Profile picture for jzinckgra

Should we even bother relisting over the winter?

We've been listed for almost 5 months and are thinking of pulling off the market in 2 weeks and waiting to relist in the Spring. I don't want to reiterate what I've posted in other threads about current/previous showings, offers, etc., but suffice it to say, we have not sold yet. We are definately planning on getting a different realtor when relisted or might even try FSBO for a short while. Anyways, we live in new england (Mass)and thought about relisting over the winter, but wondering if it would be a waste, since who would really come looking at our house in the dead of winter? We spoke to another agent yesterday and she had what I thought was a good point in that most people taking their homes off the market now and waiting till Spring will open the door for us if we stay listed over the winter. Anotherwords, less homes on the market during winter = less competition. Sounds reasonable ,but I still think getting any showings with snow on the ground all winter will be nill. Since it does not cost us a dime to relist with an agent, maybe it is a good idea? I'm kinda on the fence, but my wife likes the idea.  Anyone ever sell their home in the dead of winter from northern climates?  

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October 20 2008 - US
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Replies (43)

You never know when the buyer for your home will come. If you are serious about selling, put it on asap. If you would rather not have people looking at your home during the holidays (Although it would probably show so nicely:-) then wait until spring.

Some buyers will wait until the holidays for a perceived "good deal"

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October 20 2008
Profile picture for sunnyview
I have not sold in winter, but I have bought in the off season twice in December and another time at the end of January. If you decide to keep it listed over the winter, I would plan to pull it off the market to restart the days on market so that the house does not look stale. Plan a holiday open house. Take fresh photos maybe showing fall tree colors or holiday decor before the snow comes. Reevaluate your price. If it doesn't sell by the end of January plan to take it off the market again for a break of a month or so.

Relist in February/March to get the early spring crowd with new photos and advertising materials. Keep it fresh and make sure you stay current with your price. I would NOT sign a 6 month listing agreement and would not just roll your current agreement. Ask your agent for a shorter agreement. It will benefit you by giving you more flexibility. Also make sure the your agent is willing to actively market over the holidays. Otherwise, I would not relist for winter.
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October 20 2008
Profile picture for flack121

We sold our Minneapolis, Minnesota home during a cold snap in February last year. In fact we had some of our best showings in January and February.

 

We were tracking referrals and unique viewers to our web site and found some of the days with highest hits were Thanksgiving and Christmas weekend--times when people had time to "internet shop" prior to checking us out in person.

 

All of this surprised us, but there you have it.

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October 20 2008
Profile picture for jzinckgra

So how many days does the house have to come off the market to look "fresh". I'm not sure it would matter, as anyone that has looked (online) at our house already and saw it relisted, would still pass anyways.

Do you think now might be the time to try FSBO? I kind of hesitate because it costs quite a bit of money (~$300 I think) to get an MLS # and again, the likelihood of winter showings may be a waste of $$$.

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October 20 2008

Yes, I have sold a home in the dead of the cold winter in the NE.  The buyers that are out in the winter months are serious buyers - often relocation buyers.   I recommend that you list - with the same agent if you liked his/her service, and if not, then make a change. But I do not recommend you wait until Spring.  While the conventional wisdom would say to do just that, these are anything but conventional times.  The level of uncertainty in the air casts at least doubt as to whether we will even see a pricing bump come Spring.  No guarantee that things are going to improve anytime soon.  Get it back on the market, price it right and get on with it. Don't go FSBO - now is not the time to lessen your effectiveness, now is the time to maximize it.

 

Good luck!

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October 20 2008
Profile picture for klarek the realist

Waiting until spring is a terrible idea.  Right now you can still sell for a bubbled price, something that eventually will go away as the market corrects itself.  The market will NOT be better in the spring and you'll have to lower your price much more.

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October 20 2008

Depends on your market. I'm not in Mass, but here is what I would do in your position...

 

1) Take it off the market.

