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Hot sales in cold weather: Ramp up your listing now for brisk sales

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Spring is the best time to sell a house, right?

Yes, it’s a good time, but it’s not the only time.

Many sellers have found it easy to list and sell deep into the winter.

Some evidence from Redfin might be surprising. In a study of home sales from 2011 to 2013, houses listed in winter were more likely to sell within six months than those that weren’t listed until spring.

One of the reasons for this is the internet. Buyers do most of their browsing online, not traipsing around through the rain or sleet. The internet, it turns out, shows houses just as well in the winter as in the summer.

Sellers with lots of good pictures online can be a step ahead for the serious buyers during the winter.

After all, there are buyers in all sorts of situations that don’t allow for waiting until there are chirping birds and mild weather.

Typically, winter buyers are those who have to move right away and have a deadline. Being transferred is one big reason. Or, because buyers have sold their existing home, or a lease is expiring.

Another reason to buy in winter: People have time off.

For sellers, there are also some advantages, prime among them that their sparkling new listing doesn’t have a lot of competition.

According to industry sources, there is about 15 percent less competition in the home sales market from November to December.

The committed buyer hoping for a tax break for the year will have eyeballs on fewer homes.

That said, the seller still has to show a house to its best advantage and that is especially true in the winter.

Sellers want to emphasize the cozy and warm appeal in cold months: The fireplace crackling softly and lots of warm lights will help.

Christmas decorations should be subdued for the home sale. A simple tree with soft lighting plus a welcoming wreath on the front door should be all you need.

Crank down the outdoor light show, but turn up the outside walkway lights.

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