Selling your house this winter doesn’t have to be a chilling experience

Preparation and price are key to making your house attractive to buyers

Created date

December 19th, 2018
Greg Kinnear of RE/MAX Advantage Realty in Ellicott City, Md., is one of Erickson Living’s preferred real estate agents who has helped many Oak Crest residents sell their homes.

Greg Kinnear of RE/MAX Advantage Realty in Ellicott City, Md., is one of Erickson Living’s preferred real estate agents who has helped many Oak Crest residents sell their homes.

Think winter is traditionally the slowest seller’s market? Think again. We’re not in a traditional real estate market. With mobile apps and online listings, home shoppers can now virtually tour your home without ever setting foot outside. And fewer houses on the market means less competition when it comes to selling. 

In fact, Redfin analyzed more than 7 million home sales over a recent four-year period and split the data into seasons, according to when the homes were first listed. What they found was among spring listings, 18.7% of homes fetched above asking price, with winter listings not far behind at 17.5%. And while 48% of homes listed in spring sold within 30 days, 46.2% of homes in winter did the same.

“The winter is generally slower than the spring and summer, but there are still people looking to buy, and the buyers are generally more serious and motivated, says Greg Kinnear, an associate of RE/MAX Advantage Realty in Ellicott City, Md.

So, what’s the key to selling your house quickly this winter? Experts say setting the right price and having it move-in ready is essential.

Ready to go

In most cases, move-in ready means fixing small things like holes or cracks in the walls or ceilings, making sure the carpets are clean, a fresh coat of paint on the walls, and newly caulked tubs and showers.

But in some cases, reaching turnkey status may mean you need to spend money in order to make money. Major defects could mean anything from a leaky roof to a cracked driveway with potholes. But fixing these could mean the difference between selling your house in two weeks versus two months.

Just as important as having your house move-in ready is setting the right price.

Hiring a professional real estate agent is a great way to both market your house and determine its worth. Experienced agents know the current market and will price your home accordingly.

Oak Crest Sales Counselor Kelly Friend can also provide important tips on selling your house, finding a reputable real estate agent, and once your house sells, hiring movers.

“We understand that selling a house can be very stressful, but with the help of our Erickson Realty and Moving Services program, the stress is taken away and replaced by peace of mind no matter what time of the year it is,” says Friend.

Tips for getting your house ready this winter

When it comes to improvements, the general rule in real estate is that buyers seek the least expensive home in the best neighborhood they can afford. In terms of improvements, this means you want a home that fits in the neighborhood but is not over-improved.

Here are a few budget-friendly ways to get your house ready to sell this winter:

Clear the way. If it’s snowing outside make sure walkways, driveways, and decks are shoveled and salted so buyers can safely and easily access your home.

Create curb appeal. You never know when someone will drive by. Be sure to keep your lawn clear of leaves and debris. Place some miniature potted evergreens on your front porch, freshen up your front door with a colorful wreath, and replace that old doormat with a new one.

Lighten and brighten. Open the curtains, pull up the shades, remove the screens, and put in the brightest bulbs possible. A well-lit room gives the illusion of open space. And since the sun sets earlier this time of year, don’t forget to keep the lights on outside as well.

Declutter. Remove all appliances from kitchen countertops. Organize cabinets and closets. And don’t forget to remove personal possessions. Less clutter makes the space feel bigger and it’s easier for prospective buyers to picture themselves in a home free of personal affects.

Deep clean. Shampoo rugs, clean all windows, dust ceiling fan blades and chandeliers, and make sure bathrooms are spotless. And keep it clean between showings.

Warm reception. This is no time to save on your heating bill. Keep the heat up so your home is warm and inviting. If you have a fireplace, light it up. There’s no better way than a crackling fire to make buyers feel at home.