If you intend to list your house, the conventional thinking for most sellers is that winter is not a great time to move or sell. Buyers have supposedly gone into hibernation mode, and many won’t emerge until March and April to put their homes for sale or go house-hunting.

But that’s not always the case. Although the winter market presents a unique set of challenges, it can also be a great time to sell your home. So why not jump ahead of the competition and list your house now?

Buyers are serious

Buyers who are out looking at homes this time of year tend to be highly motivated and want to close as soon as possible. You won’t have as much foot traffic as you would in the spring, but these potential buyers are touring homes now because they’re especially eager to close.

Many people venture out in the cold or other undesirable elements for a variety of reasons: Some buyers may have to relocate for a new job, or may need to sell their house to make room for new family members. Regardless of the reason, they need a place to live, and they don’t want to wait — or can’t wait — until spring.

Competition is scarce

Since most sellers wait until after the winter to list their homes, you would face considerably less competition now compared to the frenzied activity associated with the spring market. After all, many sellers have bought into the common idea that winter is a home-selling dead zone, and they’ll flood the market after the warm weather returns.

And a 2013 study by Redfin backs this idea: The national real estate brokerage company found that homes sold in the winter are 9 percent more likely to sell, will spend a week less on the market than average, and even sell for slightly higher than homes listed at other times.

Tips for winter home tours

Because of the challenges winter can present, help put potential buyers in the right mood. As you would at any time of the year, make sure your home looks cared for and well-maintained. Take the necessary steps to make it cozy, warm, inviting and family-friendly.

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Make sure the house numbers are visible, so buyers can find your home.
  • Clear the sidewalk of snow and ice.
  • Make sure the buyer has a place to park.
  • Place a mat at the entrance and other doors to help keep floors clean and dry.
  • Set the thermostat to a comfortable temperature.

Despite what some people might tell you, there really is no bad time to sell. Listing your home before the competition heats up in the spring may be the best strategy for getting the highest possible price, in the shortest period of time.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons