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For homeowners who’ve had their home on the market for a while, autumn’s cooler weather may bring a twinge of anxiety. Now that peak home-selling season has passed, you might be worried that you’ve lost your chance to sell.
We asked some top-notch real estate agents if the change in season means a stall in home sales. Their answer was loud and clear: Now is a great time to sell your home.
Here’s how selling your home this time of year can work to your advantage.
Less Competition Means Better Sales
It’s true that most buyers plan their purchases during the summer months, but there are plenty of interested buyers all year long. Even in Panama City Beach, Florida, where real estate agent Jeff P. works, homes sales remain steady into the holiday season.
“Looking back over my real estate career, the fall and early winter have always been great months for us,” Jeff said.
Joanne C., an agent near Atlanta, agrees and said there are historically fewer homes vying for the buyers’ attention this time of year.
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“Less competition means your home will sell faster and for more money,” she added.
Amber G., an agent from Austin, Texas, also pointed out that buyers with fewer housing options are more likely to overlook minor flaws to get into a home sooner.
“Buyers will look at homes that don't meet their ‘perfect criteria,’” Amber said.
Related: According to a recent Realtors Confidence Index, experts believe homes will continue to sell like hotcakes. In fact, there are 19 states that have a “very strong” outlook for single-family homes. Find out if your state is one of them, and read why now is the perfect time to get top dollar for your home.
Less Traffic but More Serious Buyers
The fall and winter months might bring less traffic, but buyers looking for homes during these months typically need or want to buy soon.
“They are more driven and more serious,” Amber said. “All the ‘looky loos’ are in hiding. The buyers are motivated and qualified. Open houses that draw nine out of 10 buyers who have not been prequalified for a home loan don't happen during this season!”
This time of year, calendars fill up with the regular schedule of parties, shopping and holiday time with family—and it’s no different for a family looking for a home. That’s just one more reason why anyone who makes time to look at your home is serious about buying right away.
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Your Home Is Ready to Show
“What time does your home look prettier than during the holidays?” Joanne asked. “Buyers buy on emotion, so they want to feel how their family will live in your home. With a home decorated for the holidays, you are helping the buyers see how they will live in the home.”
“I do believe that ‘home for the holidays’ is real,” Amber added. “For most, the holidays are nostalgic and positive, and the scents and sights and decorations make it comforting and more attractive to buyers.”
Jeff agreed, but reminded homeowners to minimize clutter and keep things clean. And if you do decorate during the holidays, remember to remove the decorations as soon as the season is over.
Regardless of what time of year you show your home, it’s good to review the basics of staging:
- Declutter. Be sure to tidy up your closets to make them look bigger.
- Clean every inch of your house. Don’t skimp on this.
- Power wash walkways and clean your siding.
- Add a few fresh plants at your entry door.
- Wash your windows.
- Relocate Fido and Fluffy. Pet odor is a huge turn off for home buyers.
Staging strategy is important, too.
Amber also encouraged those who are selling during the holidays to be savvy and motivated.
“I recommend professional photos, landscape architecture, competitive pricing, and targeted internet marketing,” she said. “Use social media ads and nominal price reductions to get moved up in automatic MLS searches.”
Bottom line: You need an aggressive, independent thinking real estate agent who is driven and willing to try new things.
“This is the season to celebrate love and family and holidays. I would capitalize on that, and I would pick a realtor who shares the same vision,” Amber said.
Get Going With Advice From a ProIf you’ve decided you’re ready to sell your home, there’s no reason to put it off until after the new year. Get your home sold before most folks even put out their “for sale” signs by working with an experienced real estate agent like Jeff, Amber and Joanne.
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