As autumn gets underway, now is the perfect time for real estate agents to get prepared for the coming winter. The profession is a year-round job, although during the colder months the task of attracting buyers and selling properties could become more difficult.
However, it isn't impossible. Quality Realtors find ways to sell at all times during the year - and regardless of whether or not the listings include foreclosed houses or other types of properties - there are a few steps to take in order to keep buyer interest high.
Prepping the home before selling
Bad weather doesn't do anyone any favors, especially real estate agents. Less daylight hours make every showing seem like a race against time, and during the winter more accommodations might have to be taken since it isn't considered peak buying season, according to Bankrate.com.
Therefore, home staging is a very important aspect to selling during this time, and that could mean going beyond the traditional design changes. Ron Phipps, Rhode Island-based broker with Phipps Realty, told the news source that winter makes it more difficult to make a property appealing.
For starters, real estate records are a great way for an agent to help current buyers, and possibly make any adjustments to a home. Picking the right elements to showcase while a property is listed could make a lot of difference in reaching the smaller buyer segment during the winter.
Additionally, snow and ice should be kept in check, even if the weather has been especially harsh, the news source noted. Buyers need to be able to access the home easily, and having a tough or dangerous time getting to the front door might quickly persuade them that the house isn't worth living in. A property should be well maintained all the time, even if that means breaking out the shovels before an open house.
While light might be a tough commodity to acquire during these months, most showings should take place during the day. Natural light is a big advantage for sellers, and the brighter the house is the more attractive it could look.
Regardless of the time of year, real estate agents should be well informed. Courthouse Retrieval System can provide mortgage records, property data and other crucial information for anyone trying to buy or sell when it's cold outside.
Take extra steps to attract interest
The techniques that typically get people looking at a property during the spring and summer might not work as well during the winter. Despite that, there should still be some level of buyer activity at this time, and agents should try a few tactics to reach this segment.
The dedicated buyers who are searching might be drawn to realistic asking prices, according to The Street. Fewer buyers and sellers doesn't mean that they aren't devoted to the process, and attractive listing prices could drum up interest and bids. Homes should be priced accurately and fairly, so potential offers aren't turned away. A home appraisal is highly useful, and information from that should help determine market value.
Another key step is the marketing. Smart Realtors take photos before the snow falls, if possible. A home might look better surrounded by fall foliage or in the middle of summer. Winter weather often hides important home features, the news source reported. Buyers are more interested in the property itself than snow banks.
In addition, the overall appearance of the property - from outside in - should be tailored to appeal to winter design elements and trends, The Street noted. Realtors could recommend a warm fire burning when people walk in, or tasteful holiday decorations. Plastic reindeer might be too much, but festive color choices should help sell during the winter.