Should I List or Keep My Home Listed During the Winter Months?
Yes, homes do sell during the winter months but the real estate sales activity is substantially diminished. A combination of family, friends and workplace events, holiday preparations and weather that tends to be less than ideal for strategic and comfortable home viewing, should have thoughtful Sellers thinking twice about listing their home or continuing to list their home through the winter.
There’s a bit of a “dice roll” when a buyer commits to a home with a snow-covered lawn, gardens and roof. Any home inspection report will simply cite the limitations of not being able to see any potential concerns that may lie beneath. Quite often the fear of the unknown is greater than the true condition – but not always!
If we compare the market activity over the past seasons (information from the local NHAR board), the hot spring market had 474 residential sales during the months of April/May/June. The hot fall market had approximately 85% of the spring market activity with 401 sales during the months of September/October/November. However the winter activity was not nearly as strong; 247 sales during December18/January19/ February19, representing only 52% of the spring activity and 62% of the fall activity.
What’s the worst case scenario if you list or extend your listing from December through the winter? Answer: low activity with potentially no sale. When the market picks up in April/May and people ask how long your home has been on the market (which they almost always do), they’ll wonder what’s wrong with your home and they’ll believe they should get your home for a reduced price; since the market has dictated that your home either has a problem or is priced too high. In reality, the only issue might be that your home was for sale during an extended time when the market was not active.
What’s the worst case scenario if you wait until March/April or let your listing expire and list again sometime in March/April (spring listing time depending on market activity, which is often governed by the weather)? Answer: someone in your neighbourhood lists and sells during that time (defies the odds) and you regret not having a chance with that particular Buyer. Even worse, if it happens multiple times.
If you’re in a situation where you have to sell and taking your house off the market is not an option – don’t give up; homes will continue to sell. However, if you have the luxury of being more strategic, you may want to consider a fresh start in the hottest real estate market of the year.