Editor's Note: This post was originally published on November 6, 2014. Housecall continues to share this piece due to ongoing requests and reader interest.
There are many questions homeowners ask themselves during the selling process. "How much will my home sell for?" "How much should I list my home for?" "Who should I select as a real estate agent to sell my home?" "What if the real estate agent overprices my home?" Last but not least, "Is this a good time to be selling a home?" is also a very common question that real estate agents are asked.
As with every decision in life, there are pros and cons, and choosing when to sell a home is no different. There are many factors that need to be taken into consideration before deciding when to sell a home. Many homeowners believe selling a home during the fall or winter months is not a good idea and that the spring is the only time a house should be sold. This is the furthest from the truth. Certainly most real estate markets across the United States experience a "spring market rush" every year. There is no doubt that the "spring market" is a great time to be selling and buying real estate, however, the fall and winter seasons may be the best fit for you for many reasons.
Here are several reasons why choosing to sell your home now may be a better decision than waiting until the spring:
One way that you can tell the spring real estate market has arrived is by driving down a street in your local community. In all likelihood there will be For Sale signs up all over the neighborhood! One great reason to sell your home now and not wait until the spring market is there is sure to be less competition. The fewer number of comparable homes for sale, the greater the probability that a buyer will look at your home.
Simply put, it’s the supply and demand theory. If there are less homes for sale, there are less homes that a potential buyer can choose from, therefore increasing the demand for your home. Not only will less competition increase the probability for showings, but it will also increase the probability that an offer will be received and you will get the maximum amount of money for your home.
Serious Buyers Are Out There
Homes are sold and bought 365 days a year, period! Many homeowners believe that buyers aren't out there during the fall and winter months. This simply is not the case. Serious buyers are always out there! Some buyers may stop their home search because it is the fall or winter, but serious buyers will continue to look at homes, no matter what time of year it is.
The fall and winter months are also a great time for a potential buyer to see what a specific neighborhood is like. Do your neighbors have pumpkins on their front step? Are there lots of Trick-or-Treaters wandering the neighborhood on Halloween? Do any of your neighbors have any light displays for the holidays? There are buyers out there who will look at these types of things when determining whether your home is in the right neighborhood for them or not.
The Best Agents Are Always Up To The Challenge
Any real estate agent who tells you that the fall or winter months are a bad time to sell is not someone you want selling your home! A great real estate agent will know how to adapt to the current season and market their listings to reflect that. A great real estate agent can make suggestions and give some of their tips on how to sell a home during the fall or winter seasons. If a real estate agent doesn't have any suggestions on making your home more desirable for the current season, you should be concerned about the creativity they are going to use when marketing your home.
Staging For The Holiday Season
Many sellers believe staging a home is the main reason a home sells. While staging certainly helps sell homes, some buyers have a difficult time envisioning themselves in a home no matter what you do. However, there are some buyers who can easily be "sold" on a home because it is staged. Simple “seasonal” staging such as adjusting the color of the decor or having an aroma in the air that is relative to the time of year can go a long way with some potential buyers and possibly be the difference between a home selling or not.
Right now, there are fewer real estate transactions than there will be in the spring. The fewer number of transactions means the mortgage lenders have less loans to process, attorneys have less closings to do, and home inspectors have fewer inspections to do. All of these factors should lead to a quicker transaction and closing for all the parties involved. One of the most frustrating things for a seller to deal with while selling their home is not getting answers in a reasonable amount of time. A quicker transaction is going to be less stress for you.
By considering all of the reasons above, you will be able to determine whether now is a good time to sell or if you should wait until the spring.
Kyle Hiscock is a top producing Webster, N.Y. real estate agent with Nothnagle Realtors, based out of Rochester, N.Y. He has helped hundreds of buyers and sellers move in and out of the Greater Rochester, N.Y. area. In addition to his vast real estate knowledge, Kyle is very active on many different social media websites. Connect with Kyle on Google+.
Great article Kyle! Very compelling points on why it can makes sense to sell your home in the winter months.
Thank you for such a great article! I will certainly sharing this information to encourage 4th quarter sellers to be optimistic.
In Denver, homes generally have sold for more in the Spring than similar homes sold the previous Fall or December. That’s been true for last 4 years. Of course a Seller may still opt to sell now for reasons of their own. Proficient Realtors should know the patterns in their own market and explain it accordingly. That’s adding real value and not just saying what might result in a quicker commission.
Thanks Andrew, appreciate the compliments! Sometimes it can make sense to sell now instead of waiting until spring.
Larry, thanks for your comment! It’s very likely homes will sell for more money in the spring, but for some, now maybe a better time to buy. This is especially true if the seller is planning on buying another home.
