Selling or buying a home in winter poses unique challenges — and real estate opportunities.
Seasonal swings in home prices and number of homes on the market happen in many cold climates, including Northern Nevada. Trees lose leaves, lawns turn brown. Hopefully, there’s snow on the ground. Sellers fret that buyers can’t see and appreciate the lovely landscaping they worked so hard on. Buyers must use their imaginations or rely on photos to understand the summer beauty of a home on the market in mid-winter.
Yet people buy and sell homes all year long. Families grow, promotions or new jobs require people to move, and many other life-changing events prompt people to list a property for sale in winter.
Whether buying or selling a home, use these tips to get the most out of this real estate season!
Are you a Buyer?
Fact: There are fewer homes on the market from December – March, so buyers have fewer homes to tour and from which to select. BUT those homes that are available are there for a reason — their sellers are motivated! In many cases, price points may be less than homes that get listed in spring.
Fact: In many markets, prices frequently jump in the Spring and early summer, then level out or even retreat for the rest of the year. In winter, some sellers are more willing to negotiate, if not on price, on other points. Buyers who wait until spring to start looking, may miss the boat. If prices jump again, but a buyer’s budget doesn’t, then they may have to buy less house.
Fewer buyers = better chance at getting a great property at a better price.
Timing: The weeks before and after Christmas are great times to make an offer on a house!
The reason: Many agents and many buyers take the holidays off. Less competition may mean a better deal for those in the hunt for a great home.
Are You a Seller?
Homes for sale in mid-winter face the challenge of fewer buyers. Make the most of what your home has to offer with these tips:
• Turn the lights on! Outside may be blustery, cold and dreary, so make the house you’re trying to sell warm and inviting.
Home buying is emotional. Create a comfortable environment for buyers. Add lights to dark corners, Consider installing recessed lights in dark hallways. Add lamps on a timer. Both are fairly inexpensive, yet very effective tactics to make your home sparkle on a dark day.
• Keep the heat on! No one likes a cold house. Many modern thermostats have timers for night and day. Use one, especially in a vacant house. Set the daytime temperature at about 68 degrees. If a home is barely warmer inside than it is out, clients just won’t stay very long. Don’t lose a sale over a few dollars for heat.
• Consider professional staging. Smart designers can re-purpose or re-arrange your furniture to give it a better flow for touring. Decorate — but not too much. Pack up your personal items — photos, toys, games, “stuff” you are moving anyway. Look at model homes — which maximize a room’s features by strategically placing a minimum amount of furniture. Just enough to give an idea.
Odd fact: empty rooms look smaller than furnished rooms. Again, play into the emotion of buying a home. You want a buyer to pick your property over all other options. Focus on staging the master bedroom and the rooms you spent the most time using and enjoying. Kitchens: Only one item on the counters, and perhaps a small breakfast table staged with coffee cups hint at cozy conversations.
• Show the summer scene with photos! An album, 8×10 display stands clearly show buyers how much shade the now-barren trees provide your yard. Colorful fruit trees? Glorious roses? Share photos of how lovely your garden will be in just a few months.
Reno Market Insights: Inventory is still low. Is buying new construction the answer? Maybe not. Developers used to price homes below existing homes in Northern Nevada. Not no much today — especially when factoring in lot premiums, nearly mandatory “upgrades” plus the hidden costs of window coverings, landscaping and customized paint. Buyers who think they really want brand new, may find their dollars go farther in “used” home — especially before the traditional spring price hike hits.
So from today through January ‘Tis the Season to, perhaps find a great deal!
For more information, call/text 775-762-7576 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Holly O’Driscoll is a Realtor with Chase International Real Estate in Reno, Nevada.