Thinking of selling your home sometime next year? Why wait? Existing home sales have increased from November to December an average of 4.5 percent in the past three winters. That means even though there are less homes on the market, buyers are out there buying at a steady, if not increased, pace. That’s great news for you winter sellers!
If you’ve got a home on the market right now, you might feel like the Grinch stole your Christmas. Everyone knows winter is the season of giving, and spring is the season of selling. Plus, working home showings into a busy holiday schedule is like trying to shove a 20-foot tree into your living room.
But selling your home during the holidays doesn’t have to spell disaster. You may be surprised that there are advantages to selling your home in the winter. Here are some of our favorites.
The internet has no seasons
Traditional home buying and selling seasons have evolved as a result of instant internet access to property listings. While spring is still the hottest home-buying season, serious home buyers are always on the lookout, checking out the latest listings on their tablet before bed or while waiting for their kid’s football game to end.
Today’s buyers do the bulk of their home searches online, and that’s especially true when the weather outside is not so cheerful. This means your online listing and photos are especially important. Make sure you use 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 and night shots of the exterior with all the lights on.
Make sure you work with an experienced real estate agent to get your listing up-to-snuff for online house hunters. An expert agent can help you know how to show off your home’s best features.
Competition dries up
Come spring, sellers will flood the market and your home will be just another fish in a great big pond. But right now, you’ve practically got the market to yourself.
Since 2014, existing home inventory has fallen an average of 15 percent from November to December. That’s 15 percent less competition on the market if you list your home during the winter. Buyers have fewer homes to choose from, which means you could sell your house faster.
Buyers mean business
Most folks want to curl up under a blanket next to a warm fire on a cold winter day. If a buyer is trudging around in freezing weather to look at your home, they must be serious. That’s because many winter buyers are working against a deadline, whether it’s an expiring lease, relocation, or a contract on their current home.
Getting tax breaks before year’s end
Winter home buyers may also be motivated to capture the tax benefits of buying a home before year-end.
Home buyers can write off some of the expenses of their home purchase on their taxes. There are usually multiple tax benefits of owning a home they can take advantage of, too. Typically, a homeowner can count on the following being tax-deductible:
• Mortgage interest
• Private mortgage insurance, or PMI, premiums
• Real estate taxes
These tax benefits could make a potential home buyer want to get a house bought and closed before the new year. And if you’re selling your home and buying another, you could ring in the new year with more tax breaks, too.
Remember that selling or buying a house can complicate your tax situation, which is why it’s always a great idea to lean on a tax expert’s knowledge. They can make sure you get every deduction and credit you’ve earned.
You may think people are less likely to see your home during their hectic holiday schedules. That can be true, but keep in mind most people have more time off around the holidays. That means more time for browsing their favorite home apps, dreaming about their future decor, and even scheduling home showings.
Set the buying mood
Nothing says welcome home quite like walking out of the cold into a nice, warm house that’s dressed up for the holidays. Admit it: Your home looks great this time of year!
It’s easier to make a house feel like home in the wintertime. Here are a few tips to help you set the buying mood.
• Keep it simple. Decorations should accent — not overpower — a room. Less is more. You don’t want your Christmas tree to take up half the living room.
• Crank up the cozy. Light a fire in the hearth, play soft holiday music in the background, and prepare fresh-baked goods or mulled cider for guests.
• Shine a light outside. Winter days get dark early. Brighten your home’s exterior with outdoor spotlights. A few holiday lights are okay. Just save the Clark Griswold light show for next year.
Remember, the nicer your home presents itself the more likely it is to sell — and for more money. With all these advantages on your side, hopefully selling your home in the winter won’t feel so daunting!