Unlike the common misconception that you must be crazy to think your house will sell in the winter, I’m here to tell you it can be done.
I have a huge whiteboard in my office, and when I say huge, I mean it almost covers an entire wall. During spring, summer, and fall, the board is covered in client information. I write down how many listings I’m showing my clients, which sale is about to close, and any additional notes to help me stay on track of the large amount of buying and selling. By the time it’s November, you’ll find my board covered in pie charts as I’m trying to map out a business strategy. The Okanagan is a famous summer destination and it’s true that most home sales happen during the warmer months, however people still buy in the Winter months. For the non-believers out there, here are a few things that can help land a sale in the winter.
High Motivation To Buy
There are buyers out there who either wait for the colder months in the hopes to get a better deal on a Kelowna property, or they have no choice but to buy in the winter (relocation due to work, unforeseen circumstances, or perhaps their home got sold and they’re looking to buy).
These buyers don’t care if it’s cold and gloomy outside. They’ve most likely done their homework, know what they’re looking for and are highly motivated to buy at or close to the listing price. In fact, I have a couple that just received an accepted offer on their home in Kamloops and will be coming up to Kelowna this weekend to buy. They need to find a place and move in before Jan 15th. Point and case…
Low Inventory, but Also Less Competition
The winter housing market in Kelowna is not oversaturated with listings. Less inventory means less fighting for buyers’ attention, less window shoppers, and more serious buyers. Another gain for you are other sellers who take their homes off the market during the winter months, thinking it won’t sell.
The Right Asking Price
Less inventory means you have to be smart about the price. A bidding war to make more money from your listing sounds like the perfect scenario. This is not to say it couldn’t happen in the winter, but it’s less likely. Another real world example from 2 weeks ago; I was in a bidding war with a property that came on the market in West Kelowna. It was completely renovated, had a great detached garage in the backyard and priced to sell. By the time we showed it, the Sellers had already received another offer … however, we came in strong with a better price and terms, and won. Winter bidding war…
So in the winter, list your property at market value. If you list too high and your home doesn’t sell, come spring you might end up listing for under market value and any bidding war would only be an attempt to sell your home for what it’s worth.
The Characteristics of Your Home
Take into consideration the characteristics of your home.
Do you have a steep driveway that can be treacherous when ice builds on it? How about old windows you’ve been wanting to replace? Perhaps your house is freezing or has condensation buildup inside?
Potential buyers are more likely to pay attention to window seals, drafts, the furnace, and ask questions about how energy efficient and well maintained your home is. Add insulation where needed and have your heating system maintained.
Worrying About Landscaping
Less landscaping in the winter allows for more time and resources to be spent staging your home.
You can still show the beauty of your home in the spring and summer by displaying photos of the garden and patio throughout the house. These photos can curb the buyers’ imagination and give them a chance to dream about being the new homeowners. Clean a pathway to the house if there’s snow, decorate the outside and add outdoor lighting, remove dirt, shovel the deck to allow the potential buyers experience what the outdoors feel like.
Showcasing the Beauty of Your Home
Winter staging brings out the beauty of your home and if your house is on the market around Christmas holidays, that’s an added bonus. Because winter festivities is a special time for most individuals and families, you can tap into the feelings of being in a warm and welcoming place that’s perfect to celebrate the season.
To counteract the dark days, brighten your home with light coloured walls, turn on all lights and open all windows. Add a touch of soft music, but be careful with scents. Instead of lighting scented candles, bake some treats right before the showing and offer these to the potential buyers.
Make your home feel and look cozy by decluttering and adding neutral but coordinated accents (throws, pillows, stand up lamps, and so on).
An Added Bonus
If you’ve done your best to prepare your home for sale and it doesn’t sell, you are a step ahead of other sellers. You’ve have added upgrades, decluttered and painted your house, and are ready to sell in the spring or summer.
Winter can highlight the worst of your home, but an experienced realtor can help you with that. If you’re ready to sell your Kelowna home but have more questions or doubts, get in touch, I’m here to answer your questions.
“Life is short. Live somewhere awesome.” – Grundy