Everyone knows you should wait until Spring to sell your home, right? That's when the buyers are out, right? Well, while there are fewer house hunters traditionally this time of year, those who are looking at homes during the holiday season and in the winter months are usually QUITE SERIOUS. I'd take a SERIOUS buyer over a "LOOKYLOO" any day!
In addition, at the present time, we've seen a lot more consistency and less volatility in recent months when it comes to both number of sales and pricing, although it's important to remember that conditions often vary between communities and neighbourhoods. Buyer demand is in closer alignment with supply than we've seen for most of 2010. New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties declined 8.6% in October in Greater Vancouver from September and we continue to see limited supply coming onto the market which should pose to be a beneficial environment for sellers. Those buying today recognize that they still have a chance to enter the market with near-record low interest rates, while gradual reductions in inventory have eased pressure on prices. In fact, my clients who have had their homes on the market recently have had successful results and have sold quickly and for top dollar. Some have even sold above their asking price! It is a good time to put your home on the market as there are fewer homes on the market and less competition so it is definitely worth considering.
Here are a few tips for winning over your prospects when selling a home during the winter months:
1. Holiday decorations can be a huge distraction to buyers and they can also make a home feel overly cluttered. Resist the temptation to transform your home into the usual Christmas wonderland. Keep decorations tasteful and to a minimum.
2. During any cold spells, remove snow and ice from the driveway and all walkways, and keep them neatly shovelled and sanded. If buyers can't safely enter your home, you've lost the sale and if someone slips on ice and gets hurt you could have a lawsuit on your hands.
3. Be sure to also remove snow and ice from patios and decks. These are important selling features that you don't want overlooked simply because they're typically not used in the winter.
4. Lighten up. It's getting dark earlier and earlier so remember, many buyers are coming to see your home after work. Make sure you have adequate lighting in your home and though it's not eco-friendly, leave at least some lights on even when you're not home to look warm and inviting on those cold winter nights.
5. Add potted evergreens to front porches/entrances for added colour, warmth and life.
6. Keep your thermostat at a comfortable setting. Turn on your fireplace if you have one whenever possible.
7. Regardless of the time of year, stay up to date on all the latest real estate staging and home decorating trends. It pays to hire a home stager. Homes that are staged sell quicker and for higher prices. It is well worth the expense. Consider this: Staged properties sell 89% faster than unstaged properties, 91% of staged properties sell in one month or less and last but not least, staged properties can sell for 5-25% higher than the listing price.