Selling Your Home in the Winter

Welcome to 2021.  A new year, a new outlook on life and hopefully the year that we start to get back to normal.  Although some things may have changed, in the real estate world, much is still the same.  The NOTL market remains hot and even though it is the dead of winter, many prospective buyers are out looking for their dream homes and eager to buy, if the right deal and the right home comes available.

If you have been thinking about putting your home up for sale on the NOTL real estate market, now is as good of a time as any.  Winter is a great time to take advantage of lower inventory and eager first-time home buyers.  We will discuss some other added benefits of selling in winter in a minute, but for now, regardless of what season or month you choose to sell your home, one of the most important tools to any home sale regardless of the time of year is the open house.

As the premier agent for all your NOTL real estate needs, here is a detailed list of the importance of open houses as a selling tool for your home but before we get into how to properly utilize an open house during the winter months to sell your home, I would first like to tell you some of the advantages of listing your home in the winter.

Traditionally, the spring season has marked the onset of the real estate market and the time when buyers are interested in purchasing their home.  As the years tick by, this traditional real estate market is shifting, and the spring market is not as strong as it once was.  There may be a whole list of reasons for this shift but what I would like to focus on right now are the advantages of listing and selling your home now; this winter.

Less Inventory

For a multitude of reasons, there is always less inventory or fewer homes available in the winter months than there are at any other time on the real estate market.  This can be a huge advantage especially if you have priced your home right or have a standout home.

In short: Less inventory means less competition. Take advantage of this and list your home in the winter.

Serious Buyers

If you are not familiar with Ontario winters, let me tell you – they can be downright cold and uncomfortable.  Therefore, the potential or interested home buyers that are out looking at homes in January or February are well let’s just say that they are a serious lot.  Although your next open house or showing may have less foot traffic than say a spring or summer showing, for the most part, those individuals that have come to look are serious about buying, not just the curious or lookie-loos with nothing better to do on a Saturday afternoon.  With the right price and the right home, you should be prepared to entertain some serious offers after each showing.  Some of the reasons that NOTL’s winter real estate market seems to bring out the serious buyers include:

  • Corporate relocations – two of the biggest months for relocations tend to be January and February. The short time frame and the importance of getting their family settled, the kids in school and the other stresses that come with a quick move make purchasing a home all that much more serious and in general, this group is quite interested in making a deal as soon as possible.
  • Bonuses and pay-outs – Year-end bonuses and payouts can translate into a nice payday for you when selling your home this winter. This extra money means any interested buyer may suddenly have the needed finances to finally afford their dream home and upgrade their living situation.  Bonuses and payouts can also help first-time homebuyers feel more confident about entering the NOTL real estate market.
  • New parents – this group may be quite interested in upgrading or expanding their living space. Although they may not have planned to look at homes until spring, you may be surprised about the necessity and extra space a baby can bring.

A Better Offer

Serious buyers are going to give you serious offers.  You may get some back and forth as both you and the buyer find a price that you are happy with but rest assured, the chances of getting some ridiculous low-ball number is slim to none because of less inventory, the serious group of buyers, and the fact that any potential home buyer wants your home and will want to avoid a bidding war.

If you have been thinking about listing your home, now is the time.  Take full advantage of the NOTL winter real estate market and contact me today.  I would love to help you list and sell your home so let’s get started.

Now that I have shared some of the reasons why listing your home in the winter months can greatly benefit you as a seller, I would now like to discuss one of the most important selling tools you can utilize.  As your premier agent for all your NOTL real estate needs, here is a detailed overview of the importance of an open house and how it will benefit you when selling your home this winter.

Set Your Home Apart

An open house allows you to set your home apart from the rest of the homes on the market.  For instance, if you feel that your big backyard is a selling feature, then include it as part of the open house.  Yes, even in the winter, you can include this as a selling feature because it will not be covered in snow for all 12 months.  A properly set open house should highlight certain selling features such as:

  • Any appliance upgrades.
  • Recent renovations, especially kitchen or bathroom.
  • Freshly painted interior or exterior.
  • Any unique home features such as huge windows, views, etc.

Here’s the Deal:

Open houses show more than just the house.  An open house allows interested buyers to see the neighbourhood, see what amenities and facilities are in and around your home and to envision their lifestyle not only in your home but in the community.

