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5 Tips for Selling a Home In Winter

5 Tips for Selling a Home In Winter

In most parts of the country, winter is a slower time for real estate sales. Buyers hibernate, inventory shrinks, and sales languish.

Selling a home in winter can be a bit more challenging, but don’t panic. With a few winter-specific selling tips in your pocket, you’ll be able to put the best face on any winter listing.

Tip #1: Display the year-round beauty of your listing.

Spring Home

Include photos of your listing at prettier times of the year.

Landscaping typically doesn’t look its best during the winter months. Lawns are brown, trees are bare, and shrubs are shriveled.

Give buyers a sense of the year-round beauty of your listing. Display spring, summer and fall photos of your listing along with your open house marketing materials. Would-be buyers won’t want to see the inside of your home if the outside isn’t appealing. So sellers need to make sure their property projects a warm and inviting feeling. So repaint the front door, trim hedges, blow the leaves and plant some winter flowers for added curb appeal.

Tip #2: “Warm and cozy” is key.

Warm Home Fireplace

Turn on the heat, and use throws and area rugs to instantly warm a room.

Stepping from the winter chill into a warm, snug home will result in sighs of relief. Stepping into a drafty, unheated space will result in sighs of annoyance.

Create a warm and welcoming ambiance to encourage the right buyer reaction:

  • Set the thermostat to a comfortable level (between 65 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit).
  • Don’t start a fire (for safety reasons), but do highlight a functional fireplace.
  • Open shades and blinds to let in natural light and warmth.
  • Seal window and door cracks.
  • Add snuggly throws to seating areas.

Tip #3: Let it shine.

Home with LIghts on

Leave the lights on.

With the days growing shorter, sellers need to be mindful of keeping their home well-lit even when they aren’t present. Lights on timers are ideal for homes that are empty or for the early evening hours when the seller may not be at home. Make it as light as possible so that it is engaging and inviting drawing in prospective buyers.

Tip #4: Remember that lending will still be tight this winter.

Lending Tight

Tight lending standards will limit the buyer pool.

Most industry experts agree that conventional lending standards will remain tight over the winter. The average conventional purchaser maintained a FICO score of 762, and a loan-to-value (LTV) ratio of 79 percent in September, 2012. Those impressive figures indicate that less-perfect borrowers will have a hard time obtaining conventional financing.

FHA and VA loan programs continue to operate under flexible credit standards, but can’t be utilized for all property purchases.

Keep the tight lending climate in mind when pricing and marketing your winter listings.

Tip #5: Use a smaller inventory to your advantage.

Sold Sign

Thinner inventory could work in your favor.

Inventory often shrinks during the winter. With fewer houses on the market, it’s easier to give your listing a comparative advantage.

Review comps and make a list of your home’s unbeatable features. Is your house the only one in its price range with a fireplace? Is your listing the only home available within a preferred school district?

Unique features can be tough for buyers to notice on their own, so don’t be hesitant to boast your listing’s greatness. Those distinct advantages could make the difference between a winter sale and a winter slump.

We look forward to working with our owners in 2015. Stay warm this winter!

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