During the winter, your thoughts turn to cozying up by the fire, building snowmen with the children and sledding. But it’s also a great time to consider listing your house for sale.
“There are many advantages to listing your home in the winter,” says Michele Klug, CEO of the Klug Realty Group, Keller Williams. “There is reduced competition, and serious buyers are attracted to the winter ambiance and potential tax benefits. Since many sellers choose to wait for the warmer months, there are fewer homes on the market during the winter, which makes your property stand out more, increasing your chances of a quicker sale and potentially getting a better price.”
Klug notes that buyers she sees during the winter are more serious and motivated. “This type of buyer is often driven by specific reasons, such as job relocations, family changes or investment opportunities,” she says. “This can lead to quicker and smoother transactions, since these buyers are less likely to engage in prolonged negotiations or back out of deals.”
Know that cozy feeling you have coming home on a cold evening? Capitalize on it! This is a unique opportunity to showcase your home’s warm attributes. Potential buyers will appreciate your fireplace, central heating or well-insulated windows. “These features can become major selling points and help buyers envision themselves comfortably living in your home,” Klug says.
The winter landscape also provides a beautiful backdrop for photography. “Snow-covered landscapes and holiday decorations can make your home look charming and inviting in listing photos,” she says. “A winter backdrop can help your property stand out and create a more appealing online presence, which is crucial in today's digital age where most buyers start their search online.”
A bonus: You won’t have to maintain a pristine outdoor landscape as you do in the summer, which can be time-consuming and expensive. The focus instead shifts to your home’s interior and overall condition, which simplifies the selling process.
Wintry months also give the gift of time. “Holiday vacations and extended weekends allow sellers and buyers more time for showings and negotiations,” Klug notes. “Also, many real estate agents have fewer clients during these months, which affords them a unique opportunity to devote more personalized attention to your sale.”
With fewer homes on the market, you may have greater negotiating leverage. “Buyers may be more willing to compromise on price or terms to secure a property when their options are limited,” Klug says. “This can work to your advantage when it comes to selling your home at a favorable price.”
There are tax benefits, as well. “If you sell your primary residence and meet certain eligibility criteria, you may be able to exclude up to $250,000—or $500,000 for married couples—of the capital gains from your taxable income,” she says. “Consulting with a tax advisor can help you maximize these benefits.”
Klug notes that winter sales often progress more swiftly. Because of the reduced competition and motivated buyers, you can expect a shorter time on the market. This means less time, money and effort invested in maintaining and showing your property.
Listing in the winter helps homeowners close the deal before the spring rush. “Spring is traditionally a time when the real estate market heats up with an influx of new listings,” Klug says. “By selling in the winter, you can potentially avoid the spring competition and secure a buyer ahead of the curve.”
Michele Klug and her team have been recipients of the New Jersey Realtors Association Platinum Circle of Excellence Sales Award each year since 2011 and distinguished as the Top Real Estate Group in Somerset County and Bridgewater by Garden State MLS. Learn more at KlugRealtyGroup.com.