Prepare Your Home

Like anything in life, preparation is key.  This is especially true if you want your winter open house to go off without a hitch.  Before opening your doors to any potential home buyer, be sure to go through the following checklist of must do’s:

  • Shovel walkways, paths, sidewalks and driveways. You want a clear and easy to walk on path free of snow and debris.
  • Salt or sand walkways to ensure that they are non-slippery and free of ice so that any potential home buyer doesn’t fall. This will put a huge damper on your open house and the last thing that you want is a lawsuit.
  • Put out a mat or carpet either inside your door or at the top of your stairs where homebuyers can put their wet shoes. This will keep your carpets from getting dirty or wet.
  • Turn up the heat. You want your home to be a welcoming and warm place, not an icebox.

Everyone knows the importance of a well-staged and properly cleaned home.  Some of the other attention to details that will make for a successful open house include:

  • Let in all the light you can by opening blinds and curtains and turning on all the lights in your house.  This holds especially true in the winter as it gets dark out quicker.  The brighter the room, the larger and roomier it appears.
  • Don’t be afraid to add an extra touch such as a table centerpiece or a vase full of flowers in the kitchen or the bathroom.
  • Move the cars out of your driveway and try to keep the street parking in front of your home open for interested buyers. This convenience will be appreciated by open house visitors.

These are just a few of the ways that you can get your home ready for an effective open house.  Contact me today so that we can discuss some of the strategies and tools that will make your home stand out and generate interest from potential buyers before your next open house.

Run a Successful Advertising Campaign

An effective advertising campaign will guarantee that your next open house is full of interested buyers.  The key to successful advertising is using a wide range of different mediums to get the word out.  These include:

  • Word of mouth – start spreading the word in your social circles that you are hosting an open house.
  • Social media – use your Facebook and Twitter account to advertise your open house throughout your media social circles.
  • Online – advertise your open house on a wide range of realty websites and include the dates on your online listing profile.
  • Canvas the neighbourhood – put up flyers around your neighbourhood that include the date, time and location of your next open house. You may be surprised at the amount of interest and foot traffic this type of advertising offers.

Of course, one of the best advertising tools is your real estate agent.  The right agent will be able to not only network with other agents to find interested home buyers that are a perfect fit, but they will also have other interested parties that they can bring to the open house.  The more interested parties, the better chance you have at selling your home so make sure that you find the right real estate agent to represent you.

Winter Ready

If you have lived in Niagara or in any other part of Ontario for several years, then you understand that winter is a yearly occasion full of cold, snow, ice and rather unpleasant weather.  By showing your home in the winter, you are showing any potential home buyer that your home is winter-ready and that it is properly insulated, winterized and ready for the toughest of weather.  This can be a huge determining factor when it comes to selling your home.  One of the quickest deal breakers you can possibly believe when it comes to selling a home is for an interested buyer to find out that your home is in dire need of upgrades.  Winter upgrades such as the following can quickly add thousands of dollars.

  • Single pane windows or non-energy efficient windows.
  • An older furnace or a furnace that has not been properly maintained and serviced.
  • A poorly insulated or broken down roof.
  • Insufficient insulation in the walls to protect from the cold.

When hosting an open house do no be surprised if you are asked about your monthly heating bills or if you have energy-efficient windows and a furnace.

No Pressure

An open house is also a great way for a prospective buyer to have a look around without feeling pressured for a sale.  A buyer may not even know that they are in the market for a home such as yours until they see it and fall in love with it or certain key features.  The more low key you can make your open house, the better chances you will have of making a sale.

A Social Situation

Usually, open houses attract more than one potential buyer so that awkward feeling of being the only person in the home is removed.  This takes the pressure off any interested party and can really bring a social vibe to an open house as agents can offer casual tours to a group rather than just one party.  This relaxed atmosphere is rarely found in any other situation other than at an open house.

A Parting Gift

A great way to have your open house stand out among others is to provide visitors with a coloured brochure that highlights some of your home’s key selling features.  This will provide interested home buyers with a visual checklist and keep your home fresh in their minds.  Other points that you may want to include in your brochure include:

  • Your home’s square footage.
  • Any renovations or restorations that you or a contractor may have performed.
  • The year and, if applicable, the builder of your home.

A brochure can go along way in making your home stand out and give that potential buyer a visual in the weeks to come.  It will also help answer any questions that they may have about your home as well as a landmark that they can use to see where your home sits in the community, the neighbourhood and the bigger overall location in NOTL.

These tips will ensure that your next open house brings in a wide range of potential buyers and will generate interest in your property.  If you would like other tips on how to host a successful open house or have thought about listing your home on the NOTL real estate market, please contact me today.

If you have been thinking about putting your home up for sale but are unsure if winter is the right time to do this, give me a call.  I would love to have a discussion with you and let you know why putting your home up for sale now, during the winter, will benefit you as a seller. I would love to be a part of your sales team and help you turn that for sale sign into a sold sign.  I look forward to working with you soon.