2) Leave it off the market for whatever your MLS needs to reset the date count. After 5 months you are going to look as stale as fruit cake from the 80s. (Probably 3-6 months, I don't know the Mass MLS)

3) If you have a desire to sell it still you can list on places like Craigslist (that are free & don't hit your date count) and maybe put a "make me sell" price on Zillow.

4) If you haven't sold by the time the date count resets, re-evaluate the market and consider getting it back in the MLS.

 

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October 20 2008
Profile picture for IloveLI

I wouldn't. I have always sold in the winter. Last year I had a buyer make an offer over Thanksgiving and one on Chirstmas Eve. I've also sold my listings over the holidays. In fact, I had 2 listings in the same neighborhood a couple of years ago. One was taken off the market, but I sold BOTH over the winter anyway. :)

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October 20 2008
Profile picture for wetdawgs

If you wish to relist at a much lower price, sure, take it off the market until spring!

 

I've sold four houses, one in November, one in December, one in January and one in August.    (I've bought in February 2 times).    Selling in the winter even in the soggy pacific NW may have been a tiny bit more challenging, but the lookers were serious. 

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October 20 2008

The thing I have noticed is that in the nice weather you get more traffic but they are not necessarily serious while in the winter you get less traffic but the people who come out in weather are dead serious.

I have bought and sold in all seasons.

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October 20 2008
Profile picture for 2 Big 2 Fail

If you list in the winter, that is when you attract the bottom feeders who will lowball the heck out of you, so don't get your hopes up.  Lowballers like to look in the winter because they have less competition and they assume anyone who is lited that time of year is somehow desperate to sell.

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October 20 2008
Profile picture for scecy

I'm in CT.  Last time I sold/bought a house, I found my new house in November and found buyers for my house in early December.  We closed on the new house in January and on the other house in February.  I hope to have my current house on the market by Feb. 1.  Yes, you should list in the winter. 

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October 21 2008
Profile picture for greg1231

I would say yes if you are priced to sell. We listed in the NE in late December, had a contract by January 1,  and closed in February. We bought a new house in March right before a huge snowstorm.

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October 21 2008
Profile picture for jzinckgra

Looks like we will list over the winter then. Now the quesiton is do we try and FSBO or get a new agent?

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October 21 2008

In this market I would recommend an agent!  This downturn has inspired agents to work that much harder to keep things going so right now you will be getting the best value for your money.  I would recommend relisting it prior to Halloween though with an info box on your sign so that all the little trick or treater parents will see it.  I also like the idea of holiday open houses, so merry!

Good luck!

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October 21 2008

If you were my client I wouldn't advise you to take your home off the market during the winter.  You never know when the right buyer might come knocking at your door.  Don't lose that opportunity.  Further, with our current real estate market it makes no difference how many days your home has been on the market since most all homes throughout most of our country have been on the market many, many days and months.  Even if your home is taken off the market there still exists a record if it was listed with another agent (at least with my MLS service). Or, a buyer's agent will inquire as to whether it was listed before.  To my mind DOM (days on market) was more important when the real estate market was a seller's market.  That is, did a potential buyer need to act faster because the property was fresh on the market. A home that was on the market longer in those days  usually conveyed to a potential homebuyer that  the property was overpriced or undesireable for some other reason.

 

Regarding low ballers -- so what?  You can flat out turn down any offer that comes your way. Or, you can counter offer.

 

Good luck to you!  I hope you are successful in the sale of your home!

--Joan

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October 21 2008

I would not take the property off for the winter and bring it back.  That is what a lot of people will be doing and you will be comepeting with those people.  So the inventory most likely will increase and effect the days on the market and also maybe your price.  There is a market in the winter and usually it is the people that really want to buy and the people that really want to sell.  The bad thing about marketing in the winter is the weather! 

 

Good luck! List with a good realtor.  In my opinion it is not wise to fsbo a property after it has been on the market and did not sell.  Get it in the hands that someone that will market it , make sure it is in showable condition and price it right to sell.

