Real estate isn't only open for business during the warm winter months. People relocate every month of the year for numerous reasons. Whether moving out of state for another job or across the town for a larger home, people move for multiple reasons at all times of the year.
Of course, spring is the high season for real estate. Buyers come out of hibernation when the first rain shower falls or flowers bloom. People start dreaming of their new homes as soon as a bird chirps. But that doesn't mean that because spring is the most popular season for homes to go on the market, realtors should shut down their business during the long winter months.
Productivity during the winter months…
It can be hard. Understandably, as an agent, you would rather hunch down with a good book and a mug of tea than spend your winter sloshing through the icy cold months. Spending more days than not in the winter is tempting to watch a movie and eat popcorn or chips and queso. But the winter months are still a great time to be productive as an agent.
The good news is…
Winter real estate buyers and sellers are often serious ones. It's not often that people sell and relocate their homes unless there is a major life change. A financial crisis, job relocation/ a new job, sick family members, and other serious life changes can be the reason people move during the off-season. This means that people are often desperate to buy or sell and are flexible on price. A study conducted by Redfin found that, on average, homes sell faster and for more during the winter months.
Better yet, the internet is on 24/7, even during the coldest days. Instant access to property listings greatly influences buyers to find the courage to look for homes. It's a lot easier to shop for real estate from the comfort of a computer or phone instead of warming up the car and dredging through the cold weather and snow to attend an open house. Technology has changed things. Virtual open houses make touring a home easy. And sharing property details online makes choosing the right home easier than ever.
As a real estate agent, you can do a few things to make home selling easier for your clients. The winter months are darker, so adding light to the home will help sell it faster. Make sure the home is at a warm temperature for showings, so potential buyers feel cozy while walking through the home.
Winter/fall curb appeal is just as important as spring/summer curb appeal, so any other cozy touches added outside and inside the home can make a huge difference. Adding light along the walkways, decorating the trees with cute lights, adding different smells throughout the home, such as freshly baked cookies, and even decorating with cozy pieces, such as throw pillows and warm blankets, can make the home seem more appealing.
You can do a few things to help your client who is looking to purchase a home. First, it's much easier to find services, such as movers, which is great to mention to your client who may be hesitant to buy a home. Asking for summer photos is something you may also want to mention to your client, as it is harder to see certain elements of the property covered by winter snow. Finally, remind your client that winter is a great time to buy a house as it is easier to tell if the furnace works, how well-insulated the house is, if the roof has ice dams and if there are moisture problems.
It can be challenging to find warm leads during the cold winter months. However, it's not impossible.
Find hidden listings…
It is a hassle to try and find FSBO and expired listings and fight for them with other contender agents. That's why I suggest looking for hidden listings.
Searching for a hidden listing means that, as an agent, you look for homes that aren't on the market yet but could go on the market soon if the right opportunity comes along or when the buyer is ready. Making an effort to talk to a client before they think they are ready to sell their home may give them the push they need to list their property (with YOU).
There are numerous ways to scout for hidden listings, such as reaching out to owners of abandoned properties. If you need the homeowner's contact information, use Address Scoop to look up the owner's information behind the address.
Offer useful winter home tips on your blog…
Be the hero, and people will look up to you. An easy way to do that as a real estate agent is to attack the cold by giving helpful tips on how to combat the ice-cold temperatures on your blog and share some advice on how the frigid temps could affect their home. Some ideas for your blog include sharing how to prepare pipes or where to go in your neighborhood if there is a winter home emergency, which will also make you look like a hero as you offer free referrals to other local businesses. You can even ask these local businesses to reciprocate the referrals and establish partnerships.
Give back to the community…
Another great way to support your community is to be of service during the long winter. Hosting a food drive or making a drop-off for Toys for Tots is one of the many ways you can give back to the community. You could even host a fun holiday event with Santa Claus.
Talk to "on the fence" clients…
It may be wise to urge your clients who are on the fence about listing their property to NOT wait until spring. The spring market is typically busier, so more homes will be on the market. Winter homebuyers are more serious, which means it will be hard for them to find the right home at the right time.
There is never a "closed season" regarding real estate. People relocate throughout the year for many reasons. As an agent, you want to ensure you are putting in an effort every month of the year, even if it is tempting to hibernate like the bears during the long winter months.
Home sales slowdown during the winter months. However, there are still ways to access clients, even when it's cold outside. And as mentioned above, there are benefits to selling a home during the off-season.