Should You Wait to Weather the Weather?

Should You Wait to Weather the Weather?

  • Andrea Gordon
  • 03/19/24

Rain, wind, mud, leaves sticking to houses, gray skies, dirt tracked onto carpets, booties—what do all of these things have in common?

Putting a house onto the market in the winter weather or early spring!

The best reasons to wait out the weather are: the photos will be better in nicer weather, no one will track dirt onto carpets, sunshine makes everyone happy—and therefore in a mood to see houses. Because of this perception, many agents advise their sellers to put their houses on in April and May, after the showers have let up and flowers are out in bloom.

This is the time when inventory will generally increase, and therefore there is more for buyers to see and choose from. It also generally means that house prices drop as inventory increases, usually crescendoing in August, when most people concerned with schools have already bought and the last of the sellers put their properties onto the market after finally clearing out their garages!

In winter, yes, you get fewer people at open houses, but the few dedicated people who do show up are very serious about buying. They have concrete needs and are pursuing a home doggedly. They are more likely to buy something now because of all the effort they bring to the table in their search.

In winter, any issues which might be present in terms of drainage or roofs will show up, so it is actually a great time for buyers to see properties, so they can know very concretely what they are getting themselves into.

One of the real problems with the long drought was the false sense of security it lulled homeowners into, as they didn’t replace roofs or address drainage issues, retaining walls and the like.

Currently we are seeing an avalanche of lawsuits coming from mold issues, drainage issues, roof issues with the weather from the last year causing havoc in an older housing stock that has not been properly maintained. It took this long for problems to manifest. It is not the realtor’s fault, and it is something homeowners might not have been able to predict, because when they had their pest and property inspections done, everything was totally fine. It is only once moisture returns that these problems come front and center.

So, even though houses are “uglier” in winter, there are a lot of valid reasons to think about throwing caution to the wind and putting that house on the market when it is not perfect outside. You will reap the benefit of lower inventory, and inspections that catch more problems while there is still time to address them. The buyer pool is very serious and focused on really buying—not just groups of neighbors who go out just to check it out.

Just don’t go on the market right on a holiday—or on Super Bowl Sunday, or on tax day. None of these will give you the best marketing send-off. But if you hit the market and time it so you can be a real focus in real estate that week, it will be good for you and your house sale. 

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