We are still in the middle of the Coronavirus pandemic, but buyer demand this winter is still high. People have still been moving out of cramped cities into neighborhoods with more space. Many are willing to take advantage of the current record-low interest rates. It’s a seller’s market this season with homes selling quickly and prices going up.
Winter is usually the slowest time for home sales, but that’s not so this year. The biggest mistake would be to not list your home just because it’s winter.
Here’s the top winter-season seller mistakes and how to avoid them when you have a flurry of potential buyers.
Mistake #1: Taking home off the market just because it’s winter
In the winter, there are typically less homes on the market, so that means there is less competition. You likely won’t have to lower your price just because it’s a less popular time to sell. Buyers will be doing less shopping around and will consider your home more seriously than they would in the spring or summer when window shopping is more common. Buyers in the winter are serious about buying, and buying quickly.
Homes not selling well in the winter is a common myth that you shouldn’t let deter from your home-selling goals. For 5 more myths to watch out for surrounding selling your home, see 6 Top Real Estate Myths About Selling Your Home Not to Believe.
Mistake #2: Not taking down your outside holiday decorations
A big turn off for buyers in the winter is seeing the place covered in flashy holiday decorations. It can signal the current homeowners are not that invested in selling and leaving the home promptly. It also forces potential buyers to picture the current homeowner’s family still in the house, instead of allowing them to picture their own moving in soon.
It is possible to leave a few minimal decorations up like string lights, as long as the decorations aren’t too over-the-top. You can ask your Realtor for advice on what decorations wouldn’t turn off buyers. This of course applies to the holiday season and not after. If New Years Day has already passed, definitely take down any seasonal decor.
It’s very important to keep things neutral to allow buyers to visualize themselves living in the home. For tips on staging the home see How to Stage Your Home to Sell for Top Dollar.
Mistake #3: Skimping on listing promotions
Listing promotions spread the word about your home being for sale and put it in the best light possible to appeal to your ideal potential buyer. You may want to clean up your front yard and add new paint to your front door or living room to make your listing photos pop.
Listing photos can include what your home looks like in the summer, if you have those, but it’s important to also include photos that show your home currently during the winter. If you use only summer photos, it may appear to buyers that the photos are outdated and the house may have problems, hinting at why it’s still on the market.
While listing promotions will fall under your Realtor’s duties, if you’re working with one, it’s still a good idea to know how to help. This is especially true if you need to declutter and stage your home yourself, to prepare for professional photos and virtual tours that your Realtor may make to help sell your home.
You should prepare your home for a professional stager if you decide to hire one, or if your Realtor includes hiring one in their services. It’s also a good idea to hire a professional cleaning service to deep clean your home prior to staging or photos. Note that these are all costs that provide great ROI when you’re looking to sell your home for top dollar.
Mistake #4: Hiding problems instead of doing repairs
Home buyers are in the market to find a home that is move-in ready and won’t need a lot of work right off the bat. They aren’t going to want to remodel or do repairs during the winter. Your best bet is to make it easy on them and do both the big repairs and the quick fixes before listing.
Problems that might become more obvious to buyers in the winter, even if you’ve become used to them, should be addressed and fixed as soon as possible.
Have your Realtor do a walk-through of the home, if possible, before making an appointment with a professional appraiser. This will give you a fresh perspective, in case you have missed something that you may just not notice anymore. It will also save time and the hassle of having to pay for more than one appraisal appointment if you got a low appraisal amount the first time.
Appraisers will take a hard, unbiased look at the home and all of the appliances, air conditioning, flooring, and more. For a quick guide of what appraisers will look for and what to do before your appointment, see How to Prepare for a Real Estate Appraisal.
Mistake #5: Not winterizing your home
If you do live in the Sacramento area, this may not apply to you, but be sure to discuss it with your Realtor.
When preparing your home to sell during the winter, it’s a good idea to make a few appointments with service providers, to ensure that your home is poised for the cold weather and that no problems brought on by the freezing temperatures will deflate the value of your home while you’re in the midst of buyer home tours. Some suggestions are:
- Hiring someone to clean out the gutters
- Make an appointment for HVAC maintenance
- Getting your roof inspected for leaks
- Basically anything an appraiser could potentially flag that will decrease the value of your home
On the other hand, if you are currently living in the home and allowing in-person showings, it’s a good idea to leave the heat on and up to keep the potential buyers cozy and do not leave unattractive draft-stoppers under your doors.
The top mistake to avoid when selling your home?
The biggest mistake would be not working with the right Realtor – or any Realtor at all. If you are working with a Realtor but they are not understanding your needs, you have the option to switch to a new one.
If you’re considering not working with a Realtor at all, to save money, please check out Top 5 Reasons Why You Need a Realtor to Help Sell Your Home to find out why it’s legally and financially in your best interest to have a professional on your side.
The home selling process can be an intimidating one, especially during a pandemic. Just know that you can still have a successful home selling experience when you have a good Realtor in your corner working with you.
If state safety guidelines are still required, check out the Coronavirus Real Estate Guide on how Realtors and potential home buyers can view your property safely. After that, discuss with your Realtor how the process will work, as guidelines can always change.
If you’re looking to buy or sell a home in the Sacramento area, contact us at Quantum Real Estate to schedule a free consultation. We’ll help you through each step of the process.