Choosing The Right Time To Sell
Most sellers are discouraged from listing their home on market in the fall and winter months.
If you’re one of those sellers, you are in good company. That spring and summer are the best seasons to sell is a long-standing mindset in the home selling realm. And it’s understandably not a bad rule. There are some positives, for example:
- The warmer months certainly have a large pool of buyers.
- It’s easier for sellers to manage their homes in the spring and summer (no snow clean up).
- Warmer days have a positive influence on mood and behavior (ie spring fever).
- Parents want to start the new school year in a new home.
- Homes with landscapes look more appealing in warm weather.
Selling in the Winter has its Advantages Too
Instead of waiting around for the perfect season, sellers are increasingly trying their luck in the winter and having great success.
Today’s buyers are social media savvy and can weather all storms in search for their home. Real estate in New York City changes hands quickly and bidding wars are common. For buyers, that means making a decision quickly. This is why real estate agents and brokers typically encourage their clients to make an offer quickly, rather than mull it over for a few days, as a property may be available on Tuesday and in contract on Friday.
Buyers who are financially ready don’t wait for a certain season to start their search. In reality, there are on social media sites weekly (if not daily) looking for that ideal fit. My husband and I, for example, have been searching for a bigger home since fall. If an interesting listing pops up on the market in the midst of a snow storm, we’re running to view the property, if it means gaining an advantage over other buyers. Serious buyers are always on the lookout for an opportunity – no matter the weather.
While you may still be stuck on the idea of spring as the optimal selling time, your outcome may be better by listing it now rather than waiting several months for spring to arrive. Here are four reasons why sellers should list their homes in the winter:
- Limited supply: Since most sellers follow the old rule of waiting to list in spring, there’s less supply on the market, which means less competition from other similar listings. Significantly, limited inventory is a big reason for bidding wars, which can result in above market value prices. Low inventory also creates nervousness in buyers since its impossible to predict the next time a similar property will pop up in the building or in the area. Therefore, the more you can control the size of your competition – rather than simply following what everyone else is doing – the better.
- Serious buyers shop in the winter: Waiting for a season to start a home search is an indication that you’re not in a rush to buy, you can wait another year or two for that ideal home. Sellers and buyers tend to be like minded in the belief that warmer months are the best times for the market. This works particularly well for serious buyers who cannot wait to close on a home and who hope to avoid competition. These are proactive shoppers seeking to take advantage of the less competitive market and who view this waiting game as outdated.
- Now may be better than later: If you want to secure the highest price for your property, you can’t just wait. You also need to make sure the economy is doing ok. The current bull market is the longest on record. But will it continue its run in 2019 or 2020? The main concerns for 2019 are rising interest rates and political dysfunction. In general, rising rates push down home prices. With interest rates increasing, you never know what the future holds for the real estate market. If you don’t want take the risk of a bearish market, I would lean towards listing the home as soon as possible.
- Highlight winter strengths: There is a lot of value in playing up your home’s ability to weather the winter. For instance, showcase the warmth of the home by its new or robust heating system or well-insulated windows. Turn on the fireplace, show off the Jacuzzi tub, emphasize the new roof or boiler. A property’s ability to handle the frigid New York temperatures is always a concern for a buyer.
Selling in the spring is a good idea, but there are also compelling reasons to list in the winter. Deciding when to sell can be a strategic move that should be thoroughly discussed with your real estate broker. An experienced real estate agent can build a comprehensive analysis of market conditions and sale comparisons so you can make an informed decision. Depending on your desired outcome, it may sometimes be detrimental to wait several months for the spring to come around.
Kamilla Mishiyeva is the founder of Paper Street Real Estate and the managing real estate broker. Contact us at (646) 945-3727 if you need help or advice on selling your home.