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Chicago Snow and Real Estate Sellers

Chicago Snow and Real Estate Sellers - Jean Ward - ChicagolakecondosYour home or property is on the market in February and a blizzard hits. Are you out of luck with prospective buyers? Nope. You may have hit the jackpot!

Winter can be a fabulous time to sell a home or investment property. Here’s what you need to know:

Bona Fide Buyers

First and foremost, the buyers tromping around in the snow right now have an urgency to buy or they wouldn’t home shop in such dire weather conditions. People are cancelling non-essential appointments right and left this week, as the snow and cold is making travel difficult and unnecessary. The folks passing your threshold are including yours in the limited number of properties on the market to view before making an offer. That works great, as most likely your home is on the market because you need to sell, otherwise you wouldn’t choose to have buyers slugging through your privacy with their winter boots and wet overcoats. These buyers are pre-qualified, as no decent agent would trek through the snow and ice without an eligible consumer. They’re ready to pull the trigger when they see what they want

Exterior Maintenance

Buyers want to see a beautiful property, no matter what the weather looks like. With bad weather prospective buyers could be motivated to do more drive-by’s and list-honing if the exterior of the home, sidewalk, or street is not inviting. Improve the odds of the people actually entering the front door by not only keeping the outside of your building in good working order and condition, but plan for an aesthetically pleasing first impression by having sidewalks, steps, driveways and porches completely shoveled of snow and ice. If the street in front of the home is impassible, get out and shovel the street or hire someone to do it for you. Make sure parking is available and clear of snow. If it’s super cold outside, make sure the inside of your home is warm and toasty and smelling clean and homey, such as baked goods. Neutralize wet pet smells and make sure all floors are clear of spills and water from wet shoes. No one wants to take their shoes off in order to keep your floors clean and then step in wet or cold puddles because you didn’t clean up. Look through the eyes of a potential buyer and see what he would see when he walks in the door. Clear the entire home of clutter, especially by the front door. If the entryway is loaded with coats, boots, snow wear, shovels, and pet gear, customers may get the impression of cramped quarters or be prompted to consider how much preparation will be required to get in and out of the property when it snows or rains. Winter is the perfect time to accentuate the fireplace, so consider having a fire lit. Buyers tromping around in the snow want to be put at ease when they walk in a prospective property. Put your best foot forward in showing viewers how cozy of a home they could have to hunker down in the winter months.

Negotiating Power

While winter is often great wheeling and dealing time for buyers, as winter sellers are typically motivated, you can also reap benefit of negotiating power as a seller in snowy months, as typically the choices are limited to buyers in the winter, since inventory is typically down. This doesn’t mean you should necessarily stick to your full list price, which may in itself be lower than it would be during the summer months, but knowing the stats of the comparable properties to yours should be easier to compile when the list is short, giving you more data to support your price point. Use your trusted agent’s free tools, such as comparative market analyses, current and historical supply and demand data, as well as agent professional experience and advice. Both buyers and sellers usually have incentive to make a deal in winter months, so treat every offer as a potential deal, especially if your own urgency to sell is high. Don’t get emotionally involved if a low-ball comes in, simply counter with a more appropriately researched price.

While it may not be fun putting your house up for critique in the hibernation season, by taking extra precautions in preparation for showings, you may shorten the time it takes to actually sell the property, which cuts down on your inconvenience. I’ll be happy to help in every step along the way! Contact me now.

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