Should You Take Your Home Off the Market in the Winter?
As the winter begins to roll in, one question many sellers are asking is,
“Should we take our home off the market until the spring?”
The answer is simple: no.
Although statistically the market slows down in the winter months, there are always buyers out there looking and you need to give your home as much exposure as possible in order to sell it.
All it takes is that one buyer to see your home, love it, and want to buy it, no matter what the season is.
Typically there are three types of buyers out there:
- Relocation Buyer
- Buyer Looking to Trade Up or Down
- Serious First Time Home Buyer
With more than 31% of the of the U.S. population relocating either for employment or self-employment reasons, this is definitely a group of buyers you don’t want to rule out. These buyers typically have a very short amount of time to purchase. In fact, according to a survey conducted by Snagajob¹, the winter months are the best time for job seekers to be looking, so it’s also the most opportune time for relocation buyers to search for a home. Relocation buyers can often get incentives from their new employer to help with moving fees and sometimes even closing costs.
Buyer Looking to Trade Up or Down
Two examples of buyers whose time lines aren’t limited to the seasons are empty nesters looking to downsize, or a growing family that needs a bigger home. In the winter months many couples whose last child went off to college in the fall are now ready to downsize their home, so this is the time they will be looking. These buyers don’t want to care and maintain a large home anymore and will want something as soon as they can find it. Then there is growing family that needs more space NOW. They don’t care what the temperature is outside. They may be having a baby very soon and are looking to buy immediately. Both of these types of buyers have either sold their last home already and are ripe to buy, or their home just went under agreement and they are scrambling to find something.
Serious First Time Home Buyer
The last type of buyer may be the most important to you as a seller: the first time home buyer. According to a Realtor.com Survey, first time home buyers accounted for 19% of winter home buyers. These buyers are full of excitement and can’t wait to find that perfect home that they can finally call their own. They are ALWAYS out there looking and they are eager to buy. These buyers are usually fully pre-approved and ready to make a decision on the home they’ve just fallen in love with. Many banks cater to first time homes buyers with new incentives to get them into the market. Down payments as low as 3.5% are still the norm with most first time buyers.
More Homes Sold in December
To illustrate our point, we measured the number of homes sold this year in the 1st week of May and compared it to the number of homes sold in the 1st week of December. May sales totaled 1,046 homes while December sales totaled 1,281 homes. December actually had 235 more homes sold when compared to May—a 22% increase!
As you can see from the 3 types of home buyers we highlight and the market statistics above, there is never a good time to take your home off the market. There is an active buyer out there for every house. Sellers always think that the winter months are slow in real estate and they don’t want to risk their house sitting with no activity. But if it’s not on the market then NO ONE CAN SEE IT, and it won’t sell!
- “2011 Holiday Hiring Forecast Best in Last 4 Seasons.”Snagajob.com. 19 September 2011. Web. 8 December 2011. <http://www.snagajob.com/news/2011/09/19/2011-holiday-hiring-forecast-best-in-last-4-seasons/>.
- “Survey: Tight Inventory Tops Winter Home Buyers’ Challenges”Realtor.com. Nov 20, 2013. <http://www.realtor.com/news/tight-inventory-tops-winter-home-buyers-challenges/>.