Helpful tips for selling in winter

September 18, 2018

Real estate professionals should always be aware of local market conditions so they can better advise their clients. Often, that requires careful review of industry trends. Being able to talk intelligently to clients at this time of year about the common issues they're likely to face in the market, and why buying or selling in the fall and winter can be successful for them, is a great way for agents to stand out in their markets even when weather cools down.

For instance, many people may not think of it, but January and February are two months during which a large percentage of homes sell above the listing price, according to Fit Small Business. While the prices sellers get during this time of year can be somewhat depressed (by any number of factors), the truth is that just as many homes in February sell above list price as they do in June (24 percent) and January isn't far behind at 23 percent.

Of course, they lag behind March, April, May and June (all between 24-26 percent) in this regard, but are well ahead of October, November and December (when only 15-17 percent of homes sell above asking). That may make the early winter a better than expected time to sell, but it's worth noting that fall remains a great time to buy.

Why selling in winter works
Industry experts say that while the national inventory of homes for sale remains near-historically constricted, the fact is that things really tighten up once the late fall and early winter roll around. In fact, the months during which national inventory is lowest tend to be November through February, and new listings drop off precipitously at this time as well. That's a full one-third of the year during which sellers are likely to see higher demand among what's likely to be a motivated population of buyers.

As a consequence, agents would be wise to advise current owners who are looking to sell that if they want to stand out, listing before the holiday season starts might be a good first step.

Keep local factors in mind
Meanwhile, though, it's critical that agents keep close tabs on local stats so they can advise their clients - both buying and selling - about the ways in which they will be able to put themselves in the best position to get a good deal as the weather continues to cool down, according to Zillow. While national trends can offer important guidelines, agents likely have plenty of access to and existing knowledge of local issues that can impact real estate sales trends in their area.

Making sure to advise clients to take a holistic look at the market, as well as their own financial and life-related needs and wants and factors such as price appreciation and mortgage-rate changes, is part and parcel of being a good and effective agent. But to be able to do so the right way, with the most up-to-date data, can really pay off in the months ahead.