Editor’s Note: This blog was originally published in January 2021 and has been revised to reflect industry statistics, trends, and updates.
As the winter season begins, many sellers traditionally re-evaluate real estate listing tactics, such as staging and design, price adjustments, or taking a complete break. Similar to 2020, real estate experts are predicting current market trends and other global and financial changes comparable to busy spring and summer seasons.
According to Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the National Association of Realtors: “This winter, there will be more sales compared to pre-pandemic winters going back all the way to 2006.”
Contributing factors include high demand, low inventory, and competitive rates. Many prospective buyers are also seeking additional space, as more organizations continue remote and hybrid work settings.
Learn more about these and other benefits, as well as tips for selling your home during the winter.
Top Reasons to Sell Your Home in the Winter
With this current seller’s market, buyers are faced with more competition, such as lower inventory levels, bidding wars, and navigating multiple offers. Since this is the expected norm for the near future, sellers have an advantage, even during the traditionally slower winter months.
Despite the cooler weather, there are several reasons why the current real estate market will remain hot this winter.
Increased Buyer Demand Combined With Low Inventory
Throughout 2020, many sellers and buyers adopted a wait-and-see approach, or were hesitant due to coronavirus pandemic mandates and restrictions. This last year, however, has proven otherwise. Pent-up demand and an increased buyer pool has facilitated full-price offers—or even higher. Competitive rates have also enticed more prospective home buyers, especially millennials and first-timers.
If you’re unsure of the current market, it’s best to consult a Contour Mortgage professional for further guidance.
Serious, Proactive Buyers Seeking Deals
Weather conditions, especially in cooler climates, often separate proactive buyers from browsers. The former won’t be deterred by cold, snow, and other seasonal elements. Lifestyle and professional transitions, such as job relocations, upgrades, or downsizing are also fueling the surge.
Those simultaneously selling and buying a home will urgently need a new living space prior to selling their current abode to maintain financial and lifestyle consistencies, as well as cover contingencies.
Corporate Bonuses, Tax Refunds & Relocation Reimbursements
With many businesses distributing end-of-year employee bonuses, incentives, and commissions, this additional funding is often designated toward homes, cars, or other big-ticket items. This also includes income tax refunds and Economic Impact (Stimulus) Payments, both of which can be used for down payments and additional home-buying costs, such as closing fees, realtor commissions, and other expenses.
As corporate relocations generally occur during the first quarter, many organizations provide partial or full reimbursements for housing and expenses.
Online Real Estate Listings & Virtual Open Houses
As online listings and quoting have become the industry standard, many mortgage lenders and realtors now conduct business through virtual meetings and video conferencing.
Gaining additional popularity during the height of coronavirus pandemic restrictions, virtual tours and livestream open houses hosted by realtors emulate in-person experiences while keeping home seekers safe. These also enable out-of-towners and others deterred by travel limitations, bad weather, or other restrictions.
Available Contractors for Quick Renovations & Improvements
t's easier to hire a contractor or repair person during the off-season should the property require significant repairs and improvements. Some companies might also offer more competitive deals and pricing.
Preparing Your Home to Sell During
the Winter: Quick Tips
Seasonal Features & Highlights: While spring and summer promote exterior features such as pools, deciduous trees, vegetable and flower gardens, and other natural landscaping, winter can jump-start in-home mechanics. These could include a new boiler or hot water heater, draft-free windows, HVAC system, gas fireplace, and smart technologies.
Manage Expectations & Possible Delays: Even with quick offers and contracts, bottlenecks could still occur with inspections, mortgages, contingencies, and other issues. If listing the home during December, plan for limited availability due to many real estate and financial industry organizations experiencing holiday closings or time off.
Focus on the Home’s Best Assets: With shorter days accompanied by additional hours of darkness, consider adding softer paint colors and other decorative elements facilitating natural light and brightness.
Maintain Flexibility During the Holidays: While some sellers might take a well-deserved real estate holiday break, anxious buyers typically do not. There’s no harm in stepping back, but it could result in you missing out on potential deals.
Consider Fair Pricing & Entertain All Offers: Due to the winter season typically being slower than others, prospective buyers might discover a low-ball offer. It’s important to discuss every option, and consult your realtor to negotiate a deal that’s best and final for both parties.
Leave the Work to the Professionals
When selling your home this winter, it’s best to partner with trained professionals, such as realtors, mortgage lenders, and other industry experts for additional guidance on trends, tips, and processes.