Excellent article Kyle. I agree with all of your points and believe there are different reasons for having a house on the market for sale during the colder months. Especially when the house is well staged … we are only looking for one buyer right? They are out there — the serious ones … and we need to be there so they can come and buy!!!
Thanks Diana! That is correct, all it takes is one buyer 🙂
Great article Kyle, every house will sell it just needs the right buyer!
This is true Arthur! Thanks for reading!
Excellent article Kyle. I agree with your points and I believe there are different reasons for having a house on the market for sale during the colder months. After all we are only looking for one buyer?
Frank that is completely right! The spring time can tend to attract less serious buyers than this time of the year, which can save sellers lots of time and frustration!
Thank you Kyle, well said!
I would additionally submit that there are people that may be wanting to push to do a contract during the calendar year for tax purposes & it helps to think about the average days on market in your community.
Long story short, choose a great REALTOR & price at a market demand price and you will find that one buyer!
Thanks! C.Cribb – The Bubb Cribb Team @ ReeceNichols
Chris you are on-point with your comment. Pricing it right and having a great REALTOR are two of the most important things to get right when selling a home!
Excellent Post and thanx for sharing us.
Very informative. Keeping the leaves raked and the home cleaned up on the outside will give your house great curb appeal! This doesn’t mean you have to rake up every leaf that falls, as a few colorful leaves can add interest to your home’s exterior!
Very good info. Lucky me I ran across your blog by accident (stumbleupon).
I have book marked it for later!
Glad you found us, and thanks for reading! We’re on Twitter too – @housecallblog! Would love to connect!
Kyle – I Loved this Article – it was laid out so well, covering all the points a Seller should consider. Same as your Market there apparently – and I’ve read through the comments – our market is year round. We get transferees dependent on the Corporate atmosphere- and in Automotive – like with VW – we will be having a large number of sales around here as people (suppliers – for VW) unfortunately will be laid off.
Awesome article my friend!
Launching one soon on why you should not wait until spring to sell!
This will be an excellent reference!
Real estate markets are clearly cyclical throughout the year but how much they change is often tied to the local market area. The kind of market that exists at the time can also have a bearing on whether or not a specific time of the year is a good time to list.
Great article. I am working with a family that just asked many of the questions you mentioned
in your article. I feel I did answer them but will follow up during our meeting today with many of your points.
I love the idea of including subtle aromas that reflect the holiday season when staging the house to sell. Having an inviting smell will help the house feel cozier and more inviting and could also help potential buyers see it more as a home. I would recommend making sure it’s subtle, though, because overwhelming smells could leave people with a headache!
Some good points in this article and pretty timeless as well. Many clients ask about what time of year is best. Being in the Rocky Mtns, some clients are always worried about pictures with snow in them. We tell them that the fall and winter seasons are often a great time to sell a home.
Great points Kyle. We are always being asked this type of question. It almost always comes down to the needs of the seller in our market because it is active year round out here on the West Coast
I loved this article! I will say though that in my market, we see a drastic decrease in buyers during the winter. But … I do live in Alaska. It’s hard for sellers to dig everything out of the snow in the winter, especially if they’ve accumulated a lot of outside “junk”. It’s also hard for buyers to see what they’re getting underneath deep snow. Land sales for us take a big hit in winter. But I do realize our market is not typical and think these are great points to share with sellers and try to keep the market moving.
You shared a great article on the whys and why nots. Right now interest changes are upward moving and no time better than now for Buyers to buy. Also if rates go up prices will have to reflect who can purchase. I say take advantage now! Additionally, in my market there are PROs out there who are looking for rehab work and generally have lower prices than during peak times. Seller can save some money on those “eyesores” that will affect price.
there is sure to be less competition in the spring!
Thanks for sharing this information. This is really helpful. Great blog by the way!
This is a great read, thank you for sharing.
I have always been an advocate of listing a home in the fall and winter simply because, as the article states less competition with
less “lookers” and a better likely hood of a serious buyer.
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You made some great points, Kyle! I found this article useful and can’t wait to share it with my sphere. Look forward to more of your content.
You have described all very well. It really depends on the agent selling your home. A good agent can make a deal in any season.
Great points on why winter is as good a time as any to sell your property. Not sure everyone else’s situation but where I am in Stephenville TX scarcity would be a major factor in why selling in winter is a good time as any.
Thank-you for sharing such an informative blog. No matter selling a house is a lot more easier than to buy a house but it should be given a proper thought. Don’t hurry up things and just sell it whenever you feel like selling. Have a look at the points, like this blog has some really useful things to consider. Great job Kyle.