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Secrets to Success for Off-Season Home Sales

Fall and winter are sometimes thought of as the “wrong” time of year to sell a house.  However, you can make the off-season the right time for your success.  Preparation and planning are the keys to putting the cooler months to work for you.

Fall and winter work well

Contrary to what some people think, there are many great reasons to sell your home in the off-season.  For one thing, you’ll find the people who are house hunting tend to be very serious buyers.  On top of that, the number of houses on the market is down, so with reduced competition, your opportunity to stand out is better.  Add to that the fact that the timeframe for completing the sales process tends to be shorter, and you have ample reason to feel good about selling in the fall or winter months.

Another consideration worth mentioning is that you can price your home the same as you would at other times of the year.  In fact, some statistics indicate your home is more likely to sell higher than your asking price in winter than during other seasons.  Get to know the market in your area so you can gauge what sales trends are like.  As an example, homes in Palos Verdes Estates, CA, sold for an average price of $1.9M in the last month.


Navigating the holidays

One of the things that can hold sellers back is uncertainty about the holiday season.  After all, you want to enjoy celebrating with those you love, and you might be concerned about how your decorations and staging will work together.  One recommendation is to keep your holiday displays in check, but go ahead and do some decorating.  If you put up a tree, check to see that it is an appropriate size for your space.  Avoid a tree that is hard to maneuver around or that blocks key home features.  Pare down on your decorations, and use them to draw attention to features.  HGTV points out choosing a color scheme that complements your decor can also be particularly appealing.  For instance, if your home is decorated in neutral shades of grey and ivory, you might use black, ivory, and silver decorations.


Showings and such

Preparing for showings or open house events can feel tricky at any time of the year, but the main thing to keep in mind is making the most of the season.  Hone in on the time of year by offering seasonal treats, such as holiday cookies and cocoa.  The scents alone can be tantalizing and offer a cozy warmth to buyers.  Put a fire in the fireplace, and if the weather is sloppy, offer plastic booties to home buyers when they come to your home.  Bear in mind this time of year has less daylight, so turn on lights throughout your home, and open all your curtains and shades to allow in as much sun as possible.  The Balance points out many sellers want to save on utilities when temperatures dip, but it’s important to keep house hunters comfortable.  If your property is vacant, consider putting the thermostat on a timer so temperatures are appropriate during showings.


Your online listing counts

In this day and age, the vast majority of buyers do their initial home search via the web.  Ensure your online listing packs a wallop.  Take fabulous photos, and if your landscape is weary during the fall and winter months, make sure you include images from times when it was at the height of its glory.  Another idea is to create a video with all the best qualities of your home with a narrated tour.  In a two-minute nutshell, include everything you loved about living there, from the proximity to your all-time favorite deli to the view out the front window.

The fall and winter months can be an especially valuable time of year for home sellers.  Stage your home in a manner that makes the most of the season.  Smart presentation can mean turning the off-season into your home sale success!

Story contributed by Suzie Wilson ⎸  ⎸Happier Home

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