Traditionally, prime time for property sales has always begun in spring and lasted through summer. Although, listing your home in fall may suit your circumstances, you must take into account the factors impacting on autumn home sales.
There are many motives why spring signals the start of the busy season for home-selling and home-buying. One reason is that longer days and summer vacation has most families finalizing home moves before the new school year starts.
But families with children are only part of the equation. Increasingly, out-of-season buyers make up a large percentage of would-be purchasers, particularly in a very competitive market. Two types of home shoppers most likely to be active in the off-season are millennials and empty nesters.
Selling out-of-season has unique factors but being aware of them allows homeowners to take a proactive approach.
- Prices drop in fall and winter
With more buyers in spring and summer, the supply of homes is actually tighter than in fall and winter, leading to higher prices. Prices tend to be lower in the off season because there are fewer houses on the market.
One common strategy is to apply “winter pricing,” increasing the listing price which allows the seller to consider a lower offer.
According to one study, average sellers often net a figure above the asking price during the fall and winter months, even in cold-weather locations.
- Selling in the off season is less likely to attract a bidding war
Bidding wars are a big plus translating to more money in the seller’s pocket and buyers are less likely to make repair requests or other demands.
When inventory is high, there’s more chance for multiple offers. But if your housing market is “hot,” the buyers will be there regardless. With the right marketing, homes listed in the off-season can sell faster than those hitting the market in spring.
- Buyers tend to be looking for a bargain
Many buyers search for property in the off-season hoping to find a bargain. Often, off-season sellers have to list their property for an unplanned reason – death in the family or a layoff -and buyers expect a good deal above all else.
Investors intentionally looking for discounted property will be actively checking the autumn home sales and you may have to field some lowball offers.
- Buyers willing to go house hunting in the cold and wet are going to be very motivated.
Although you may find bargain hunting shoppers knocking at your door, it doesn’t mean the motivated buyer isn’t out there. It can actually pay to list in the winter, when buyers tend to have more urgency.
Many off-season buyers are more motivated and focused. These folks need to find the right property quickly. For various reasons, they need to move – it may be relocation or another situation that is motivating them. Buyers willing to brave shorter days and inclement weather to house hunt are usually serious.
- Homes selling in fall and winter will have less curb appeal
Selling in autumn and later means you loose the green lawns and blooming flowers of spring and summer landscaping. Fall and winter can be bland and a little dreary but you can use that to your advantage.
That all-important curb appeal can be brightened up with basic landscaping and the addition of inexpensive cool-weather plants. Don’t forget to keep the driveways and sidewalks as clear as possible,
Offset the season’s poor natural light and create a sense of warmth in your home by adjusting your staging to suit the season. Throw an afghan over the sofa, stack wood by the fireplace and display pictures that show the house in its summer finery.
With millennials and empty nesters actively buying year round, autumn home sales can even turn out to be better financially.