Thinking of taking home off the market until next spring
September 20, 2017 12:12 PM   Subscribe

Is it a good idea to take a home off the market for the winter.

We live in a suburban (almost rural) neighborhood west of Boston. Our home has been on the market for a few months but has not sold. We have done a price reduction but are hesitant to do another since the market in our town tends to be slow this time of year and we would like to position it for sale in the Spring (when the market tends to be hotter in our area).
Additional factors:
Waiting out the winter would no be a terrible hardship.
We still live nearby and can maintain the residence.
There is still a mortgage but at this point most goes to principal.

The question is, would we be better off removing from the market for the fall/winter and resisting in the Spring vs. leaving the property on the market? We realize that the price history shows that the listing was removed but feel it would look better as removed and re-listed, is this valid reasoning?
posted by evilelf to Home & Garden (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Any sense on why it hasn't sold even with the price reduction? Might be worth spending the winter on addressing any glaring issues, if there are any, or generally spiffing it up a bit more to make it more attractive to buyers.
posted by TwoStride at 12:18 PM on September 20, 2017

Living in Chicago, we're faced with a similar choice.

The advice we've been given is basically:

1) No one wants to look at houses when it's cold and/or snowing
2) No one wants to do work on the house when it's cold and/or snowing so "this would be perfect if we replaced the windows" turns into "pass".
3) If kids/school are an issue, no one wants to change schools in the middle of the year so you'll likely see a completely absence of families with school-age kids.

So yeah, we're off the market until march/april.
posted by Oktober at 12:19 PM on September 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

And just FWIW (as someone who bought recently and is still subscribed to tons of MLS listings): when I see "Back on Market" I assume either something spooked potential buyers at inspection (but it might not necessarily spook me) or that their financing/negotiation fell through (my first guess). "Back on Market" spooks me far less than "on the market for 347 days" or whatever, because that implies that there must be something that's an immediate dealbreaker with the house if no one has seriously pursued buying it...
posted by TwoStride at 12:23 PM on September 20, 2017 [5 favorites]

Response by poster: One possibility that it has not sold is that most of the potential buyers are families primarily motivated to be moved in and settled well before the beginning of the school year. April, May and June were crazy hot with homes going above asking. July and August have been dead. Not just our home, all open houses seem to have had little or no traffic through the summer.
posted by evilelf at 12:27 PM on September 20, 2017

Spring is definitely the best time to sell your house. Taking it off the market during the time you're unlikely to find a buyer is usually a good solution. If you can actually improve the house during the dead period, even better!
posted by ubiquity at 12:29 PM on September 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

Just bought and sold in the Boston suburbs, and had about 10 million conversations with real estate professionals about what looks good and what doesn't. I think most of them would tell you to take it off the market and relist it in the spring at the same price. That will get you through the dead period without racking up your days on the market number, which is a big deal around here right now.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 12:57 PM on September 20, 2017 [3 favorites]

You're going to send a signal that your house didn't sell either way. The signal of "this house has been sitting on the market for a year" is a much worse signal than "it was listed, then pulled, then listed again."

Also, no offense to your realtor but when you list it again, use somebody else. Get a new agent, have the house staged again, and get new photos. The signal in that case is that you're blaming your old realtor, and as long as the house isn't out of line for the market people will come take a look. Your old agent should understand that they're being thrown under the bus for appearances, because that's what happens.
posted by fedward at 2:18 PM on September 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

However, the people who are house-shopping in the winter are doing so because they’re very motivated to buy. Since the available inventory is smaller you may be able to use this to your advantage.
posted by bendy at 9:46 PM on September 20, 2017

There are definitely still househunters in the winter.
posted by slidell at 10:47 PM on September 20, 2017

Take it off the market from late October until January. When my house was on the market for nearly a year, I took it off for the holidays. I was living in it at the time, so I was glad for the break.

Use the break to figure out if there are any cosmetic upgrades that your realtor recommends, like paint or light fixtures. Put down new mulch outside. If your house is empty, collect some Craigslist furniture to stage it or make a plan to hire someone to stage it for you.

Set aside a weekend in early January to deep clean the whole house. Wash the walls, the top shelves of the closet, the carpet, the floors, and inside of every cupboard and cabinet. Clean every little crack and crevice with soap and water. Wash the windows inside and out. Power wash the exterior if the weather is mild enough, and rake out the leaves from the flowerbeds.

Then put it back on the market by mid-January at the latest.

When I put my house back on the market, the weather turned out really mild that winter. I had a ton of showings right away, and the open house on Super Bowl Sunday was just packed. It still took another few weeks to sell the house, but YMMV on that. I still had way more traffic in those early weeks of January & February than I had had pretty much the entire previous summer. And so many of the comments were about "all the changes [I'd] made" even though I'd just painted one room and deep-cleaned the whole place. Clearly the deep cleaning made a difference.
posted by aabbbiee at 9:21 AM on September 21, 2017

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