Winter Market Update
The winter season has very quickly descended upon the Sunapee Region and faster than some had hoped for. As outdoor enthusiasts, we tend to enjoy the early snow, but we know that it can also cause a bit of angst for those who are looking to sell their home. With the holiday season in full swing, and people settling into their cold-weather routines, we began to receive a myriad of questions from our selling clients. Below are a few of the most common questions that we hear:
Should I list my home now? If the time is right for you to sell your home and move on to a new adventure, then the winter market can provide a good opportunity to take that next step. The number one benefit to listing in the winter is the low inventory rate and lack of competition. As you’ll see in the chart below, inventory levels dip considerably in the winter months. When it comes to value, historically, there is an increase in the difference of average list price to average sales price and an increase in the average days on market.
Should I take my home off the market? The answer to this question is “it depends.” For some, the thought of having to keep up with showing requests around the holiday season seems like a nightmare. If this is you, and you’re not in a rush to sell, then a break might be an OK option. However, I often caution clients against taking their home off the market and here’s why. This time of year inventory tends to be at the lowest levels which means far less competition than over the summer months. Buyers are still looking and with interest rates on the rise, they are making decisions.
Will buyer interest weaken over the holidays? Yes and No. It’s true that some buyers may put a hold on their search for fear of making a move during the winter months, but generally speaking, serious and motivated buyers will continue house hunting. Others will take advantage of holiday time off and become even more committed to locating their new home. They may also take advantage of being around friends and family to gather opinions and make their decision. (While writing this article, we realized that all of us in our office bought homes in the winter months!)
Do I need to lower my asking price? I often respond to this question with, “the season does not dictate the value of your home, the market does.” Regardless of the time of year, the listing price of your home should be based off of current and relevant market data—meaning comparable properties that are on the market, have recently sold and are under contract. If you listed your home in the summer or fall, and you’re still on the market, then it would be beneficial to request an updated market analysis from your Realtor® to make sure your home is listed at an appropriate value.
Should I wait for the spring market? Serious buyers don’t stop their home search just because it’s cold outside—with the evolution of technology and instant access to property listings via mobile apps, tablets and smart phones, buyers continue their research with ease. Additionally, if you will also be on the buying side once your home sells, you may benefit from the slightly lower than average home sales prices. Another factor to keep an eye on are mortgage interest rates which have been slowly creeping up in 2018.
If you decide to list your home for sale this winter, it is important to take extra care in property maintenance and staging. Here are some recommended tips to make the best first impression with potential buyers.
Tips when selling your home in the winter
- Keep your driveway and walkways clear of snow and ice. Have a shovel handy for your realtor if it’s snowing the day there is a showing.
- Pay special attention to mudrooms and entryways by clearly defining where winter coats and boots will go and making it an easy transition to come in from the outside.
- Create a warm (65+ degrees) and inviting atmosphere. Show off how cozy that wood stove or gas fireplace makes your home. Replace lightbulbs that have gone out and bring in extra lights if needed to brighten up darker rooms.
- Don’t ignore basic home maintenance. Make sure boilers and furnaces are in good working order and up-to-date on inspections. Check for door and window drafts, replace cracked weather stripping, keep up with the extra sand and salt that can easily be tracked inside.
Towns included: Andover, Bradford, Croydon, Grantham, Goshen, Lempster, Newbury, New London, Newport, Springfield, Sunapee, Sutton, Unity, Warner, Washington, Wilmot.