Frisco Real Estate | Winter Listings
Pros and Cons to Winter Home Listings
There are many pros and cons to winter home listings. Take the plusses and minuses and rip ‘em up because everything is changing.
Recent studies have shown that real estate does not hibernate from December 21 through March 20 — better known as winter — because house hunters are smarter, more informed, and better equipped to do business 24/7, 365, not just during spring and summer when conventional wisdom says it’s the best time to buy and sell homes.
In fact, in strong local housing markets such as Dallas-Fort Worth, the likelihood of selling a home within 180 days is highest when listed during the winter months compared with another season.
Redfin, a real estate website, conducted a two-year study and found that February is “the best month to list, with an average of 66 percent of the homes listed selling within 90 days.” Redfin researchers found that in 19 major markets, including cold-weather cities, “home sellers were better off listing their homes in the winter than during any other season.”
Winter, surprisingly, can be an advantageous time to list, shop, negotiate, and buy homes. Go figure. In this post we look at a few pros and cons of winter home listings with an eye on what’s influencing rear-round real estate activity.
It starts with technology.
Say you’re looking at homes for sale in Frisco, TX or evaluating Frisco real estate options. In the not-so-distant past:
• You would drive around Frisco neighborhoods looking for homes for sale, jot down an address and agent’s phone number from the For Sale sign, and give him or her a call.
• Chances are you see fewer homes for sale in the winter because, until recently, that’s the way it has always been done. Families buy houses and want to move in the spring and summer with as little disruption to the kids’ school schedule as possible.
• You would scour the Homes for Sale ads in the local newspaper and, again, probably find fewer home listings to check out in the winter than in the summer.
• You would enlist the help of a real estate agent to do the legwork. The broker may have a harder time finding the perfect home because, well, there are fewer active listings to choose from as people are waiting to list in the spring and summer.
Nowadays, the scenario goes something like this:
• You are in a Frisco neighborhood you like or you come upon a house in Frisco that catches your attention. It does not matter what time of year it is because the house is listed and you have immediate access to information about it — the neighborhood, school district, pretty much anything you need to know.
• You check the listing from your car parked down the street using a smart phone or tablet connected to the internet. A mobile web browser or one of the dozens of sophisticated real estate apps return as much information about the home as a real estate agent has using the MLS listings.
• Maybe you’re out of the area or out of state and your company is relocating to Frisco. You’re at home searching the internet for homes for sale in Frisco, TX or you’re getting the lay of the land for Frisco real estate by searching Google. Again, it doesn’t matter what time of year it is. If you need to find a home in December, January, or February, the information is readily available. Google doesn’t have office hours. Google doesn't care if it's 20 degrees outside or a pleasant 80.
• In fact, technology facilitates the entire process. If you are curious about comparative prices for similar homes in Frisco, done. There it is. If you want to see what the house looks like in the summer, done. Technology provides photo galleries, clickable floor plans, and video clips. There are apps to check credit scores and connect to lenders to see if you qualify for home loans and, if so, for how much.
Technology doesn’t mean you can do without a knowledgeable real estate agent when looking for houses for sale in Frisco, TX or in investigating Frisco real estate. A trusted agent is just as valuable now as he or she was before the advent of realtor.com or the Trulia or Zillow apps.
It just means that houses that are priced right and prepared properly for show (best bet: work with that real estate agent to hit these milestones) and the house will sell any time of year because people are at homes year-round. In fact, studies have shown that shoppers active during the winter months are “serious buyers” and are “window shopping” less than they do in the spring and summer.
Here is a look at some of the top pros and cons for winter home listings.
Some sellers pull their unsold homes off the market in the winter hoping for better results in the spring, which reduces the inventory of active listings. Yet studies are showing that those houses on the market in January and February are actually ahead of the pack come April (see next). This is especially true for people looking at homes for sale in Frisco, TX and evaluating Frisco real estate because, unlike northern cities, North Texas winters are, overall, relatively mild and conducive for buying and selling homes.
