Homes may be tougher to sell during the winter, but new research from Zillow released Monday showcases key steps a seller can take in order to stand out.
Sellers are traditionally less eager to list during the winter, well aware of the drop in demand that occurs between the still-busy fall and the red-hot spring home markets.
But for some sellers looking to buy their next home at the same time, listing in this period might be worth the tradeoff, according to the report.
Those sellers might just consider the extra preparation that could vault their listing to the top of more buyers’ winter lists — including weather-related projects they might otherwise put off.
“Your home should be safe and welcoming for all buyers, so be prepared for winter weather in your local area,” Landro said in the report.
Above all, think “cozy” when staging a home for a crop of winter buyers, according to the report. Below, five takeaways from Zillow’s report.
If you’re selling a home that has winter-friendly features, show them off in both the listing description and the photos. Listings on Zillow that mentioned keywords like “heated floor” or “radiant heat” sold for 3.2 percent more than expected.
That advantage was based on an analysis of listings throughout 2020, so it’s good advice year-round. But it stands to reason these cozy features, such as fireplaces and winterized garages, may be even more attractive to buyers during the frigid months of winter, Zillow argues.
Sellers should also emphasize their listing’s “online curb appeal,” the report argues.
“Around 95% of buyers now use online tools in their home search, and in the winter months, fewer home shoppers are inclined to spend chilly weekends touring open houses,” the report reads. “Instead, they winnow down their options from the comfort of their living room.”
On Zillow’s platform, 3-D virtual home tours have been particularly successful at driving eyes to a listing. Listings with this feature attracted 45 percent more views and 57 percent more saves than other home listings.
In the report, Jennifer Landro of Wisconsin’s Landro Fox Cities Realty says homes listed during winter should be adequately prepared for cold weather.
That can include outdoor projects that take some advance planning — such as shoveling snow in areas with colder climates.
But it can also include indoor considerations during a season when natural light is harder to come by.
“As the days get shorter, keep your house light and bright, even during the daytime,” Landro said in the report. “Having all the window coverings open and all the lights on is just as important during the day as it is at night during the winter. Create a welcoming mood right from the start by having good exterior lights for a bright first impression and to guide buyers into your home.”
Sellers should make efforts to extend lighting into every corner of the home, if possible. Seasonal — but subtle — scents can also help lend an impression that this home is a cozy place to live during the winter.
If the home doesn’t have a fireplace, playing a fireplace video on the TV screen can create a similar feeling, the report argues.