well, and most sellers will want to show that off.


Click here to read the full article by Kristine Gill for Better Homes & Garden.

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