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Should You List Your House in the Winter?

By Maurie Backman – Nov 18, 2021 at 9:47AM

Key Points

  • Many home sellers avoid listing their properties during the winter due to the challenges involved.
  • If you sell during the winter, you might enjoy less competition.
  • You might also encounter issues that normally wouldn't arise when the weather is warmer.

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The quick answer? It depends.

You'll often hear that selling stocks at the right time could make you very wealthy. Well, the same holds true when it comes to selling real estate assets.

Whether you're selling your personal home or an investment property, the timing of that sale could dictate how profitable you are. And so you may be wondering whether selling a home during the winter months is a good idea.

The answer? It's a bit of a mixed bag.

House with snow-covered lawn.

Image source: Getty Images.

The upside of listing a house in the winter

You'll often hear that spring is the most popular time to list a home, and for good reason. At that point, the elements are likely to be cooperative, and it's easy to show off a home's curb appeal.

Because so many sellers commonly list their homes during the spring, there tend to be fewer listings during the winter. And that's a good thing.

The less competition you have when selling a home, the more bargaining power you get. If there's a buyer who really wants to own property in your neighborhood and your house is the only one that fits into that buyer's price range, you may find that you're easily able to command your asking price.

The downside of listing a house in the winter

While minimizing the competition may be one perk of listing a home during the winter months, the flip side is that harsh weather could mess with the process of showing your house. All it takes is a single snowstorm to cancel an open house or postpone individual showings. And that could lead to your home sitting on the market longer.

Is that automatically a bad thing? Well, it can be.

As a general rule, homes that sit on the market tend to do so for a reason. And it's hard for potential buyers to know whether that reason is weather-related delays or actual problems with the property itself. And so, if your home ends up sitting without an offer for weeks on end, buyers might stay away by virtue of that alone.

Also, if your home has a lot of appealing outdoor features, listing it in the winter may not be your best bet. After all, how are supposed to show off your beautiful in-ground pool when it's under a cover and buried in snow? And if you've sunk a lot of money into landscaping through the years, well, too bad -- you won't get to highlight that, either.

What's the right call?

You could come out ahead financially by listing your home at a time when the competition is apt to be sparse. Or you could lose out on a higher offer by not being able to show off your curb appeal and other key home features. Plus, delays in showing your home could make the entire process of selling more stressful.

Ultimately, you'll need to weigh the pros and cons to see what's best for you. If you don't have a specific timeline to follow, you may opt to go with the masses and list your home during the spring. But if there's a specific reason you want to sell in the winter, you shouldn't assume that it will work out poorly for you right off the bat.

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