Greenwich Market Watch: Time to List

Most people have the perception that the time to sell a home is during the spring and summer seasons. Homeowners and potential sellers think this way, because they believe families don’t wish to move during the school year. There are good reasons that this perception isn’t right. Employment and life events don’t respect any particular time of year.

Winter can be a great time to sell a home as more serious buyers look in winter. The month of December can be a good time to list your home, because buyers may have vacation time to look for a home or people find it a bit easier to leave their office.

An advantage to listing in winter is that there is less competition. While others wait for the spring to list, winter sellers will get the first shot at those looking for a home. Another advantage to listing in the winter is that contractors are more available and more negotiable on the costs of work needing to be done. Understandably, the spring and summer is when most homeowners wish to sell or wish to have work done.

Another plus, is that moving companies are more available and negotiable on packing, shipping and storage because of less demand.

Keep in mind, however, the sun goes down earlier in the winter so there is less time in a day to show. Exterior lighting should come on as soon as it becomes dark. Buyers will be seeing winter views (which can be a positive for some sellers with water views in the winter season), but for others it may be less picturesque. Having pictures of the home during all seasons will help buyers.

Many buyers in the winter are considering starting a family or wishing to down-size so the school-time line is not a factor. A home in the winter should appear warm, cozy and bright. Natural light becomes very important during the winter time.

Sidewalks, pathways, steps and driveways should be cleared of snow and ice at all times when listing during the winter. It shows care and addresses the need for safety. Realtors should make sure that when a snow storm is long gone, the pictures of the home are updated to show the property without snow.

Pricing appropriately (as close to market value) becomes more important in the winter season. Buyers continue to make offers only if the property is offered at market price. Buyers still look at comps (properties that have sold in the past six months and those under contract). Pricing on the high-end of the range can lead to more days on the market regardless of the season.

In closing, as of December, Fairfield County ranked high for new building permits. Greenwich, Bethel and Fairfield held the top slots in that order (source: U.S. Census Bureau). Buyer preferences remain for smaller, easier to maintain homes. Greenwich recorded 100 residential permits in 2015. The newer housing inventory is outpacing older homes or what is considered to be a knock-down.

Mary Ann Clark is a realtor with Coldwell Banker at 177 West Putnam Avenue in Greenwich. Questions or comments may be emailed [email protected]

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