Right around this time every year, after Thanksgiving and during the first snow, some variation of the same conversation takes place all across the Midwest:
Seller: "Hey, it's so-and-so. I thought we should talk about maybe taking our house off the market. Nobody buys a house in the Winter, and I really just want to spend time with my family during the holidays without having to constantly keep the house clean."
Agent: "I am not sure if it is good for the house to be off the market for an extended period of time, because we might miss out on the right buyer. I really think you should re-consider."
Seller: "Yeah, I just don't want to have to think about it, and I would really just like to focus on my family this time of year. There's already enough stress as it is. I am sure the market will pickup in the Spring, and we can sell it then."
Agent: "You're right. There will be more buyers in the Spring. We can take it off the market and see what happens in a few months."
Both sides are looking at the season in the wrong light. Here's why:
1. You're house will never fell more like a "home" than during the holidays. If you are anything like us, lights are up, the tree is decorated, and seasonal candles are burning all around the home. Cookies, cakes, and other treats are in and out of the oven with their comforting aroma wafting through the house. When prospective buyers come through your home, it will be easier for them to envision themselves living there and creating their own holiday traditions.
2. There are very few casual house hunters out in January. There's six inches of snow on the ground and a cold bite in the air. Most people would rather curl up at home than brave the nasty weather just to look at a house across town they have no intention of purchasing. Agents operate the same way. The majority of Realtors aren't going to spend their time working with clients who have not been properly vetted (which can tend to happen in the busy months of Spring and Summer.)
3. The Agent's attitude "we might miss out on the right buyer" implies that they are sitting back and waiting. I strongly believe that to secure an interested party you have to actively market, not advertise, the home. Winter is a great time to highlight the community, holiday activities, and the social activities of the neighborhood association.
Homes sell throughout the year and for a variety of reasons. Very few homes sell off the market. The right agent can sell your home in any season, and besides, I love a good challenge!