Is January A Good Time to List My Home For Sale
One of the questions I often get from perspective home sellers is should I list my home in January or wait until spring? There really is no right or wrong answer.
Much of the decision making process should center around the personal circumstances of the individual, along with local market conditions.
For example, what if there are very few homes for sale where you’re located in January? Low inventory is fantastic for home sellers. Basic economics of supply and demand tells us that most things sell for more money when there is less of them available.
It has been proven time and again this applies to housing. Unfortunately many people assume incorrectly that homes do not sell in the winter.
Aside from holiday festivities, winter is a time when most people wind down and wait out the cold for warmer weather. For home sellers, it can seem like winter time is a less than ideal time to try and list a house.
Surely it is better to try and sell in spring, when everyone is feeling a bit more energetic and motivated?
This assumption is sometimes is unfounded, and has led many sellers to miss out on great selling opportunities that come with winter or just coming out of winter. In fact, it may be easier to sell your home in the January-March time frame than in July.
So if you are trying to determine whether it makes sense to sell your home now or wait until the spring, consult a local professional who can give you the best advice.
If you decide selling now is the right move you will want to be armed with some of the best tips on how to sell a home in the winter. Aside from the obvious of making sure your home is priced correctly, there are a number of helpful pointers in the article worth a look.
Homes Sell In Winter And Yours Can Too
If you are in the mood to sell your house, doing so in winter can actually lead to really great results. January turns out to be a fantastic time to list your house, and winter in general is coming to be accepted as as good a time as any – and better than some – for selling.
Many lament over selling a home during the holidays due to how busy they are but are now tuning in to the prospect of selling in January instead.
In fact I am having this discussion right now with a few of my clients including one who lives in Grafton Massachusetts. The debate is whether they should list their home in January or wait until spring.
Of course, the thought process with most sellers is their home looks best in the spring. I could write a book about how many people tell me how awful their home looks in the winter compared to the spring. What many don’t realize is everyone is in the same boat.
There are a couple of things to consider about selling your home in winter, including:
The Statistics Are in Your Favor
Redfin, a real estate organization, took a look at home sales from 2010 through 2014 to determine how well homes sold based on the season. The findings were surprising for many people, because they went against the standard assumption that winter was a time to avoid trying to sell a home.
Redfin found that homes did sell best in spring, but only by a small margin. The next best time to sell a home turned out to be winter, followed by summer and then fall.
The winter home sales were only one percentage point lower than the figures for spring, with summer trailing quite a bit behind.
Homes in winter often sell quickly and for a good price, something worth thinking about if you are in the position to sell in January, February or March.
Maybe listing your home for sale now instead of waiting until spring is not a bad idea after all? All real estate markets are different but what I have found here in Massachusetts is that just before Spring is a great time to sell.
You might be wondering why and the answer is simple. Most sellers wait until Spring to put their home on the market. All of a sudden there are a lot more houses for sale. Buyers have far more options to choose from.
If you get your house listed a bit earlier before the mad dash, you’ll have less competition. There will be a pent up demand from buyers coming out of the winter months. Houses that come on in the February to March time frame tend to sell quickly.
Something you might want to consider instead of waiting until May like a lot of people do.
Buyers Are Motivated
Buyers are like everyone else – they want to be warm and cozy when the temperatures are frigid outside. So if a buyer chooses to leave the comforts of home to look at housing stock, he or she is already more motivated than a buyer going out in the balmier months.
Buyers are working with Realtors just like you are, and are given the same information that you are given.
They know that winter is not the most popular time for home sales, but are trying to buy anyway. They may have a child on the way, or they may want to start out the new year with a new home, they may have to get out of their current living situation out of necessity – whatever the reason, they are serious about purchasing a house.
You Can Create a Truly Inviting Home
There are few things more inviting than a warm, cozy home when winter weather is here. Buyers are going to be out wandering the neighborhoods searching for the right home, and fighting cold weather to do so. You can stage your home to take advantage of the instinctive need for shelter and the many associations that come with the winter season.
A fire in the fireplace, warm lighting, the smell of cookies baking in the oven. A snow-filled yard and snow covered roof. Do it right and buyers may not want to leave, which gives you leverage in trying to sell the home. Many of these are discussed in detail in the article on how to sell a home in the winter mentioned above.
There is Often Less Housing Stock
Plenty of sellers are still convinced that winter is not the time to try and sell a house. If their houses are on the market, they may pull them off as winter comes around. If they are considering selling, they may put off the sale until the weather gets warmer.
