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What to Know About Selling Your Home in the Fall or Winter

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The colder months typically conjure up homey images, like wrapping yourself in a blanket and sipping a hot beverage. Selling a house, however, isn’t often on the agenda this time of year.

If you’ve heard that selling in the fall or winter is bad, here’s what you need to know.

4 things to know about selling your home in the fall or winter

No. 1: Patience is key

“The housing market tends to slow down during the colder months of the year, but that doesn’t mean selling a home is impossible during the fall and winter,” says Jacob Channel, LendingTree senior economic analyst.

As Channel notes: “Plenty of homebuyers are still on the market outside of the spring and summer, and it can be a good idea to sell a home during the fall or winter. But if you list your house during that time, you should expect it to potentially sit on the market for a little bit longer than it would have if you had sold earlier in the year.”

For context, homes stayed on the market an average of 14 days in July 2022, according to the National Association of Realtors. You might expect a longer time frame if you sell during the fall or winter.

No. 2: The season is less important than the market

When selling a house, you’ll need to know what kind of market you’re entering. If more people are looking to buy than sell, it can make things easier — but you’ll face an uphill battle if it’s a buyer’s market. While the time of year can impact the market, the market itself will most likely affect your overall experience and how much you’ll need to spend to sell your home.

On that note, you should know that things have slowed in recent months.

“You may need to put more work into making your home look presentable or up-to-date than you would have in 2020 and 2021,” Channel says.

That may mean doing things like:

  • Playing up the coziness factor
  • Showcasing your home’s energy efficiency
  • Using photos from the spring or summer for your listing
  • Putting more effort into your home’s curb appeal
  • Including midday showings to maximize the light

No. 3: There will be give and take

“Following the craziness of the housing market in 2020 and 2021, some sellers may have warped perceptions of how selling a house usually goes,” Channel says. “Because it frequently happened during the height of the pandemic, some may expect their home to be immediately snapped up for more than its initial asking price, no matter when it’s listed. However, in more normal times, selling a house takes time — especially during the fall or winter.”

With that extra time, he cautions, may come concessions on your end once you receive an offer.

“If you’re planning on selling in the coming months, you may need to be willing to offer more concessions — like paying their closing costs — or be ready to sit on your home for months instead of weeks,” he says.

A few other concessions that you might discuss with your real estate agent are:

  • Accepting a lower offer than your listing price
  • Including a piece of furniture in the sale
  • Tailoring the closing period for the buyers’ needs

No. 4: You’ll need to keep your spirits up

Selling a house during the fall or winter can feel like a challenge, and it’s essential to be mentally prepared for the speed bumps that may appear. But you don’t have to accept an offer you aren’t comfortable with just because the market has slowed.

“It’s important that sellers not get too discouraged,” Channel says. “While buyer demand does appear to be falling across the country, plenty of people are looking to purchase a home. As long as your house is reasonably priced and you’re willing to negotiate with prospective buyers, you shouldn’t have to worry too much about your home never selling.”


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