5 Tips to Ensure Your Home Sells in the Winter
BOSTON (MainStreet) -- The fall home-selling season is a lot like the college-football season -- both normally end around Thanksgiving, but a smaller post-season keeps going long after that.
"It used to be that spring and summer were the hot times to buy or sell houses, but people are much more mobile now. If you want to sell your house these days, you don't necessarily have to wait until spring to put it on the market," says Brad Knapp, a National Association of Realtors regional vice president and an agent with Henkle Schueler & Associates in suburban Cincinnati.
|Staging a home's interior can be part of selling real estate in winter. Baking cookies or an apple pie shortly before househunters arrive will give a home an inviting smell when would-be buyers come in from the cold.|
True, most would-be homebuyers and sellers in colder climates still call it quits from late November until late February or so.
But Knapp says consumers who face job relocations, divorces or other personal situations requiring immediate moves keep the market humming all winter long."There are fewer buyers and sellers in the marketplace during the winter, but they're all serious buyers and sellers," he says. "They all have a sense of urgency or they wouldn't be in the market at all." But how can a would-be seller attract a buyer when there's ice on a home's walkway, snow covering the flowerbeds and little natural light to make a place look bright? Here are five things Knapp says homeowners must do if they want to heat up the chances of selling a property this winter: Set a realistic asking price
House hunters expect discount prices in the winter, as they know any homeowner who lists a property during the period really needs to sell. So Knapp recommends sellers list their homes at realistic prices to begin with -- without any extra "air" for haggling. "We've been in a buyer's market for so long now in most of the country that buyers are trained to lowball," he says. "The best way to avoid that is to price a home accurately in first place." Advertise with snow-free pictures
If possible, you or your agent should commission your home's advertising photos before it snows. If that's not feasible, make arrangements to have a photographer come out the first time the snow melts -- even if there's just a brief winter thaw. You can also have a photographer digitally alter photos to take out snow, but proceed with caution. Too much digital editing can open you or your agent up to deceptive-advertising allegations.
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