It’s snowing outside, temperatures are dipping low, the neighborhood is feeling festive — and you need to sell your house quickly.
This time of year is spent visiting family, feasting on turkey and giving gifts. Unfortunately, selling a home usually isn’t at the top of the holiday list. Many buyers don’t want to move their furniture and belongings in the winter, and the fact that the holiday season is coming up (creating both time and financial pressures) only compounds the situation.
How can you sell your home during the winter? These eight tips will help.
1. Price it to sell
Don’t overshoot with your asking price. Buyers who have the luxury of waiting until the weather gets warmer to purchase will overlook your home if the price seems too high. They’ll figure that you’ll either come down in price later, or they’ll find a better home elsewhere.
While you don’t want to sell your home for a song, you do need to be realistic about current market expectations. Set a price that’s fair for your home and your neighborhood based on area comps.
2. Offer incentives
Make spirits bright by offering bonuses for people who are willing to deal with a wintertime move. Cover the closing costs or install brand-new stainless steel appliances in the kitchen, for example. Special seller’s concessions and/or home improvements can sweeten the pot for buyers who are interested in your house but need that extra push to make an offer.
3. Display tasteful yet festive decorations
You want buyers to be able to picture themselves leading a happy life in your home, and evoking some holiday spirit as you stage your home for showings is a great way to do that. From hanging a wreath on the front door to decking out your mantel with fragrant winter greenery, dressing your home in holiday splendor can help buyers fall in love.
Just make sure not to go overboard, and don’t include decorations that are overtly religious or too personal. You’re trying to appeal to as broad an audience as possible.
4. Use the weather to your advantage
House hunters searching in the winter months have a pretty miserable time of it. From trekking through the snow to driving around in dangerous conditions, wintertime house hunting can put people in a less-than-jovial mood — which can translate to how they feel about your home.
Put them in a jolly mood by presenting your home as a warm, welcoming escape from the elements. Set the furnace to a cozy level, “light” flameless candles on the mantel, offer a warm beverage and homemade treats. Buyers will be tempted to linger, which gives them even more opportunity to admire everything your home has to offer.
5. Boost curb appeal
Don’t neglect your home’s exterior just because the snow is falling. A blanket of white may mean you don’t need to worry about tending to the flower beds, but you still want buyers to be inspired by the overall property.
Keep walkways clear and salted, remove any debris, and make sure everything is in tip-top shape, from the trim to the gutters. If your home looks run-down or neglected when buyers pull up to the curb, they may decide it’s not worth getting out of the car.
6. Create a knockout online listing
Today’s buyers do the majority of their house hunting online, and that’s especially true when the weather outside is frightful. Make sure your online listing is full of high-quality photos that show off your home’s selling points. Photos of the exterior in all seasons can help, as can including a video tour.
7. Focus on buyers with a similar deadline
Many people house hunting during the winter months are doing so because they’re also on a tight deadline. Target buyers who are eager to move ASAP, like those moving to your area for a job or investors looking to buy a new property before the tax year ends.
How do you target these groups? Just ask your experienced real estate agent. Which leads us to …
8. Don’t DIY your home sale
The “for sale by owner” route may not be the best strategy if you’d like your home to sell quickly — especially if this is your first time as a FSBO seller. Seek out a trusted real estate agent by asking friends and family members for recommendations and by looking through the Trulia Agent Directory to find top-quality referrals. A real estate agent can give you peace of mind so that you can actually enjoy the holidays yourself.