In Canada the winters are harsh and are historically a less popular time to buy a home. Throughout the winter months, cold weather can make it harder to attract potential buyers. During the holiday season, buyers are also distracted and busy with family obligations, work deadlines, or holiday celebrations. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t sell your home during the winter. Homebuyers are shopping for a variety of reasons; a sudden relocation, new job, loss, or pregnancy can inspire buyers to begin looking for a new place to call home year-round. Winter housing markets in Canada this year are expected to be busier than previous years. Align your selling strategy with the winter conditions and you can attract a great buyer, regardless of the season.

Tips for selling your home in the winter

It’s always important to stage a home intentionally when you’re selling, but you’ll want to add some extra steps to the list when you’re staging a home in the winter. The same rules apply; maximize curb appeal, keep it clean, do repairs, and declutter. But winter home sales require a bit of extra shoveling and consideration to achieve success.

Highlight winter benefits

What makes your home a lovely place to be in the winter? Emphasize cozy elements that make potential buyers feel warm and comfortable. 

 

  • Make sure lighting is warm and welcoming, light a fire in the fireplace, drape a cozy blanket on the sofa, and open curtains to highlight natural light. 
  • Consider winter-friendly plants near windows, a nice kettle on the stovetop, and an appealing bathtub setup with candles nearby. 
  • If skiing, skating, or sledding are popular in your neighbourhood, consider highlighting this for additional appeal. 
  • Leave a pile of neatly chopped firewood on the porch or light a pine-scented candle to inspire winter daydreams.
  • Consider simple, white Christmas lights to make the house look festive in a simple, classy, way and add a glow that adds to curb appeal. 
  • Keep your house warm for showings. Make sure the temperature indoors is comfortable and cozy without being too hot. 

Tackle the winter elements

Make sure your house is easily accessible and that snow and ice are well cleared away for visitors. Shovel the driveway and the front steps, knock icicles off eavestroughs, clear snow from the front porch, and dust off any buried outdoor surfaces that you want to show off. Invest in a good welcome mat so visitors can easily brush off shoes and boots before coming inside, and consider having extra clean warm socks or slippers by the door. Make sure your pets don’t pee in the yard; yellow snow is an unwelcome introduction. A snowy yard can also work in your favour, allowing potential buyers to imagine the landscaping the way they’d like it to be. 

Price strategically

You may be lucky by reaching buyers at a time where less properties are on the market. But pricing a property too high might cause it to sit on the market for a while and can make your property look stale. Ask your real estate professional about pricing strategies based on the seasonal trends in your local housing market.

Make it look great online

When it’s cold outside, buyers may spend more time investigating a property online before they venture out into the cold to see it in person. It may take more to lure a buyer out than it did in the warm, sunny days of summer, but they’ll likely take more time researching a property before they commit to a viewing. Properly staging and photographing a home intentionally is especially important in the winter. Hire a good photographer to take photos that highlight your home as a beacon of warmth in the snowy months, and include detailed language that highlights what makes your home stand out. Consider including photos from summer months so that buyers feel confident imagining themselves living in this home throughout the year.

Pros of selling your home in winter

Even though there are added challenges with a winter sale in a cold climate, selling your home in the winter can have surprising benefits.

A less hectic market

You may avoid a bidding war in a quieter market where there’s less competition. There may be fewer buyers but there are also fewer homes, giving you a chance to stand out and secure the right buyer.

Life changes

Companies often restructure, promote, or relocate employees in January and February, and the new year is a popular time for potential buyers to imagine making a change or a fresh start.

Less administrative backlog

You may experience quicker turnaround times if you’re employing a contractor, realtor, or lawyer in the slow winter season when they’re not as busy.

Convenient for you as a buyer

If you’re planning to buy a new home after you’ve listed yours or made a sale, a winter home sale sets you up to begin looking for a new home at the beginning of the spring season, when there are options. If you can successfully sell your home in the winter, you may enter the market just in time to buy at a lower price point.

Serious buyers

Overall, winter is also a season for serious buyers. People looking to purchase a home –– and willing to venture into the snow to view it –– are more likely serious buyers looking to commit to a home sale. The spring months may open a flow of window shoppers flocking to tour, but that doesn’t make it a more certain market.

Set up for a winter home sale with OJO

OJO provides personalized guidance for your real estate journey. Work with top-rated, local real estate agents and gain access to financial insights and advice from RBC Home Advisors.

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