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October 21 2008
Profile picture for IloveLI

If you list in the winter, that is when you attract the bottom feeders who will lowball the heck out of you, so don't get your hopes up. Lowballers like to look in the winter because they have less competition and they assume anyone who is lited that time of year is somehow desperate to sell.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Low ballers are around all year. Any offer is an opportunity to begin negotiations. In the winter there are more serious buyers because the not serious buyers get busy with something else. Just like the non serious sellers. Non serious sellers are the ones who don't feel like having people traipse thru their house during the holidays because it inconveniences them.

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October 21 2008
Profile picture for aapostrophe
i put an offer in for a house last year, on New Year's Eve. now i'm thankful that some other schmuck outbid me, but i was a serious buyer. people get all sentimental around the holidays- you should exploit that as a seller.
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October 21 2008
Profile picture for Mr Caveat

your agent is incurring all the expenses of listing(save ware and tear on the carpet) so why not?

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October 22 2008

I never understand taking the listing off the market and actually I have more business and buyers right now than I had during the spring! It costs no $ for the seller to keep the house on the market because the seller still has to pay his normal expenses. A lot of sellers think the buyers aren't out there during the winter, when in reality, they really are!!!

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October 25 2008

by spring, in many markets, prices will be that much lower, and that many more foreclosures will have happened, and be put right back on the market. Lower price, sell it now!

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October 25 2008

Those people out during the winter are usually serious buyers, otherwise they would be waiting for the nicer weather too.   In this market, it's not the weather but the price that will determine the days on market.   We all hope the real estate market will improve in the spring but no one has a crystal ball.  Good luck.

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October 26 2008
Profile picture for Coppery

What others have said is so true because i HAVE been there myself. I had to relocate one Xmas and didn twant to rent.

Hence I was a serious buyer.

No idle buyers in winter months. 

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October 26 2008
Profile picture for Coppery

In fact Ive learned its folly to eve rtake it off....

I missed a sale fo rthe one week i took it off to spruce things up !

 

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October 26 2008
Profile picture for klarek the realist

This winter, last winter, they don't matter.  Season hardly matters when you're in the middle of a downward housing spiral.  There is one simple and absolute fact: you can sell it for more now than you will in the spring.  Period.  End of story. 

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October 27 2008

Kepp it on the market. Yours should be the lowest priced house compared to every other comparable and hopefully you will be the next one to get an offer. Remeber you don't have to accept a lowball offer but can negotiate. The lowballers can only go up on their offer if you are the lowest one around.

 

Only serious buyers will be looking now. Update your pictures, offer hot apple cider and cookies at the open houses, and good luck to you!

 

Carmen Amodolh

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November 16 2008

Just remember that there are many sellers that are of the same "mind-set" as you are leaning towards right now.  Those sellers will be pulling their homes from the market for the winter; thus significantly reducing the number of homes on the market--in turn, making your home that much more attractive.

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November 16 2008
Profile picture for jzinckgra

Changed realtors and relisted this past wknd. We have a showing today (surprised). Keeling fingers crossed. now if the cat didn't have to throw up on the carpet this morning.....

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November 17 2008
Profile picture for hoping4bettertimes

We live in upstate NY and purchased both our homes in the dead of winter (late January).  I would much rather purchase a home during the winter when the leaves are off the trees so that I get a much better idea of what I'm getting.  Sure the flowers aren't in bloom, but if a house looks good in the dead of winter, it most certainly only gets better as the trees and shrubbery bloom in spring.  

We started looking for our last house around late September.  We saw a few really nice houses.  Took our time to make a decision.  By the time November came around, we had narrowed our choices between 3 houses.  When we went back for another showings, One of the houses (that we thought was pretty isolated in the woods) ended up having a huge cell tower about 1,000 feet from the house.  Another house had a bunch of junked cars hidden in pretty far in the backyard.  Both houses were very nicely kept up during the summer months, but once those leaves fell off the trees, the 'skeletons' in the outside-closet were revealed.   

The choice was easy after that.  The 3rd house was the winner.  :-)    

So, the point of this long story is that folks are out there looking.  And winter is a great time to look.

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November 17 2008
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