The Redfin study showed that February is a good month for sales — 66 percent of homes listed in the second month sell within 90 days. Since the official spring selling season does not start until after March 20, this statistic indicates an early start can put sellers ahead of the pack in terms of home views and offers made.
Real estate studies note that inventory and competition is 36 percent lighter during the winter. Studies also show there is a 24.2 percent increase in demand in the colder months, partly due to the fact that people are looking at houses, home prices, and the real estate market year-round thanks to Google, Trulia, Zillow, and others.
Another advantage to listing houses in the winter is mortgage interest rates are said to often increase by at least two percent as the year progresses.
Working people often take more time off during the holiday — the week of Thanksgiving, the week before or in between Christmas and New Year — and spend more time looking at houses for sale.
The cold weather is not as much of an issue for people looking at homes for sale in Frisco, TX or investigating Frisco real estate as it is for families living “up north.” Even so, it can get biter cold in North Texas and that may slow interest in a property. This gives people “breathing room” or more time to check with a lender, to look at other homes for sale in the area, and to make a more informed decision without the pressure of a bidding war from other interested parties.
Relocation is actually a year-round process with January being the biggest month for relocation. People need to find homes and they are using technology to facilitate no matter the temperature outside.
While the start of the winter is often chaotic, it settles down after the New Year. It’s the quiet before the storm, so to speak. Real estate transactions tend to run more smoothly in the winter when realtors, lenders, and title companies are not as busy.
In theory, a deal for a new home in Frisco, TX or a Frisco real estate purchase will have more of their attention than it would in the spring and summer when everybody is scrambling. With fewer active listings, agents have more time to dedicate to marketing properties, conducting open houses, and spending more money on print, online, or direct mail advertising.
Curb appeal is everything, no matter the time of year. Winter offers different opportunities to showcase one’s home as long as it's appropriately prepared. Seasonal lights and decorations tend to shift focus away from the lack of lush green lawns and blossoming flowers. Fireplaces, blankets on couches, and fragrant mulling spices create a warm, welcoming environment.
Of course, winter listings are not without issue.
Selling a home during winter months can be a hassle. It's challenging to keep a house perfectly ready for an open house when there are holiday parties, get-together, gift exchanges, and family visits from November through New Years.
People are focused on the holidays, they tend to spend more money during Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years and are reluctant to spend more.
The elements can hinder winter house listings. The cold is not a huge problem for families looking for homes for sale in Frisco, TX or investigating Frisco real estate, but it still gets cold and overcast, even icy and rainy at times, in North Texas and that may slow or disrupt activities. Also, winter is NOT the time for large scale remodels of any kind, which may be needed to update a home and prepare it for sale.
Without Daylight Savings, winter days are shorter and people have less time to look for new homes in Frisco, TX or search Frisco real estate offerings in person because it gets dark earlier.
Listing a home in the winter can impact a home’s price. In non-housing markets, more inventory means lower prices; less inventory means higher prices. But the housing market is different: In the summer, when more homes are listed, the prices are the highest; in the winter, when there is less inventory, the prices are often lower.
There is a perception, rightly or wrongly, that a home for sale in the winter means the seller is desperate to sell and the buyer may lowball or try to negotiate a much lower price. Sellers may have to reduce asking prices.
Business often slows around the holidays, and house listings are not immune as people take time off and offices are closed early. It's possible deals cannot be completed before the end of the year or are delayed until after New Year.
Less Curb Appeal.
Let’s face it, homes often look bleak during the winter — cold, less colorful, less attractive from the street. This works against selling a home but, with the proper amount of planning and execution, this negative can be overcome.
It's often believed that winter home listings are not a good idea, but that's outdated thinking. Real estate is 24/7, 365 and it doesn't matter if it's cold or hot outside, as long as the home is appropriately prepared and staged for the season and priced right.