selling a home in the off season
Selling a Home

Planning to Sell Your Home this Winter? Here’s How to Get Top Dollar “Off-Season”

Contrary to popular belief, selling a home in the winter is possible; with planning and preparation, you might even get more for selling during the off-season.

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Selling a Home in the Slow Months

The conventional wisdom states that the only time you can expect to fetch the maximum price for your home is in the peak season of spring or summer. The logic follows that with the majority of homebuyers scouring a tight market during the season with the most listings on the market, buyers are more likely to make competitive offers. They are also more likely to make an offer on a property that they might otherwise pass over, when it’s looking its best during the summer months.

This type of thinking makes sense, but only to a certain degree. Unfortunately, many are likely to draw an absolute conclusion based on this logic that simply isn’t true. Yes, there are far fewer homes on the market in the fall and winter months, and yes, if your home has certain features that are less attractive “off-season,” then you may be better off waiting for the next peak to roll around.

However, if you are planning to put a desirable listing on the market in the off months, you can still attract top dollar. In fact, you may be able to get even more money for your home than you would have by listing it in the months that are traditionally thought of as best. Read on to find out why, and maybe you can take advantage, too.

selling a home in the off season

The Hidden Beauty of a Slower Housing Market

Though there may be fewer buyers out looking for a new home in the late fall and winter months, there is also far less inventory available. And often, the inventory that is on the market is a bit “tired.”

Also, many buyers who are not tied to the school-year calendar look to purchase off-season. For this reason, make sure that your listing is geared to older adults or families with children younger than school age.

If you’re still trying to sell your home after some months on the market, make sure to refresh your listing for the season. Nothing smells more like a tired listing than something left over from summer, complete with images of the home in the warmer, sunny months.

selling a home in the off season

Stage and Sell for the Season

Another key to getting great offers in the “off season” is staging and selling with the current season in mind. For this reason, it’s often best to create a warm and inviting atmosphere in the listing, and at any showings and open house events.

To accomplish this, you’ll want to start by cranking up the heat (within reason) when anyone is touring your home, and you’ll want to make sure that the inside is well lit, clean and dry—without being stuffy.

But, you’ll also want to skip any holiday decorations. While it may seem like they will help to create the right atmosphere to sell your home, holiday decorating is a matter of personal taste, and family and community tradition.

Remember the golden rule of staging: create an atmosphere that contains enough to get the buyer’s imagination working, while leaving them enough room to imagine their new life in your home.

selling a home in the off season

Minding Your Home’s Curb Appeal in the Winter

Remember, just because your garden isn’t blooming, doesn’t mean that curb appeal is no longer very important to the selling of your home. Clean up leaf litter and make sure that your driveway and outdoor living areas and paths are clear of snow and ice.

Invest more attention in the entryway of your home and the look of the home, despite the fact that winter is in full swing. Not every home looks its best in the winter months, but with some targeted maintenance and landscaping, it’s possible to create a wonderful, inviting feeling despite the harsh winter weather outside.

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Ben is a real estate agent and freelance writer. He's lived on the east coast his entire life and is just as "at home" on a snowboard as he is in the office. When not writing about local real estate markets and researching hot new tips for homeowners, he can be found working on his home renovation projects with help from his wife Melissa and their kids, Josh and Cheyenne.

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