Must-Know Tips for Those Trying to Sell Their Home During the Offseason

Written by: Suzie Wilson

In the world of real estate, the warmer months during spring and summer are considered the prime season for home buying and selling, and the cooler months of fall and winter are the off-season. What this means is that more people are looking to buy a home and thus more homes appear on the market during the spring and summer. But that doesn’t mean selling a home in the winter is hard to do; there are advantages to selling your home during the off-season. Here’s what you need to know.

Why sell now?

So, what are the advantages of trying to sell your home during the fall or winter? The main advantage is a lack of competition. Your home has to compete with fewer listings during the off-season. Somewhat connected to this principle is the fact that your potential buyers will be more serious during the fall and winter. There are other benefits to this strategy, including the fact that you should reap some tax advantages if you sell before the end of the calendar year and it sets you up to be sold and moved before the holiday stress sets in.

Must-know tips

If you’ve decided to give it a go, here are some important tips/strategies:

        Go easy on the holiday decor. Sure, creating a warm, homey environment is good for selling a home. But as one realtor team puts it, going full Clark Griswold isn’t smart. Tone down the Thanksgiving and Christmas decorations. You want potential buyers to see your home as more neutral in terms of staging.

        In the fall, opt for plant-based decoration. Adding curb appeal to your home is vital if you want to pique interest, and one way to do this without going overboard is to think tasteful plants or wreaths. For example, you can add fall curb appeal without spending a fortune by making an autumnal wreath and garland for your front door for less than $50. 

        Focus on bringing as much natural light into your home as possible. This is vital for showings and open houses. Quicken Loans suggests new light fixtures and/or new shades and covering for your existing lights to brighten things up. You should also open up the curtains and blinds for showings. The colder months tend to cast a gloomy shadow on things. More light means a more attractive home to potential buyers.

        Declutter and get that excess junk out of the way — completely. Spring, summer, fall, or winter — nobody likes to see a cluttered-up house. A potential buyer certainly can’t imagine themselves living in a home currently occupied by someone else’s junk. While you can’t completely sterilize a home you’re currently living in, you can take steps to make it as neutral as possible. Investing in temporary self-storage is a great way to put away any excess stuff while you sell your home — and it doesn’t have to cost a lot.

        Know how to host a holiday open house without offending the sensibilities of others. Being overtly religious or spreading too much holiday cheer can be off putting, but you don’t want to be the Grinch either. Focus on subtle but warm scents, ambient music, and even festive holiday treats for your showings. Ease up on the harcore decorations, but a little holiday spruce here and there will help your home appear warm and inviting.

While some people will tell you that trying to sell a home during the fall and winter months is ill-advised, times have changed. You can actually reap the benefits of lower competition and more serious potential buyers if you list during the offseason. If you do choose this path, make sure you know how to stage your home for maximum appeal!

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