As you all know, we are entering into the coldest time of the year. The holidays are on our mind, and we would much rather come home after a long day of work and snuggle up on the couch than leaving it for hours so that strangers can peruse through it. Unfortunately, when your house is on the market, you’ve got to be flexible and allow time for Real Estate Agents to show the property at a moment’s notice. During the Spring and Summer, the weather is warmer and it’s easier to find something fun to do for a few hours. Often times, if there is only one viewing, you can take a walk around the block and return after the agent and potential buyer has left.
Is the weather the only deterrent for buyers at this time of year? Not necessarily. While the volume of shoppers slims down considerably in the Fall and Winter, this group of buyers are really focused. They understand that the volume of available inventory is less, so with supply being limited they are much more aggressive in making a reasonable offer when they find a home they like. Therefore, when a seller does get a showing, they become much more valuable than they were in the warmer weather. The confidence level is higher in the warmer weather, as sellers may say to themselves, “I’m not concerned, I’ll have a half dozen more showings this weekend.” This is definitely not the mindset of a seller during the off-season.
In addition, keep in mind that since your house may sit a little longer on the market, you need to be prepared for possible price drops and/or revamping your marketing strategy. When a house sits on the market for 45 days or more buyers will ask the question, “What’s wrong with the property?” Whether or not you want to sit tight on the price is up to you, but if you need to move immediately, you’ll need to keep in consideration what it will take to get that house sold. Sellers get anxious when their houses sit for a few months and naturally so. The last thing you want to have happen is to pay the next 6 mortgage payments and be hassled by viewings when if you just dropped your price and took a decent offer months ago, you’d probably already be in your next home.
In summary, it’s a different kind of market in the colder months in Hampton Roads. I’m not telling you that your house can’t or won’t sell. What I am telling you is that every showing counts so please keep your property clean, marketed correctly, priced right and be willing to negotiate.