I have spoken to many homeowners in recent years who are of the mind that they should pull their home from to market during the winter months of December through March. Many wait until Spring and throw their house into the listing pool with so many other sellers.
It makes sense in a way. With the weather we have had in the Midwest and Northeast this season in December, January and entering into February. Who wants the inconvenience of having a showing on your home and then you have to step out for another Realtor in nasty weather? Also the boots and snow in the house! Yuck! Who wants to have to shovel the walkway on short notice to be ready for a showing? It is no fun. Bleeehh!
However, the biggest thing most sellers fail to realize is that because so many people are of similar mind during this time of year, the inventory of homes for sale in the area plummets. What does that mean for the home seller? It means less competition! Less competition means greater odds a buyer willl select your home out of the smaller pool of listings to write a purchase offer.
Additionally, if you get an offer in February, most of the time it takes 60 days on average to close, which means if you can come to terms and accept it, you will be moving in the Spring! If you are buying again, you will be shopping at a peak in the inventory time when all the other winter snoozing sellers are putting their home on the market! See the logic?
One could argue, who cares about competition when no one is looking in the winter? Really? No one is looking?
I once has a couple desperately looking for a new home in the dead of winter because their old one burned down in a fire. The had a cash insurance settlement and wanted to buy ASAP because they were living in a hotel as a temporary set up by the insurance company. Want to guess how motivated they were to look at houses? We trudged through many snow covered driveways and walkways, and dealt with the freezing weather. They bought a house, and moved in by Spring.
The truth is that a buyer who is shopping for houses in winter is a much stronger buyer than any other time of the year. A buyer who is determined to trudge through snow to look at houses is a very motivated buyer. The winter elements chase off the flighty, tire-kicking, unserious buyers and the cream of buyers rises to the top. Non serious buyers stay on the couch. Serious ones are motivated and will brave the elements because they desperately need a house.
If you do not have your house on the market in the winter, your house will not get shown to this buyer. Certainly they may be few and far between at this time of year, but when they do look, your chances of getting an offer are much higher simply because they have less to look at. My experience has shown that when a buyer has a timeline and a needs to get a house, and they have run out of things to look at, they will make a decision and be more flexible on their demands.
So it might be just a rogue factor, or seem like a random spin in the roulette wheel, but if the serious buyer comes trolling through your neighborhood you will kick yourself if they buy your neighbors house instead of yours. So grab your shovel, sprinkle the ice melt and call your Realtor! Don't Get left behind with the others who list in the Spring!