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Winter seller leads – is that a thing? Some call it the “off-season” for real estate, but successful agents know better – winter is a kick-hiney season to sell a home.
If you aren’t telling potential clients about the winter advantage – right now – you will have an off-season for the rest of winter.
NAR statistics tell us that fewer homes sell in winter than in spring. Their studies show that in November, home sales slide about 8 percent. In January, they slide even more – 27 percent to be exact.
These numbers make sense: fewer homes are on the market, so naturally, fewer homes sell
The media then steps in and trumpets these statistics, adding their own take on why this is so. If they told the whole truth, or a clue about the housing market in general, I have a feeling we’d have far more winter clients. You can use this data to generate winter seller leads – and even better, winter listings!
What is the whole truth?
Homes are more likely to sell in winter than at any other time of year
Not only that, they sell quicker and they sell for more money. These statistics hold, at various percentages, whether the home is in balmy San Diego, CA or snowy Washington D.C.
In fact, according to a late 2013 study, the likelihood of selling a D.C. home within six months in the winter is 67 percent, but it’s only 57 percent in summer and 60 percent in spring.
NAR does us no favors by claiming that the reason for the winter sales slump is because of January’s “cold, dark weather” across most of the country.
Sure, that may be part of the reason, but most of the slide in sales can be attributed to the media helping to form public perception that winter is a horrible month for real estate deals.
“Just your luck — you have to sell your home in winter, the slowest and dreariest sales season of all,” begins a column on winter selling from USA Today.
“Winter can be the toughest season to put a house on the market,” claims a writer at Fox News before he goes on to give us tips to increase our “chances of a winter sale.”
Naturally, homeowners read these news items and form an opinion that selling during winter is a stupid idea and and decide to hold out until spring.
Worse yet are the homeowners who take their homes off the market as winter approaches, aiming to re-list in spring
Sadly, by not selling during winter, they may be missing a prime opportunity to finally get the home sold and for top dollar.
Because other homeowners took the media bait, there is far less competition for those who do list and homeowners are definitely in the driver’s seat in a winter transaction.
What would motivate someone to buy a house in the dead of winter, especially in areas with wicked weather?
Job transfers are high on the list of reasons, so if you practice real estate in an area that receives large influxes of transferees, winter is an even better time to sell.
‘It’s true that if your home isn’t on the market in winter, the new Microsoft manager relocating from CA won’t see it and will thus buy another home,” agrees Seattle agent and broker Sam DeBord at seattlepi. com.
“But that same situation for a home seller who is on the market is magnified. Your competition is nowhere to be seen,” he continues.
“While the buyer may have had 30 homes to choose from in June, there may only be 10 homes that fit their criteria in January. If they are motivated to buy, they will choose one of those 10 homes.”
Do your prospective sellers know the winter real estate secret?
Late summer is the best time to let them know, but it’s never too late. With the right positioning, you can turn winter seller leads into winter solds!
Someone out there may be fence-sitting, waiting for spring – generate winter seller leads
One of the best ways to get the word out about selling during winter is via your blog, on social media postcards or newsletter. You can also generate winter seller leads throughout the year as you speak with potential sellers.
The call to action? That depends on the time of year.
Even though they won’t be listing until winter, urge folks in spring or summer to take advantage of free “green photography”, snapping the marketing photos for the property while the sky is still blue and the trees still have their leaves.
Even California has deciduous trees and flowering perennials that look much better then than they will in a few months.
Winter doesn’t have to be the “off season,” but it takes agents educating homeowners about the benefits of selling during the year’s final season to make that apparent.
Bust the winter selling myth and bash the media’s ill-conceived perceptions – you can generate winter sellers leads. Tell us – what’s working for you?
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