Winter is the best time to sell your home or buy a new one
Our gratitude and thanks go out to our sponsor of this post, USAA.
It’s winter. The kids are settled in school. Packing up your whole life and moving is likely not on your favorite list of winter activities. It may be overcast, cold, raining or snowing, and you wonder why in the world would winter be the best time to sell your home or buy a new one?
Greg Jaeger, president of Residential Real Estate services (brokerage) with USAA says, “There really can be distinct advantages to buying or selling in the winter. Most of the transactions that occur in real estate generally happen during the summer, because that's when the most buyers and sellers are available and the kids are out of school. But a lot of things can be in favor of the buyer or seller during the winter.”
6 Ways winter is the best time to sell your home or buy a new one
(1) Fewer people are looking to buy or sell a home, so you'll get more focused help. Since not as many people are competing for home buying/selling services, you have more access to the people providing these services. They will likely have more time to work with you, as well as being able to respond faster when interest arises in your home or you hear of a home you're interested in seeing.
(2) Buyers and sellers both have less competition. There’s simply less inventory during the winter. This, in turn, makes for less competition for both buyers and sellers. For the seller, of the homes available, yours may be the only one fitting the criteria for a few eager buyers, resulting in a faster sale and maybe even a higher price. For the buyer, fewer buyers mean more negotiation room, rather than, as Jaeger describes it, “a feeding frenzy”, which pushes some buyers out of the game completely because they can't compete in a bidding war.
(3) Buyers and sellers may both be more motivated. For sellers, it's likely that they have a compelling reason to be selling in winter. Maybe they need to move for job reasons, financial reasons, or health reasons. Maybe they did start trying to sell their home last year, but it just didn't sell. No matter the compelling factor for selling in winter, they may be more likely to negotiate. This is actually good for both buyer and seller because the seller gets the sale they need, and the buyer may be able to land a much better deal than at other times of the year. NerdWallet.com research shows that homes actually can cost 8.45% less on average during January and February than in June through August. For a $150,000 home, that's a savings of over $12,000!
(4) Buyers and sellers can both enjoy a more relaxed pace. Choosing a new home can be very intimidating but fewer choices and a slower pace can make the decision-making process less overwhelming. Not only that, but less competition gives a buyer a little more time to consider a home before making an offer. For the seller, the slower pace of winter can be less stressful. If you've ever sold a home, you know the strain of constantly having the home “show ready”. A slower pace offers the seller breathing room to still really live in their home while trying to sell.
(5) Movers and other services are in less demand. This makes them more competitive during slower times of the year. For example, at the time of this writing, one big company, specializing in long-distance moves, showed this difference:
The criteria: Moving from Grand Rapids, MI to Lexington, KY, including the estimated needs of a three-bedroom home, help both loading and unloading the truck, and the use of a ramp.
If you moved at the end of February, including taxes and fuel charges you'd be looking at $1892. But if you move in the middle of May? The same exact services, including taxes and fuel charges, jumps to $2017.
(6) Winter home staging can reveal a lot. For both the buyer and the seller, winter is a great time to see what a home is really like. For the buyer, less natural light can help reveal whether or not interior lighting is adequate, what it's really like to navigate the driveway and walkways in winter, and whether or not doors and windows are drafty. For the seller, winter is a great time to show the coziness and homey touches that set your home apart from others on the market. Things like having a fire going in the fireplace, showing off adequate lighting, having ideal room layouts, and having excellent home heat retention can get the desired offer.
Where does USAA fit into this home buying/selling business?
First off, USAA is an organization founded by military members for military members. When you join, you get an abundance of free financial resources and personalized savings.
One unique service for members is their Real Estate Rewards program. Stay tuned for part two as Greg walks us through some of the benefits of Real Estate Rewards.
Who can become a member of USAA?
- Active Military – Individuals who are currently serving in the U.S. Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marines or Navy.
- Former Military – Those who have retired or separated from the U.S. military with a discharge type of Honorable.
- Family – Widows, widowers and un-remarried former spouses of USAA members who joined USAA prior to or during the marriage and individuals whose parents joined USAA. One of the many benefits to a USAA membership is that it can pass down the line from parents or grandparents.
- Cadets and Midshipmen – Cadets and midshipmen at U.S. service academies, in advanced ROTC or on ROTC scholarship, plus officer candidates within 24 months of commissioning.
If you are not eligible for a USAA membership yourself, you probably know someone who is. Please let them know about this wonderful money-saving program that USAA has to offer.