Spring is typically regarded as the prime time to sell a house. Winter, on the other hand, has a reputation for being a tough time to sell. But Riderwood's personal moving consultants, Diane Thometz and Jennifer Hill, say that reputation is undeserved.
"Homes will sell all year long. If you're ready to sell your house, don't wait," Thometz says.
"Most people today look for a house online, and there are no seasons on the internet. Buyers will be comfortably lying on their couch shopping for a home online. Your home will only sell when you put it on the market.
The Maryland real estate market is strong right now and still a seller's market, according to Thometz and Hill. So, not only is it a fine time to sell, but they say there are even a few advantages to listing your house during the colder months.
"There is less competition, and you have more serious buyers looking," Hill says. "This means your home will stand out and not get lost in a huge pool of homes if you wait to put your house on in the spring."
Hill says people tend to have more downtime during the colder months, which frees them up to house hunt. Plus, she says some buyers may have financial incentives to make a move during the winter.
"There are financial benefits for some people who receive end-of-year work bonuses or retiring payouts that give them opportunities to upgrade their living situation," Hill says. "Corporate relocation companies often have winter packages for employees to relocate."
If you're ready to put your house on the market before spring rolls around, there are a few things you should do to prepare it for showings. Thometz says "less is more" when it comes to furnishings and décor. Be sure to take down your holiday decorations and declutter your house.
"When showing the house, make sure it's bright with all the exterior and interior lights on since it gets dark out earlier during the winter months," Thometz says. "If you have a fireplace, turn it on for a cozy atmosphere."
If you're planning to sell your house in preparation for a move to Riderwood, Hill and Thometz are on hand to offer assistance through Erickson Realty and Moving Services, a special program that offers complimentary coordination of all realty and moving needs, including downsizing, home staging, packing, and selection of a real estate professional.
"Riderwood has preferred real estate agents that will provide a complimentary market analysis," Hill says. "Our real estate agents have resources for any home improvements that are needed. They go above and beyond for our incoming residents. If they choose to use our real estate agent, Riderwood will give them a credit of up to $2,000 on their resident account once the home has sold."
Hill and Thometz also visit prospective residents at their homes to help them create a comprehensive plan for moving. They can offer assistance with deciding which pieces of furniture to keep, and they can design a floor plan for the new Riderwood apartment home.
And using a preferred real estate agent has its perks, too.
"They know our preferred real estate agents will make sure their walkways are shoveled and will maintain their home until it's sold," Hill says. "One client ended up having an open house during a snowstorm and received three offers."
At Riderwood, the professional staff takes care of things like shoveling snow and salting sidewalks, leaving residents free to enjoy the season with a hot cup of coffee by the fireplace in the clubhouse or soaking in the indoor hot tub.
With on-site amenities like a medical center, fitness centers, convenience stores, bank, and salon and day spas, Riderwood residents don't have to make as many trips out on slippery winter roads. Plus, maintaining their social lives during winter isn't a problem because Riderwood has more than 200 resident-run clubs and committees and a lively lineup of special events and parties throughout the year."
All of our residents have been happy with the sale of their home in the winter," Thometz says. "They usually want to be at Riderwood before the winter storms hit so they aren't isolated in their homes.
Hill says people frequently ask Riderwood's preferred real estate agents when is the best time to sell a house. "The answer is always," Hill says. "The best time to sell is when you put it on the market."