Selling your home in the winter


By Steve Levine, President of Steve Levine Inc., and an agent for REMAX Professional Associates

Steve Levine, President of Steve Levine Inc. and an agent at REMAX Professional Associates. 508-735-4663.
Steve Levine, President of Steve Levine Inc. and an agent at REMAX Professional Associates. 508-735-4663.

As is true of most things, there is a season for home selling. In general, that season is spring. The weather is good, holidays are over and people have not yet become distracted by summer vacations. So what if you are one of those people who are planning to put your home on the market during the winter months? Here are some tips to help your home sell faster in the “off season.”

Most important of all, having an experienced sales agent can help your home sell faster during these sometimes challenging months. They understand how to carefully analyze the potential winter buyers and target market to them directly. For example, the prospective buyer of a home, during the holiday season, will undoubtedly be an incoming relocation buyer. Marketing to these individuals requires far more than merely placing ads in the local newspaper, as these buyers are often out of state. Typically, many of them rely almost exclusively on Internet sites to do most of their house-hunting before they even arrive.

Remember that you must consider the current market in addition to the past comparable sales when pricing your home. Comparing the prices of similar properties in your area that have sold recently will provide a great guideline, but often the market conditions are slightly different than they may have been when property “x” sold last summer. To entice buyers and agents into showing and selling the property, you may also want to think about offering incentives. Things like home warranties, special financing and even broker bonuses work very well to stimulate a sluggish market.

There is an old thought process that since there are less buyers looking during the winter, homes will be harder to sell. While there may be 50 percent less buyers during the holiday season, there may be 75 percent less sellers…thus you may find you actually have a competitive advantage. Also, buyers who are looking during the frigid cold are SERIOUS BUYERS!

When you are selling in the winter, paying attention to detail takes on special importance.

Open up blinds and curtains and let in the natural light during the daytime. If you are showing the house at night, turn on as many lamps as possible. As always, keep the home free of clutter.

Keep all the living areas at a comfortable temperature. If you have a fireplace, use it to create a warm, cozy effect when showing the house in the evening.

Warm, tasteful holiday touches around the house can add charm to your decor and give it a homey feel. Decorate with this in mind but remember that excessive decorations of any type may limit their vision of the room, so use your judgment.

If you bake for the holidays, plan to do it on days that you know buyers are coming. The lingering smells of sweets can add a welcoming scent to your home.

Keep the front walk and front steps shoveled and free of ice and keep porch lights in working order. Not only does it look better, it’s safer for prospects approaching your property.

Selling your home in winter can be a challenge, but with the help of a professional sales agent and attention to detail, you can put the odds in your favor. For more information on selling your home, or any other aspects of real estate, check out Steve Levine’s website at Steve is an agent with REMAX Professional Associates, and is nationally recognized as one of the number one selling agents in New England. He can be reached by phone at (508) 845-HOME (4663).

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