Winter Sales | Urban Living
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Winter Sales

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This is the time of year when most people don't think about selling their home. However, it's one of the best times to buy.

The ideal time to sell is generally from the end of April to early June. This, of course, depends on where you live and the housing market. Unless you've been living under a rock these past few years, you would know that most of Utah has been experiencing a real-estate boom. Prices are up, buyers are battling for homes and inventory is down. Utah has been "discovered" and the population is exploding, as is traffic and pollution.

I like to show homes in the dead of winter—especially older ones. If Brigham Young's 15th wife's cousin's house in Capitol Hill is on the market, my buyers and I can usually stand near the windows to see if there's a breeze coming in when the doors and windows are closed. If there is, it means, "Oh hell, the insulation here is original and made up of hay and newspapers from the 1800s. No bueno!" Home inspectors can peek into the rafters on a decade-old Ivory Home and see if the original buyers upgraded from the standard R-30 fiberglass insulation in the ceilings to a nice and toasty R-38 or R-49. After a snowstorm, look up. If there isn't snow on the roof of the home you're looking at, it means the attic has little or no insulation. Look on the north side and see if ice is building up along the gutters. Ice dams can form along the edges of a home and as it melts, water can get inside.

The most common question I get this time of year is, "Should I wait until spring to put my home on the market?" The answer is simple: When is best for you? If you're flexible, you'll have a lot less competition if you list your home now. Less competition might mean you sell at a better price because the pickings are slim for buyers. I sold a home last week in Sugar House and had the owners price it aggressively at 5% under market value. We got a huge amount of showings (15 groups in one day) and had seven offers within 24 hours. That's simply because there's little for sale—and they priced right.

If you sell now, it's OK to have the house decorated. Just don't overdo it with too much of your holiday treasures. Don't make the buyers walk through your piles of packages or duck under boughs and bows. Make sure your broker provides booties by the front door so prospective buyers don't track mud and salt onto your freshly buffed hardwood floors. Buyers looking at this time of year also might want to move in quickly, so be prepared to purge and pack instead of hide and hibernate.