Traditionally, homes got listed mainly in spring, summer, and fall. But over the last few years, the trend has changed and listings in winter are on the rise. We may not yet have all the stats, but the numbers seem to show that winter sales of homes are getting stronger and also fetching higher prices in some areas.
1. Less Competition – With low inventory during the winter months, there is less competition in the marketplace. Your home will enjoy wider exposure, shown in more search results (on the MLS or even online) which all goes to raise the opportunity of selling your home.
2. Motivated Buyers – Those who brace the cold and wintery conditions to set appointments to see a home are generally very motivated. During the winter months, they will be selective and only view homes which are of great interest to them. These are considered serious buyers.
3. New year; new beginnings – Just like new year resolutions, end of the year or beginning of a new one is considered by many a “fresh’ start in their lives. This motivation can be powerful enough for shoppers or lookers to make the purchase of a home as their “new” start in life. Many corporate contracts also renew during this time of the year, forcing executives and their families to relocate and purchase homes in new cities/towns.
4. Fewer but quality showings – You may have fewer people braving the wintery weather to see a home, but those who do will be of very high quality. You are a lot further ahead with quality visits than quantity ones. These buyers may also be in a crunch situation where they “have” to buy.
5. Higher Asking Price - Winter may be a good time to list your home for a higher selling price. With low inventory, you may just be positioned to fetch the best price for your home. Less competition can sometimes tend to fetch a higher price.
6. Show off Your Home – If you have an energy efficient home share the savings with potential buyers. Nothing is more attractive than having lower energy bills. And who doesn’t enjoy a nice fireplace in the winter? Turn it up and let the warmth attract those motivated buyers.
7. Less Landscaping to Worry ABout – Winter doesn’t require you to cut grass and ensure a great landscape to increase curb appeal. Buyers understand this. But snow and winter have its own charm. With well-cleared driveways, walkways and the correct lighting one can create a different curb appeal during winter months which can be just as engaging if not more, to the buyer.
8. People have time – During the holidays, people are off work, they are a bit freer with their time, and are more apt at looking (when ready) for homes with greater focus and seriousness rather than merely window shopping. I believe the holiday season also puts them in a more relaxed frame of mind which increases the opportunities of closing a sale.
9. Real Estate Agents Have Time – During the slower winter months agents will spend more time with their clients and expend greater energy on promoting and exposing their listing(s). It’s also a good time for the sellers since it provides them with a better and wider selection of quality real estate agents to choose from.
With an influx of immigrants and growth in population in Toronto and the GTA, there is no good or bad time to list or sell a home. In fact, numbers show that it’s the economy and interest rates (not the housing demand) which determine the number of homes being listed during any season of the year.
Although winter listings may still be the lowest (it's changing) of all the seasons, you can use that fact to your advantage by getting ahead of the competition and having your house sold whilst the others are hibernating and waiting for spring.