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Selling a home in the winter presents a different set of challenges compared with selling in the traditional spring and summer real estate season.

6 questions about selling your home in the winter

Are you putting your house on the market between November and January? Maybe you accepted a new job that's taking you somewhere else. Perhaps you found another home that is an upgrade from your current property. Maybe you're selling for a more unfortunate reason.

Whatever the reason is, selling a home in the winter presents a different set of challenges compared with selling in the traditional spring and summer real estate season. However, there are some unique benefits to selling in the offseason too.

Here are some questions you may be asking yourself as you start the process.

  1. Will anybody be looking to buy at this time of the year? In a year that's seen consistent low inventory (meaning homes available for sale), competitive situations, and rapidly increasing prices, new listings will be welcomed by buyers at any time of year. Last December in Seattle, the average home sold in 25 days and for 101% of list price. With inventory this year trending even lower than 2020, it's shaping up to be a favorable season for sellers.
  2. What if it snows? Your home is staged and photographed, but the forecast calls for snow. What now? It's important to have contingency plans for minor, medium, or massive storms. A few flakes won't tend to deter folks from touring. If schools are canceled, you may want to wait for the storm to pass before listing your home, as the first week on the market is the most important chance to make an impression. It's important to convert prospective buyers from seeing the house online to actually visiting with their agent in person. Regardless of the severity, make sure to keep walkways clear and safe for entry. Consider extra rubber door mats to protect delicate floors.
  3. Are holiday decorations appropriate? Holiday decorations are a great way to celebrate your family's unique traditions. However, when your home is on the market, your goal is to appeal to the broadest possible range of prospective buyers. Don't let your tree, menorah, or elf on a shelf become a distraction for someone who's trying to envision their family in this home next year. Your evergreen-scented candle or aunt Myra's annual holiday potpourri won't help. The only thing you want buyers smelling when they tour your home is the inside of their masks.
  4. What temperature is ideal? The last time you walked into a freezer, how close were your shoulders to your ears? It's not scientific, but you want a buyer to relax their shoulders when they enter your home. Around 68 degrees Fahrenheit is an optimal target for thermal comfort. This isn't the time to skimp on energy bills.
  5. What about the yard? As mentioned before, safe walkways and entrances are paramount. The good news about selling in the winter is that you won't be agonizing over keeping your grass green. The rain does that already! Buyers will understand a yard that's on "hiatus," but this can be a great time to play up any outdoor entertaining spaces. Firepits and twinkle lights are welcome!
  6. How do I make my home look its best? In the dark winter months, more light is better. This will be important both for listing photography, which is your home's first impression online, and for the experience buyers have while touring your home. If you're working with a stager, make sure they know which rooms will require additional lighting. Use warm bulbs and ensure they match. Both make a difference for photography and in-person tours. If you've been thinking about investing in cabinet or ceiling lighting, this is the season to go big. Buyers want light!

If you're ready to create your customized winter listing plan, a conversation with Jessie Culbert Boucher, a managing broker with Compass Seattle, is a great place to begin. Jessie is a listing specialist with 83 listings sold in the last two years, so she's uniquely qualified to create a plan to position, price, and market your home successfully during any month of the year.

Click here to learn more about Jessie and to contact her about your real estate inquiry.