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What you should know about Buying or Selling in the Winter

Posted by VIBE Realty on Thursday, November 4th, 2021 at 9:11am.

Ahhhh, winter. The snow starts falling, the temperatures drop, and maybe you’re wondering what all of that means for the real estate market.

I know we are all interested to see how this winter market unfolds, coming off of one of the most aggressive and competitive real estate years in history. Traditionally, the winter is a slower season in real estate. Fewer homes go up for sale, and fewer people are out shopping for new houses. The winter season does have its own benefits though - for both buyers and sellers!

Winter Buying Benefits

Less competition against other buyers. One of the biggest benefits for buyers is that there is much less competition. Because the market has been so intense and competitive over the past year, the winter could be a great time to take advantage of a slower market. The flip side to this is that there are much fewer homes on the market, so it may take longer to really find the home you want. 

Lower sale prices. Data shows us that in the Twin Cities the colder, winter months typically have a lower average sale price. This doesn’t always mean you're going to get some crazy deal on a house, but it does mean you might be able to get the house for cheaper than if it were listed in the Spring. 

Home performance. You truly get to see how the home functions during the harshest weather conditions of the year. You’ll be able to understand how well the furnace/boiler is working, if the home is drafty, and things of that nature. Plus, you’ll get an idea of what you’re in for on the home’s worst days; how much shoveling will you need to do? Are there any signs of ice dams on the roof? Is there any special maintenance required?


Winter Selling Benefits

Serious buyers. Honestly, we think anyone that willingly does anything real estate related in the winter is pretty motivated. The buyers that are active in winter, for one reason or another, chose to not wait until Spring, and typically are pretty motivated to purchase a home. 

Stand out in the winter market. Spring sellers may have difficulty standing out in the sea of new listings, especially if you’re in a dense area with multiple homes going on the market. Listing during winter means your home has less of a chance of being overlooked by buyers and provides a stage to showcase your home and its unique features.

Winter readiness. Just as mentioned above for buyers, sellers also can take advantage of showcasing their home’s winter readiness. If your home has had some recent upgrades, or is energy efficient, it's a great time to really lean into those features.

With all the benefits come some downfalls too, though. It can be more difficult to pack up and head out of the home for showings (it’s not as easy when you have to bundle up!), the average amount of time a home stays on the market increases in the winter months, and your home’s exterior is harder to keep in tip-top shape (lots of salting and shoveling for showings). 

As for cons for buyers; you don’t really get to see how the yard and landscaping looks (especially if there is snow on the ground), it's impossible to inspect certain aspects of the home (your home inspector can’t check the A/C or go on the roof), and there is less daylight for showings (so expect to see a good amount of homes in the dark). 

Overall, if you keep in mind that buying or selling a home in winter comes with its own unique set of advantages and challenges, and if you have a Reatlor® you love working with and trust, we feel pretty confident it will be a good experience all around!


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