Windermere Professional Partners

Home Sellers: Slow Season Doesn't Mean No Sale

testing December 1, 2011
Last updated July 2, 2019

Winter may not be the best time to sell but that is no reason to despair. The truth is that people always have to move. Whether it is a job transfer, expiring lease or other personal circumstances, there are buyers who must find a home in the dead of winter. Many of the perceived problems with selling in the winter are less important today. The National Association of Realtors reports that nine out of ten buyers search for their home online. This negates many weather related issues,as potential buyers are able to decide on properties without visiting in person.

Although there are fewer buyers in most areas, they may be more motivated. What is especially true in this region, (with strong bio-science, high tech and aerospace industries), is that skilled professionals are always moving in. When people have to move, they can only choose from the homes that are on the market at that time. By taking your home off the market you may be missing a potential sale.

With fewer homes on the market you’ll have a chance to stand out in a smaller field of competitors. The fact is that many homes are pulled off the market by year’s end if they haven’t sold. This period, from Thanksgiving through to the new year is traditionally the slowest time of year. People are busy as they focus on family and the holidays.

So what are some tips for helping sell a home in a slow season?

Dealing with needed maintenance and repairs is always necessary. Thorough cleaning and removing clutter, inside and out, will also improve how a home shows. Staging (making your home look bigger, brighter, warmer and more appealing) may help sell a home at any time but it may be most important for a winter sale. You can convey a cozy impression in winter by turning up the thermostat or having a fire in the fireplace for viewings. This simple step can give you an edge over many homes on the market.

“If you have a vacant house in winter with the heat turned down to 50, chances are someone will make a very low offer,” said Regina Madiera-Gorden, Tacoma Real Estate Agent. “And if you can leave at least a few pieces of furniture behind, it has more of an impact.” Another interesting idea is to display photos of your property in summer.

Although it seems obvious, keep sidewalks and driveways clear of ice and snow. Many homeowners don’t pay attention to this winter duty. However, for safety, aesthetics, and competitive advantage it is very important.

“People don’t like to deal with that,” said Dawn Medling, another Tacoma Real Estate Agent. “Attention to detail will help your home stand out, and if you want to sell the house everything needs to be shoveled and clear. Good lighting is essential in the winter when homes seem darker because there is less daylight. To combat the gloom, keep on as many lights as possible during showings. Open window coverings to take advantage of natural light. The lower sun of winter days will show up dirty windows. Clean off grime to help with light and appearance.

If evening showings are necessary, (and these days the sun goes down early, so they usually are) have adequate outside illumination for drive-by visitors. Even a few tasteful holiday decorations can help. The festive season gives you an extra chance to make your home stand out, even in the dark.

Aggressive and realistic pricing may be the biggest factor. A properly priced home will sell in any market. This is where it is essential to work with a Realtor who knows the local market and the price levels of similar homes. Winter is no time to go it alone. If you’re looking for an agent to help you sell your home this winter, contact us.