Conventional wisdom says that home sales need to happen in the spring for any hopes of a positive result. Recent data on the subject, however, may indicate otherwise. Real estate listing website Redfin conducted a study into home sales patterns in the winter, and found that these sales posted some surprising statistics. For the last several years, according to the data, homes that went on the market in December through March were more likely to sell above asking price than during the more active months of April through November. In fact, homes seem to sell at their highest clip in February, during which 66 percent of homes for sale end up closed within 90 days.
While less competition and fewer options may lead buyers to pay more or speed up a deal, there are also typically less buyers looking anyway. Despite a spotless home inspection and a relatively hot market, you may still find chilly reception to your winter listing. If you're looking to sell this winter, know each and every one of your options for getting the most out of your home, and getting it sold in a timely manner.
It's very common for sellers to provide concessions toward a home with the hope of convincing buyers to close the deal. The most obvious of these perks involve some form of financial discount. In a guide to common seller concessions, Zillow recommended buying down the interest rate on a mortgage as the first option. Pretty much everyone relies on a mortgage to afford a home. While the interest rate of the mortgage depends on several factors, it is possible to reduce the rate by paying more up front. Buyers can elect to put extra money down and slightly reduce their mortgage rate. While it may not be more than a fraction of a percent, this can equate to significant savings over the life of a mortgage. And there's nothing stopping the seller of a home to offer some extra cash toward that goal. Offering to buy down the interest rate could be the one thing to push a buyer over the edge and convince them to close the deal.
Sellers can offer credits for a variety of other facets in the process of the sale, some of which may benefit each party by making things progress smoothly and quickly. As a seller, you may want to consider offering a credit for closing costs, including any minor repairs that may be needed in the home. It could also be advantageous to offer a discount for closing the sale by a predetermined time. If you're selling your home due to job relocation or for tax purposes, time is of the essence. Many buyers will jump at a home that's available as soon as possible, and an additional credit will make the pie that much sweeter.
The things that get people in the door and signatures on the dotted line may not always be purely financial. Sellers may offer to throw in some material extras like furniture to encourage a sale. Zillow noted that some homeowners may have furniture specially tailored to a remodeling of the interior, and thus willing to include some or all of it to lessen the blow for a buyer. Some sellers who are especially pressed for time or attention from buyers may consider offering a higher commission to brokers who can get people in the door.
"While a good buyers' agent should advocate for all homes for their buyer, no matter the commission, sometimes a bonus brings some necessary awareness to a stale property," Brendon Desimone wrote at Zillow. An extra 1 percent, or even half of that, could be all it takes to put your home at the top of the list.