Should I list my home in the off-season?

A common question we get here at the Christina Miller Real Estate Group is “When should I put my house on the market?”.   The standard answer among most real estate agents is to list during the spring and summer months since winter is generally referred to as real estate’s ‘off-season’.  But savvy buyers and sellers should ask themselves whether other factors may be at play.

While a slower real estate season may scare off some buyers and sellers, it can actually be the best time to for you to list or purchase a home.  While the rest of the market is hibernating until spring, buyers and sellers who make a move in this period may reap substantial rewards.

Sellers’ Competitive Advantage

Listing in the off-season can be particularly beneficial if you’re a seller; your competitive advantage is that the supply, or market inventory, is traditionally down from December through mid-February.  Come spring, a huge wave of new listings hits the market.  But listing now means there are fewer comparable homes with which to compete.  That means your home could receive more attention from buyers possibly giving you an upper hand in negotiations. Research suggests that homes listed in the winter are surprisingly more likely to sell, and some sellers net more above the asking price.

Additionally, given that the inventory levels this year are 12% lower on the island of Montreal compared to 2016, there are still many buyers out there who have yet to find their perfect home.  With pent up demand, listing this winter season may uncover more buyers than in years past!

Buyer advantages

The ‘off-season’ can also present overlooked benefits for buyers.  Sellers who choose to list their homes in mid-winter are often highly motivated sellers who need to sell quickly due to a major life change such as a job transfer, death or even divorce.   If other buyers are hibernating until springtime, and you are house-shopping with less competition, you may be in a better position to negotiate a favourable price.

Everyone’s More Motivated

During the spring and summer months you’re likely to encounter many who are just “testing the waters.”  However, more serious buyers and sellers stay active during the colder months often because they need to move quickly.  In fact, homes listed in the winter sell faster than any other time of year* (Matrix)

Cost Savings

Clients who move during the off-season report significant cost savings.  Moving companies are typically cheaper during the winter months than in the height of the high-season.  Service and repairs are less expensive as many contractors and service providers will offer discounts at this time.

Easier to Maintain: Curb Appeal

Maintenance of a home’s curb appeal is costly, but critical when selling during peak season.  Listing during the off-season is significantly less costly than for homes listed in the warmer months when you can end up breaking the bank planting annuals, and opening your pool.  A snow covered lawn costs nothing and looks beautiful in its own way.

If you want to learn more, let’s talk! Feel free to contact us directly.  We would be happy to set up a confidential viewing and appraisal appointment.

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