If I were selling my home in winter, here’s what I would do

By Selling Your Home
If I were selling my home in winter, here's what I would do

Are you thinking of selling your home in winter? You’re not alone. As of the time of this writing, there are over 1,600 homes for sale in our region, which is covered by Intermountain MLS. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that there are no buyers out and about in winter. They are out there with cash or a loan in hand to buy your home.

Right now, there are over 3,000 homes pending. That means there are plenty of buyers out there, and they are busy clearing out available inventory. That is good for you, the seller. There are still buyers out there looking for properties, but fewer homes getting listed. That means less competition for your home from all the other homes that could be on the market, but aren’t.

One reason for this may be that some agents slow down their marketing and thus work less in the winter. Not me. If you’re interested in listing your home in winter, I would love to do that for you. Here are some tips for getting the best sales price from your house in this situation. If you list with me, I’ll help you step by step to get the best price.

Six Tips for selling your home in winter

  1. Understand the psychology of winter buyers
  2. Make sure your agent is comfortable doing virtual showings
  3. Make sure your agent knows how to get visitors to virtual showings
  4. Yes, your agent should still do IRL open houses
  5. Use virtual staging to increase online engagement
  6. Make sure your agent is promoting your home on social media

Understand the psychology of winter buyers

Typically, winter buyers fall into two categories. They either really need to buy at that time, so choosing the season isn’t an option, or for some other reason they don’t want to wait until warmer weather. Maybe they came into an inheritance, or have been saving and are ready to buy their first home. While some homeowners think that selling their home in warmer months is better for them, that’s not necessarily the case. Buyers in the winter months, as you can see, are typically not window shoppers. They are serious buyers.

Those who actually show up at a home to look at it during winter are the most motivated of the motivated. They not only want or need to get this done, they are willing to get out into the weather and do it. It’s your agent’s job to find these buyers for you!

Make sure your agent is comfortable doing virtual showings

I love doing virtual showings. What is that, you ask? Well, it’s like an open house, buy is done live online. Typically, I’ll get on Facebook live and walk the property inside and out. Visitors drop into my Facebook following to check out the property, and they can share the virtual showing with their friends. They can do that while it’s in progress, or share the recording later if they think their friends might like the home.

Doing virtual showings takes an outgoing agent willing to go on video live and unscripted. A virtual showing is neither highly produced nor flawless. The agent carries around the phone and flips back and forth between the front facing camera and the forward facing camera. He’ll spend time talking personally to viewers as well as showing them them house. This is a great way to attract winter home buyers to your home. It allows virtual interaction with your agent (I’d be honored if that’s me!) and keeps the buyers from having to get out into the cold weather. If they like your home via a virtual showing, hopefully they’ll want to come take a look in person and make an offer.

Make sure your agent knows how to get visitors to virtual showings

Hosting a virtual showing is not the same as getting eyeballs onto your virtual showing. Agents need to have a large enough social media following, and spend some advance time promoting the time and date of the virtual event. That can be done through various social media outlets, regardless of which live broadcasting app is used for the event. An agent should be promoting the upcoming event on Instagram, Facebook, even YouTube and other platforms like Twitter or Gab.com.

Yes, your agent should still do IRL open houses

You may be wondering if you should still do open houses IRL (In Real Life). The answer is yes, for two reasons. First, motivated buyers will still want to see your home in person before making an offer. It’s rare (although it does happen) to get a buyer who is so motivated that they will buy your home sight unseen. So having virtual open houses is not a replacement for traditional open houses. The virtual open houses are a way to pique interest from buyers who are online to get them to show up in person. Of course, an interested viewer of a virtual showing may contact your agent directly for a showing, bypassing a physical open house, and that’s great. But I wouldn’t recommend NOT doing traditional open houses during winter. Don’t be surprised if attendance is less than you want in the winter, but expect that and move forward with them.

Use virtual staging to increase online engagement

Virtual staging provides enhancements to your home for the benefit of online and in-person prospective buyers. Virtual staging simply means adding newer, more modern furnishings to your photos, or even renovations. It is very acceptable to furnish your home virtually to give buyers a way to envision the space being used without all your personal effects interfering with their imagination. There is a fine ethical line to be aware of, however, and that is that you don’t want to misrepresent how things could be as how things are. Full disclosure of virtual enhancements is best, particularly when it comes virtual renovations. For instance, your agent could give your home a virtually remodeled kitchen or master bath. But it would be important to note that in the photos so the buyer knows that they are seeing what could be done to enhance the space.

Make sure your agent is promoting your home on social media

This may go without saying these days, but I’ll say it anyway. Your agent needs to be active on social media, regularly promoting himself and your property to his sphere of influence online. Some agents make the mistake of listing a home and forgetting about it, thinking that the MLS will do all the heavy lifting for them. In reality, the MLS is like a competitive arena for all the properties on the market. Listing your home in the MLS is very minimum that needs to be done, but it doesn’t ensure a successful sale. That requires marketing skills, both online and offline.

Fortunately, I can help you there. As a former marketing director and public relations guy, I’ll get your home the exposure it needs to sell any time of year—whether there’s snow on the ground or not.

Bonus FAQ

Many people wonder if it’s better to use an exterior photo from summer for their home’s MLS listing if they are listing at a time when there’s snow on the ground. I feel like that’s OK if and only if you also have current photos in the listing with the actual snow on the ground. Why, you ask? Because it’s OK to show the home how it looks in summer as long as it doesn’t look like the home’s been listed since summer and hasn’t yet sold. That can look bad. But if you have snow on the ground for some photos, but also a summer photo to show winter buyers, that’s perfectly fine.

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