Many people wait until spring to begin searching for a new home. However, this doesn’t mean agents should shy away from selling homes during the colder months.
The difference between slow and busy seasons might be a bit overblown. The National Association of Realtors noted that, in the Midwest, sales activity in the slow season is typically 62 percent of the activity during the peak season.
But more than just the numbers, there are many advantages to listing a home in the colder months. The market is less crowded in the winter, so there’s less competition. People looking at homes during this time also tend to be more serious about buying.
Despite the icy roads and frigid temperatures, buyers still purchase homes in the colder months. Here’s how you can take advantage of Chicago’s seasonality and foster more home sales activity during the winter.
Highlight seasonal property features
As you know, winters can be harsh in Chicago, and residents spend a lot of time stuck indoors. Winter is the perfect time to show off your listings’ cozy nooks or features that make potential homebuyers feel warm inside.
If you’ve got a listing that’s been up since fall, try updating any marketing, such as descriptions and photos, to reflect the winter season and make the property stand out. Since most home buyers search online, agents can provide virtual tours of the home to immerse them in the viewing experience.
When the temperatures drop, there’s a massive opportunity for agents to push a home’s wintertime appeal. Take a fresh set of exterior photos right after it snows, to take advantage of the crisp effect of all those white edges. Highlight lit fireplaces to add warmth during the colder months. Showcase exposed beams or vaulted ceilings that let in plenty of light. If the home has a library or a basement that can serve as a spacious playroom, consider staging a cozy nook with books.
Take cold-weather precautions
Selling a home for top dollar may get you a referral or two but preventing a listing’s pipes from bursting during a cold snap might just snag you a customer for life. When cold weather hits, it can reveal problems such as plumbing leaks, poor insulation, furnace issues and drafts. Agents should pay extra attention to these issues, especially in vacant listings.
It’s crucial to ensure that the home is sealed off to cold weather. Before showings, check to make sure the HVAC system is working correctly and that there are no drafts from windows or doors. If the home is vacant, it’s a great idea to winterize it or keep the heat on low to prevent the pipes from freezing and bursting.
Thankfully, there are many connected devices and technologies coming onto the market that can help monitor and prep homes for winter. A smart thermostat, for example, can help maintain a consistent temperature at the right times of the day. Also, agents can install a leak detection system to monitor a home for any issues during the winter.
Keep marketing while the competition is on vacation
If you happen to have fewer clients in winter, that gives you the opportunity to spend more time getting the word out about your business. The colder months are an excellent time to build your reputation and stay top of mind with potential sellers and buyers.
While other agents may be hitting the pause button around the holiday season, those who take the opposite approach can stand out. Continue to publish content, send email campaigns and create social media advertisements on platforms like Facebook and Instagram.
And even if you are on vacation, you can take advantage of social media automation tools to schedule and publish content consistently. There are also numerous email automation tools agents can use to send content targeted to past and potential clients.
The low temperatures won’t stop leads from coming in, and fewer homes on the market during this time means agents face less competition from others.
Embrace the opportunities of winter
While home sales typically decrease during the winter, agents can still be successful during this time. Instead of shying away from selling homes, they should use the season to their advantage. By consistently marketing their listings and business, as well as showcasing comfy listing features, agents can increase their business activity during the colder months.
Adrian Fisher is the founder and CEO of PropertySimple, a real estate technology software that helps agents build their personal brand and marketing their business online.