How Listing Your Home in Winter Could Be a Wise Move

I’m often asked if spring is the best times to list a house, or if there is any advantage to try sell in the winter. This question sometimes comes from a seller whose house is already on the market as winter approaches, and they want to know if they should take it off the market for the holidays and list it again in spring.

The long answer might change with different years and market conditions, but the short answer is: I sell a lot of homes during the wintertime.

Our home sales cycle in the Boise area peaks in the summertime. This past summer, our office sold about 1000 homes in June/July. Sales drop off in the wintertime, but even with that drop-off we sold 500-600 homes last November/December. January is slower still, with about 400 homes sold last season. So on average, home sales in the winter months are about half those of the summer.

It seems obvious that you want to sell your home during the peak season, right? That might be true, but one downside to listing in the spring or summer months is that you’re competing against the most inventory. The number of homes on the market drops in the wintertime, so one advantage to selling then is that you’ll have less competition. Your odds of selling might actually be better during these months.

What happens in the winter is that you put your house on the market, there aren’t many showings, and you think, This is the worst time ever to sell. Yes, there will be fewer showings this time of year, but the showings you do get will be from buyers who are serious. Nobody likes to shop homes when the weather is cold and crappy, so if they’re shopping, they’re ready to move. You’re going to get a higher quality of buyer coming through your house.

You might have reservations about showing your house around the holidays, but you can dictate when your house gets shown. Don’t worry too much about having your decorations up — they might make your house feel homier — just try not to overdo them. But you can control when you want people in your house, so if you have family in town or you don’t want to show your home all week, that’s fine, don’t show it.

There are definite advantages to listing your house in the slower months. It might be worth putting it on the market sooner than later, because if you wait until the summer months there’s going to be a lot more competition. The reason I sell so many homes in the winter is because there is less competition. I can make your house stand out more because there are fewer options for buyers to choose from.