Because sellers are convinced that winter is bad for sales, there are often less houses available for buyers to look at. The situation can become a perfect storm of sorts, with your house perfectly positioned for motivated buyers, all thanks to the weather.
This is absolutely the case in my area of Massachusetts. Every year like clock work you start to see those who have been unsuccessful during the summer and fall months taking their homes off the market come November-December. Many of these homeowners will put their homes back on the market come springtime.
Here in Massachusetts our multiple listing service requires that a home be off the market for 60 days before it can come back on the market as a “new listing”. Many will plan accordingly and have their homes off the market for a minimum of 60 days.
Most people now realize that days on market is something that nearly every home buyer looks at. It is one of the reasons real estate agents are constantly emphasizing the importance of pricing a home correctly from day one! Smart home sellers understand this and will look to reset the clock so to speak.
Buyers Are Emotional During The Winter
The holiday season can be one of the best times of the year, but it can also be incredibly stressful. Emotions tend to run high, especially during the early winter months and as the holiday season winds down. Emotional buyers are more likely to make the decision to buy a home, perhaps your home.
They may be thinking of filling the home with their own family, or they may just be ready to end the search and settle down. Emotional buyers are the kind of buyers you want if you want to sell.
Corporate Moves Happen in January
January is the most popular month for corporate transfers. People who are transferring for work are highly motivated buyers, and are limited on how much time they can spend looking for a house. If you are in an area where people tend to get transferred for work, you can take advantage of the situation by offering your home for sale in January.
If you are planning on buying and selling a home around the same time frame, selling in January may be a benefit.
Many home owners need to sell a home first in order to put themselves in a better position to buy the next one. The vast majority cannot afford to carry two mortgages at once or are even comfortable about the thought of doing so.
When you don’t have your home sold and the spring market hits with lots of great properties coming on the market, you will not be in a position to buy. In many circumstances it makes sense to get your home sold before the spring market.
You Have a Bit More Control Over Showings
Because of the season, buyers are usually more understanding if you have to limit showings to times that are more convenient for you. If you are worried about how disrupting the sales process will be to your day-to-day life, winter can provide you with a little peace of mind. You will have the control you need to feel comfortable and still maintain much of your normal schedule.
This is not to say that you should regularly turn down showings or make it difficult for people to see your home. After all if buyers can’t get in to see it selling will be very difficult!
Opinions From Top Real Estate Experts
You have probably heard that saying that all real estate is local. This statement could not be more true. What might be good advice in one market might be completely different in another.
Just think for a moment about the difference between selling a home in the winter in the North East vs selling in Florida or Arizona. Certainly night and day when it comes to seasonal home selling.
Ryan Fitzgerald a Realtor in Raleigh North Carolina recently asked a number of top real estate experts to give their opinion on whether it makes sense to wait until spring to sell a home. You can see a number of varying opinions by taking a look at this detailed article.
If you do decide to sell your home in January or shortly thereafter and live in a cold weather climate make sure you do what is necessary to make your home as inviting as possible.
This includes some of the very basic things like keeping driveways and walkways clear. In many locations ice damming can become a major issue. There is nothing that will scare a buyer away quicker than water damage.
Before putting your home on the market make sure you know how to prevent ice dams so you are not in the position of dealing with a major housing disaster. Trust me from experience many wish they knew how to deal with ice dams before last winter. By taking some smart precautions you can increase the chances of not having to deal with an ice dam problem.
Additional Helpful Home Selling Articles
- How to winterize your home when selling via Rochester Real Estate Blog.
- Best winter curb appeal tips from numerous real estate experts via Inlanta Mortgage.
- More winter home selling advice via David Cronin.
- Advice for winterizing and selling a vacant home via RIS Media.
Use these additional helpful article to make selling your home in the winter easier and more productive. Hopefully the advice on whether you should list your home now or wait until spring has been helpful in your decision making process. Best of luck!
About the Author: The above Real Estate information on the should I list my home in January or wait until spring was provided by Bill Gassett, a Nationally recognized leader in his field. Bill can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 508-625-0191. Bill has helped people move in and out of many Metrowest towns for the last 32+ Years.
Thinking of selling your home? I have a passion for Real Estate and love to share my marketing expertise!
I service Real Estate sales in the following Metrowest MA towns: Ashland, Bellingham, Douglas, Framingham, Franklin, Grafton, Holliston, Hopkinton, Hopedale, Medway, Mendon, Milford, Millbury, Millville, Natick, Northborough, Northbridge, Shrewsbury, Southborough, Sutton, Wayland, Westborough, Whitinsville, Worcester, Upton and Uxbridge MA.