Winter wonderland

Luxury Home in Winter

Harsh winds, frigid temperatures and epic snowfalls make up a typical winter for most Canadians. For those of us who aren't active in winter sports or aren't escaping winter all together in the sunny south, these long winter months can seem like the perfect time to hibernate and put off any major plans until a warmer season.

When it comes to real estate sales, spring is typically known as the best time to list a home... but are there advantages to listing during the winter months? The answer is "yes." Here's a list of 5 reasons why listing during the winter might prove to be even more beneficial.

1) During the early winter months, the market notoriously has fewer listings. Serious buyers actively searching for a property during this time will have fewer homes to chose from. If your property is listed for sale, that can equate to less market competition and potentially more money for you.

2) People who shop for a home during these months tend to be more serious buyers.

3) Some properties might potentially show better during the winter. Snow covered front yards and back yards, can mask any imperfections or landscaping inadequacies and potentially create a more favourable first impression.

4) You can sell sooner for more money. Options for a delayed closing or extended occupancy can be arranged if moving during winter is impractical.

5) January is traditionally the month for employees to begin new jobs. Transfers can't wait until spring to buy, so having your property already on the market opens the door to a greater number of potential buyers.

Purchasing property in the fall

Fall

From back to school, to the start of a new semester or simply back to work after summer vacation, autumn is a great time for change and new beginnings. Cooler temperatures and an ever-changing backdrop of fall colours help play into the mindset of change. For home buyers and sellers, fall is a season to get excited about and with it comes many potential pros in the real estate market.

If you're in the market to buy, chances are properties still on the market belong to owners who are serious about selling. And motivated sellers can mean room to negotiate on the price. Winter can bring a lull in the market's momentum as most people get caught-up with holidays and are less inclined to venture out and house hunt or simply aren't interested in up-rooting their family during the school year.

Fall is considered by most to be the second best season to sell a home. Vacation goers who were away during the summer can capitalize on the decreased competition in the housing market during the fall months. This can also mean more time to shop around and properly negotiate a price and longer-term closing date on the property.

Staging to sell

Congratulations! You're ready to put your home on the market! But before you take your first listing photo or host your first open house, consider that staging your home can help fetch a higher price for your property. And can all agree that in today's economy, any increase in revenue is an added bonus.

To start with, this means de-personalizing your home. Personal items and photos should be removed so that potential buyers can imagine themselves living in the home, and not you and your family.

Next, maximizing the space by decluttering can give the appearance of larger rooms and greater storage area. Removing non-essentials, organizing items or creating focal points help buyers visualize the potential in your home. Organization not your speciality? A professional home stager can help. Skilled at accentuating your home's best features and presenting your home in its best light, a home stager can easily create visual appeal.

So what's the most cost-effective and important step in staging your home? Cleaning it, of course! From sparkling bathrooms to gleaming kitchens, using a bit of elbow grease to make your home shine is well worth the effort. If this task seems daunting, consider hiring professional cleaners to give your home a once-over. Cleaning experts will be prepared to tackle everything from baseboards and windows, to deep cleaning your appliances.

Want to appeal to the masses? Present a neutral and modern picture. While bright accent walls and vibrant, contrasting colours might be your preference, a more neutral pallet will help potential buyers imagine how their own tastes would fit in your home. Open curtains and blinds to let in natural light and present a bright and airy home potential buyers will remember favourably.

Remember, most people will judge a home during the first 7-10 seconds they set foot on the property. Make sure your home creates the right first impression to maximize its sale potential.