For real estate professionals, the winter might be a time for a serious headache and a hiatus from the housing market.
However, recent information might change many people's perceptions about this time of year and homebuying. While the peak season typically runs during the warmer months, real estate agents may want to start advising clients - or at least reassuring them - that the winter can be the perfect time to get a property sold.
Listings in the winter more likely to sell
The winter could actually be an advantage. So, real estate agents with an abundance of listings this time of year might not have to be so worried about getting enough interest - those buyers could already be out there.
According to Redfin, winter listings are 9 percent more likely to sell. Between March 2011 and March 2013, a number of homes were looked at across all the markets serviced by the company. The results found that homes for sale in the winter averaged only 26 days on the market, while non-winter listings averaged 33 days. This is contrary to many people's current way of thinking. Typically, the hotter markets are considered the spring and summer, while between December and March is when homes sit.
In addition, the best specific housing market during the winter is Phoenix, where 75 percent of all homes were likely to get sold within six months, Redfin noted. Close behind are Los Angeles and several other California cities, as well as Washington, D.C., at 67 percent.
Courthouse Retrieval System offers an expansive collection of mortgage records, property data and much more for all real estate professionals. Access to this information could be the perfect compliment to any winter buying and selling strategy.
Realtors should be wary of potential problems
Even though the winter could be a good time to sell, homebuyers still encounter a number of problems, according to a Realtor.com survey. Many people have taken to the market because of a lack of success during the spring and summer, but the light competition doesn't negate all of the possible complications.
The Realtor.com survey found that a tight inventory caused problems during the winter. These issues were often left over from the past seasons, and that set the tone heading into December.
"This summer and spring home-buying season was particularly challenging for buyers, especially first-time home buyers trying to compete with all-cash offers and bidding wars because of reduced inventory," said Alison Schwartz, vice president of corporate communications at Realtor.com. "In fact, a quarter of the winter home buyers revealed they are in the market now because they were unable to find a home during this last home-buying season."
However, there are still plenty of positives. Sellers with listings during this time are often really trying to sell, and that could mean better deals. A real estate agent should keep these pluses and minuses in mind when advising clients about how to proceed, and for some the winter can be ideal for finding the perfect house.