Should you list your home in winter?

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, but is that true for real estate?

Conventional wisdom states that winter is the worst time to buy or sell a home, but we haven’t had a conventional real estate market in a while. People used to be less interested in buying and selling during the hustle and bustle of the holiday seasons, but the rules have been rewritten.

Why you should list your home in winter

The Internet Has Changed Everything

The internet lets buyers explore a new home without ever leaving the comfort of their own. Part of the old argument against listing your home in winter was the fact that shorter days meant fewer daylight hours. It’s hard to get a good look at the exterior of a home when it’s dark out. The internet has once again made this concern obsolete. If you do list your home in winter, it is a good idea to make sure the exterior of your home is well light. Focus on making your home look inviting for any prospective buyers who drive by or come to a showing.

Inventory is Down

The lack of housing inventory is well known. Factors such as the strong economy, the low unemployment rate, the Millennial generation coming of age and Baby Boomers looking to downsize has meant stiff housing competition.The McMansions that were so popular just before the housing crisis in the late aughts have faded from favor and instead smaller, more affordable homes are in high demand. Regardless of the type of home you have, listing in winter means you’ll face less competition on the market and your home will stand out.

Flaunt It If You’ve Got It

Winter is a great time to show off some of the special features of your home. Whether it’s a fireplace, built-in sound system, or formal dining room. With the holidays around the corner and entertaining on the mind, if you list your home in winter, these “extras” will really make your home stand out.

It is also a great time to showcase any energy efficiency upgrades you have as well.  Depending on where you live, winter may also bring out some of the challenges in a home. Think frosty windows and icy gutters–so being able to show your home at a challenging time, as long as your home stands up to the challenge, will help buyers see the value.

Nosey Neighbors Need Not Apply

Winter tends to bring out serious buyers. While there are great advantages to buying and selling a home in the winter, the fact of the matter is that most people are not looking for a new home during the holidays. This also means that the ones who are looking are serious about making a deal happen. You can expect that if you list your home in winter, any person who shows interest is motivated and ready to make a deal.

Winter can be an excellent time to sell your home, although it isn’t for everyone. If you’re considering putting your home up for sale this holiday season do you research, find an agent you trust, and enjoy the process. After all, it’s the most wonderful time of the year!

Home Staging for the Holidays

Can home staging with holiday decorations help you sell?

As the holiday season approaches, home sellers wonder what to do with their holiday decor. Does stringing up holiday lights make your home stand out or will it turn a buyer off? Should you hang your stockings with care or keep them in storage as one less thing to pack? Will seasonal decorations distract a potential buyer from your granite counter tops or will it draw their eye to your Craftsman-style built-ins? 

According to, 92% of realtors advise putting out some sort of decorations when trying to sell your home during the holidays. This home staging can range from putting out only non-religious seasonal decor (think snowflakes and ice skates) to putting out everything, including religious items like mangers or menorahs. When it comes to deciding what to do for your particular home, geography and local culture should be your guide.

Regardless of the specific type of decor you choose to use, here are a few tips home staging tips to make your place shine during a holiday-season open house.

home staged for holidays

Use the senses to your advantage

Scent is the sense most closely tied to memory and home sellers can use this to their advantage. Baking cookies is always a hit as it will make your kitchen smell divine. Use pre-made cookie dough so you won’t have dirty dishes to deal with and pop them in the oven just before the open house or showing begins to set a homey vibe.

Another tip is to light some seasonally-scented candles. The candlelight will bring a romantic flair to your rooms while the scent will add to the experience you’re creating. If you decide to set up an artificial Christmas tree, you may want to consider using a scent stick (available where most holiday decorations are sold) to really drive home the holiday smells, although be cautious of going overboard with this.

Assess your outdoor lighting

While you don’t need to string up lights (although you can if you’d like), you are going to need to make sure you have adequate lighting outside. As the hours of sun per day decreases, buyers are more likely to see your home in the dusk/dark so you want to make sure to have good lights. Not only will this help to showcase your property, it’s a necessary safety precaution.

A good rule of thumb is to use at least a 60-watt bulb, although if you have two fixtures together you can get by with 40-watt bulbs. These will provide enough light to show off your home without looking too bright or out of place. If your home is in a more remote area or you need additional light, consider using up to 120-watt bulbs in a floodlight fixture to really make your house shine.

Showcase the features of your home

The holiday season is the perfect time to showcase the special areas and features of your home. While you wouldn’t use your fireplace in the middle of August, lighting it up in December reminds buyers how nice a warm hearth can be. Have a built-in sound system? Show it off by softly playing some seasonal music. Have a lovely formal dining room? Set the table as if you were hosting a fancy dinner party complete with place settings and wine glasses. A little staging can go a long way to up the coziness factor throughout the home and provide the “wow” factor buyers are looking for.

While home staging isn’t required during any time of the year, it’s almost always a good idea. A trusty real estate agent can be a wonderful resource to help you find just the right amount of staging to draw in the best offers. Want to free up a little more cash for the holidays? Find agents who offer cash back to sellers through Cashifyd!