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8 Reasons winter is the best time to sell your house

Bethany Ramos is an editor, blogger, and chick lit author. Bethany works as Editor in Chief for Naturally Healthy Publications.

Get the 411 on why it's best to put your home on the market in the winter

There are two unwritten real estate rules that every homeowner lives by: Location is everything, and spring is the best time to sell your house.

While the location rule may be set in stone — you still can’t beat a piece of prime real estate! — the right season to sell your home provides a little more wiggle room.

Most real estate agents with a few years in the biz argue that spring is the best time of year to sell to get a jump on the pre-summer moving rush. The thinking is, listing your home in the months leading up to June will help it sell faster as families prepare to move once school gets out. Spencer Rascoff and Stan Humphries, co-authors of the book Zillow Talk: The New Rules of Real Estate, took it a step further by analyzing supply, demand and sellers’ outcomes and came up with an ideal springtime window spanning from mid-March to mid-April.

More: 7 Easy expert design hacks to get your house buyer-ready

While homes listed in this “March Madness” slot may sell a little faster and a little higher (15 percent faster and 2 percent higher, on average), this doesn’t rule out the fact that your home could still sell for a good price in another season. If there’s one thing we know about real estate, it’s that change is constant. Markets fluctuate, property values vary, and neighborhoods transform in the blink of an eye.

If you’re hoping to sell your home before the birds start chirping this spring, all hope isn’t lost. In fact, there may be a few advantages to putting your house on the market early:

1. Better curb appeal

Curb appeal at Christmas Time! #curbappeal #houses #realestate #realtor #christmas #lights #selling #buying #sold

A photo posted by Danielle D'Alessandro Ventura (@danielle__ventura) on

This is an easy one — if you put your home on the market around the holidays, it’s going to look absolutely adorable with all of the Christmas lights and sparkly decor (you know you leave your lights up until February anyway). And as Bruce Ailion, Atlanta attorney and real estate expert with RE/MAX Town & Country, points out, your landscaping and even your neighborhood are more likely to appear attractive in the winter versus the summer months.

2. Better financials

At the very least, putting your home on the market in the winter can appeal to your logical side. Christy Hertel, realtor at McEnearney Associates in Leesburg, Virginia, says that a winter sale can be more successful since “people have a clearer picture of their finances and what they can afford” at the end of the year.

More: Top 10 most expensive homes on the real estate market

3. Bored buyers

The nice way to put this, in Hertel’s words, is that winter home buyers are likely to have “more time on their hands.” This means extra days off around the holidays and free time on weekends, offering more time to check out (and buy) a dream house.

4. Happy buyers

Hello #December! Let's finish off 2015 strong! #holidays #realestate #tbreg (click the link in our profile to connect with us)

A photo posted by The Boutique Real Estate Group (@theboutiquere) on

You know that warm and fuzzy feeling you get when you’re in a great mood and just want to buy some stuff? According to Jerry Grodesky, managing broker at Farm and Lake Houses Real Estate in Loda, Illinois, this happy shopper mentality can work to your advantage as a seller throughout the holidays and into the new year. “Though many consumers believe real estate sales are seasonal, here in Illinois, there are a determined group of buyers who want or have to buy in the ‘off season,’” he says. “Holiday buyers are often very cheerful to work with and negotiating a transaction during this festive time of year is likened to the magic and excitement of opening a present under the tree in your childhood. It is amazing as to how many lake houses that I have sold while the skies are gray, snow crackles under foot and the cold wind whistles around us.”

5. Motivated buyers

“Motivated” is another popular buzzword you may hear from your real estate agent, and Ailion says it has a special significance in the cold winter months. He explains, “Many believe winter buyers are more motivated. They need to buy, where buyers looking to move in spring, summer and fall have more time to look. A 2011 survey found nearly 80 percent of real estate professionals felt this was true.”

More: 6 Unexpected things that will happen when buying your first house

6. Relaxed realtors

Don’t knock the power of having a de-stressed realtor by your side. Joshua Jarvis, realtor at Jarvis Team Realty in Duluth, Georgia, says that since the market is likely to slow down in the winter, real estate agents and mortgage brokers are generally more relaxed during this period — making it much more likely that everyone will have a good time on closing day.

7. Slim competition

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