Selling Your House In The Winter: A Few Tips

Carey ChesneyNovember 17, 2020

When it comes to buying and selling homes in the winter there’s no shortage of opinions and, unfortunately, misconceptions. For example, many people think selling in the winter isn’t possible. That’s just not true. More than a million homes were sold in the U.S. last winter according to data from The National Association of REALTORS®.

If you’re ready to sell your home, why wait until the warmer months when you could be profiting now?

Worried about this particular winter with the pandemic going on? Talk to your real estate agent about how COVID-19 has affected real estate transactions, including changing the dynamics around open houses and virtual tours. In the meantime, read on to discover how selling your home in the winter can be a great approach.

Is Winter A Bad Time To Sell Your House?

To be clear, the answer is a definite no. People considering selling in the winter often wonder, “Should I wait until the spring to sell?” as that’s the traditional time of year that they hear the market is hot. In truth, selling in the winter can be financially beneficial compared to other seasons.

Here are a few reasons why:

Less Competition

Since many people consider spring to be the best season to sell your home, many homeowners wait to list their homes until then. This increases the amount of inventory potential home buyers have to look at. With fewer homes available in the winter, this may be a better time to put your home on the market.

Listing in the winter can give your property more attention. In addition, buyers might be more likely to shop when there are fewer people out there looking for the sake of social distancing. 

Serious Buyers Shop In The Winter

If a buyer is house hunting in the winter, they’re ready to move. Prospective buyers who shop during the winter months don’t want to miss out on the perfect home by taking the chance that another buyer will purchase the home before spring.

In the spring, the flood of new houses on the market coupled with freshly warmed weather can create a lot of “lookie-loos” who aren't really ready to buy.

In short, winter buyers are more likely to pull the trigger on making an offer on your home.

End-Of-The-Year Bonuses

Looking for ways to spend that holiday work bonus? Potential buyers are, too! Folks who receive a bonus during the winter months often start to think about using that extra cash to upgrade their homes. Sometimes, they want to get right to house hunting and strike while the iron (or bank account) is hot.

Highlight Winter Features

Showing your home in the winter months can highlight how your home can withstand the harsh elements. Potential buyers may want to see how snow falls off the roof or how easy it is to plow the driveway.

If you have a hot tub, captivating fireplace or other similar features, winter will help them shine for prospective buyers and make them feel cozy and right at home.

Tips For Selling Your Home In The Winter

Now that you have a better understanding of the benefits of selling your home during the winter, you may be wondering how you can do it. There are lots of tips for winter selling, so let's take a look at a few key ones to keep in mind.

Make Sure The Home’s Temperature Is Comfortable

While you may be trying to save money on your utility bill, it’s important to remember that you want buyers to feel warm and welcome the second they walk in the door. Keeping your home warm is one way to make it easier to connect with it.

Handle The Ice And Snow

If you live in a climate with snow and ice, it’s crucial to keep your home free and clear of potential obstacles or safety hazards. Your sidewalks, driveway and doorstep should remain clear, giving potential buyers easy access to the house and helping them avoid a nasty fall.

Properly Tend To The Exterior Of Your Home

One obstacle you’ll face when selling your home in the winter is the grime that accumulates outside. During the harsh weather, your windows and siding often develop a layer of dirt that can leave your home looking drab and unappealing.

Remember, first impressions are everything. To ensure you’re making the best first impression, continue to clean the exterior of your home.

Keep An Eye Out For Ice Dams

Ice dams might look magical, but they can increase the wear and tear on your property by forming around eaves and gutters and causing serious damage. To avoid mold, ruined insulation, or peeling paint, take care of ice dams as soon as you see them.

How To Sell Your Home Fast In The Winter

If you really want to sell your home in a hurry (or flurry?), there are a few more things you can do in addition to the key points mentioned above:

Prioritize Coziness

Buyers want to feel warm and cozy the second they walk into your home. Add blankets, rugs, candles and pillows throughout the space. If you have a gas fireplace, make sure it’s pumping out heat and light during showings.

These little touches will help buyers visualize their lives in your home, aka their new home!

Add Paint To Your Walls

It’s surprising how far a little paint can go. Even if you just freshen up the colors in a few rooms, it may completely transform the entire home. Remember to choose neutral colors that most buyers can enjoy.

Make The Most Out Of Your Entrance

In addition to ensuring your sidewalks and driveway are clean, you may want to add a little personality to your entrance for additional curb appeal. Lanterns, a new doormat and other little touches can really go a long way.

Show Your Home During The Day

Daytime hours are limited during the winter months but showing your home during the light of day helps buyers see the entire inside and outside. If you must show it at night, make sure all of your exterior and interior lights are on.

Be Mindful Of Holiday Decor

Even though it’s the holidays, it’s important to pay attention to what’s on display throughout your home. While buyers don’t expect you to avoid seasonal decor, you may want to keep it as neutral as possible. For example, keep it simple with tasteful white lights as opposed to the flashing multicolor lights.

Show Buyers What The Home Looks Like During Other Months

To give buyers an idea of what the home looks like during other months, you may want to provide a photo album for them to browse. This will give them an idea of what they can expect when spring arrives. In the album try to highlight your curb appeal, gardens, patio, decks and other exterior features. You can do this with the listing photos as well.

Bottom Line

Don’t freeze up when it comes to the thought of selling your home in the winter. You may be surprised at how easy it can be. Use the tips covered here and always keep learning and researching other home selling tips. That way you'll be prepared no matter what time of year you decide to sell.

Carey Chesney

Carey Chesney brings a wealth of residential and commercial real estate experience to readers as a Realtor® and as a former Marketing Executive in the fields of Health Care, Finance and Wellness. Carey is based in Ann Arbor and attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he majored in English, and Eastern Michigan University, where he recieved his Masters in Integrated Marketing & Communications.