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Want more money? List in the wintertime

If you think listing your home in the spring is your best bet to get top dollar for your home — think again! The best time to list and obtain the most money is actually in the winter, typically in February.

Why?

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Simply because people get the urgency to buy homes faster than sellers feel the push to list them.

We see it every year: Large numbers of buyers start to look at homes in late January, then by mid-February they are eager but the inventory is still very low. Good old supply and demand comes into play. Since there tend to be more buyers than sellers in the winter months, homes start getting snapped up fast, with some properties even going over asking price.

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Last winter when it was colder and we had more snow than usual, there were still many buyers out looking. The problem? Most potential sellers were not listing their homes, so inventory dropped to an 11-year low, which caused many multiple-offer situations and effectively raised prices.

With fewer homes on the market in the winter months, there is less competition for your home and more attention from buyers.

You may be thinking: Spring is the busiest season in real estate, isn’t it? It’s true that in the spring thousands of homes sell and home prices tend to peak. But what most people don’t realize is that many of the contracts were signed in the winter.

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Remember most real estate transactions take six to eight weeks to close. In the spring, many deals get delayed even longer as some sellers want to wait until after the school year ends. The vast majority of homes that close in May and June — when home prices tend to peak — are from deals that came together in February and March.

As an example, we looked at total home sales in Massachusetts in May 2014. Homes listed in February sold for an average price of $467,998, 14 percent more than $411,286, the average for those listed in April. The same was true for home sales in 2013 and 2012. Properties listed in April that sold in May sell for less than homes marketed earlier in the year.

So if you’re thinking about waiting until spring to sell your home, you should reconsider and put your property on the market in the winter — when there’s less competition.

Anthony Lamacchia is the broker and owner of McGeough Lamacchia Realty, which is based in Waltham. For more information on listing your home in the winter, go to www.MLRealtyNE.com.
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