It’s true that most houses are sold in the spring and summer months. The statistics don’t lie. Over the last three years in Montgomery County, roughly half as many homes were sold in January as were sold in July. The same holds true in Fairfax County and Washington, DC. In my own experience as a listing agent, the majority of my clients elect to go on the market between April and September. Various factors play into the decision to list in the spring and summer:
- Families with children prefer to move in the summer months, when school related activities are at a minimum and school transfers are simpler.
- Sellers might hold off on a listing in the winter because of the inconvenience of keeping a house in showing shape through the holidays.
- Marketing can be tricky in the winter. Bare trees and brown grass don’t look very good in high-res photos.
All of these factors play a role in deciding when to sell a home. However, for those who need to sell their home in the winter because of a job transfer or other time-sensitive reasons, the winter months hold some distinct advantages. First, the winter months mean less competition. If the neighbors are holding off until spring, yours will hold the distinction of being one of the few available in the neighborhood. So a buyer searching in your neighborhood will have fewer options in the winter, and yours is more likely to end up on their short list. Second, buyers who are out viewing homes in January and February are likely to be more motivated than the average buyer in the spring or summer. Most tire-kickers aren’t likely to be trudging around in the snow to open houses, so the buyers you do encounter will be ready to get down to business sooner.
If you need to sell your home in December, January or February, don’t despair. A great listing agent who understands how to navigate the winter market will be your best resource. With the right marketing, pricing and negotiating strategies, selling your home during the winter is possible and can be as stress-free as selling during any other time of year.