Are you thinking about selling your home around the holidays?
Do you already have a listing on the market you’re thinking about taking down?
This is a classic real estate question: Should I try to sell my home during the winter months?
Let’s clear the air here… We realize this is a touchy subject. If you ask 10 different agents you’ll hear 10 different opinions. Every home and every neighborhood is unique; each corner of the country doesn’t see the same “winter” and holiday season that we do here in the Northeast. For Upstate New Yorkers in the Albany, Saratoga, Amsterdam, and Southern Adirondack regions, you’ll hear your fair share of realtors recommending against winter listings due to the areas cold, and often nasty, weather. They have a pretty good argument, too! From a buyer’s standpoint, you’ll hear that it’s too cold out to go house hunting… People are busy with the holidays and spending time with family… Household spending tends to rise, pushing the thought of that new mortgage to the back-burner simmering on low.
The frigid months may not hold their weight compared to spring and summer, but all buyers don’t evaporate into thin air come October. We have a proven track record of helping people in the Capital Region sell their homes in November, December, January, and February without sacrificing the asking price. We can help you, too!
Here’s 7 things to keep in mind if you’re thinking about selling your home during the winter months.
1) Colder weather means less competition.
Since most homeowners pull their listings off the market in November or wait to list until March, your home will likely be competing with fewer listings in the area. With fewer comparable homes, your listing will often receive more attention than normal, often ending in higher sales prices than you’d typically assume.
2) There’s a higher percentage of motivated buyers.
If you don’t have a hard sell-by date or a reason to get out of your home quickly, it can be a smart strategy to save money and hassle by holding off until the warmer months are in sight. However, cold-weather house-hunters are often highly motivated to find and close on a property. Maybe they’re relocating for work, want to be closer to family, or maybe you’ve finally listed the home they’ve been waiting all year for. Either way, it can be a great way to take a lead to a sale faster than normal.
3) Flexible showing times make for happy viewers.
For someone to take the time to come ‘shlopping’ over in all of their wet winter layers (we know it’s not a real word, but it suits the scenario perfectly) to view your house, they should be considered a serious lead. If you choose to list your home around the holidays it’s important to be flexible and accommodating around the buyer’s schedule. It’s already the busiest time of the year! Being available for a walkthrough at a moments notice can make or break winter selling.
4 ) The house hunt has gone digital.
This might be the most critical point in the whole post. Sellers need to keep in mind that the home-buying process has become more and more digital. Gone are the days of driving around ideal neighborhoods stalking for-sale signs and peeking in windows. Potential buyers are relying on pictures, 3D walkthroughs, and videos to hunt for their ideal home from the comfort of their couch. This is even more important in the winter. At CMK, we work with sellers to give their homes the best digital reputation possible by providing professional photography. Nobody knows the home better than the owner, so it’s important to work together to create well-framed pictures that allow the buyer to feel like they’re walking the halls while flipping through their phone. If you’ve got them, include photos from throughout the year to show your home in different seasons. Images taken of the outside of homes in the winter can often feel overly drab and lackluster. Which leads to the next consideration…
5 ) It’s what’s inside that counts.
With the outside of your home potentially covered in snow, leaves, ice, and whatever else mother nature throws at us here in the Albany area, you have to depend less on curb appeal and really bring your interior A-game. Maybe you’ve heard of the phrase, “the eye buys”. Well, it’s never been more true than with buying a home. Arrange your home with the understanding that people walking through want to be able to imagine their own furniture and belongings without having to “see through” yours. Emotion plays a huge role in buying a home, so make it feel cozy and cheery with tasteful decorations and minimum clutter.
6 ) Minimize religious themes with neutral decor.
The holidays are a time where most homes are transformed into a winter wonderland of decorations. This one isn’t always easy and it’s really up to the buyer’s discretion, but try to stay religion-neutral while your home’s on the market. You don’t have to forget it’s the jolliest time of the year, just keep in mind that buyers like to see clean and neutral homes during showings, not homes with every hall decked like it’s the North Pole! For example, if you choose to feature a tree or menorah during showings, maybe don’t have them prominently featured in the front window.
7 ) Work with an expert in your area.
Teaming up with a reputable expert who knows your area’s market can be helpful in finding the right leads. With offices in Northville, Amsterdam, Speculator, Johnstown, Ballston Spa, and Guilderland, the agents at CMK & Associates have experience linking buyers and sellers in the Albany area.
8 ) Bonus tip…
Set a plate of delicious cookies & treats on the counter next to snowflake napkins to keep guests in a good mood. And crank the heat! 🔥
Don’t let the holidays freeze your listing! Send us a message or contact one of our offices to connect with an agent in your area. We also have an awesome live chat feature on here so feel free to reach out with questions. Let’s sell that home!