Unwill the Chill

The Advantages of Keeping Your Home on the Market

With the first frosts of winter comes another kind of freeze—on the housing market. Across the mountains, realtors and brokers advise their clients to take down their “For Sale” signs and settle in for a long, cold winter. But according to Mark Fields of Mark Fields and Associate’s, Asheville’s preeminent luxury brokerage firm, taking your home off the market in anticipation of a slow winter season isn’t just misguided, it’s positively irrational. “People are recommended by their realtors or hear from someone else that you take your property off the market and come back fresh in the spring,” says Fields. “That is, in my opinion and evidenced by sale statistics, absolutely false.”

Numbers don’t lie. As evidenced by local sales figures in 2014 and 2015, the months of December through March weren’t hailed by a complete halt of real estate sales—quite the contrary. Sales continued through the winter months across price ranges and neighborhoods. “This myth that real estate freezes or goes dormant is absolutely and completely false,” promises Fields.

Fields can rattle off a string of justifications for keeping your house on the market through the changing of the seasons. For one, those aforementioned numbers: there’s no proof that removing your home from the market and relisting it in the spring provides any type of advantage. In fact, he argues, keeping your home on the market through the alleged slow season is actually an inarguable advantage; because so many people do remove their listings, yours has less competition.

“If you were lucky and advised to keep your house on the market, you end up being one of few properties on the market in your area,” Fields points out. “If someone looks on MLS and there’s nothing there, they’re going to buy your house.”

Another similar reason to keep up that “For Sale” sign through the winter is, in fact, the busy summer season that precedes it. If you list your house in the spring amid a host of competitively priced homes with advantageous amenities—say, a pool, or a better view—those houses are going to sell through the busy seasons of summer and fall. But that can actually work to your advantage. “If we put your property on the market and your house isn’t selling, you can watch other properties like yours sell… and [then] there’s no competition,” Fields wryly points out. “Every time one of them sell, your chances increase.” So no matter how jaded the process may become, retain your home’s place on MLS.

As other properties disappear from the market in the winter, whether they’re sold in the autumnal rush or removed by ill-advised sellers, your competition is substantially diminished. Your house is then sure to grab the attention of buyers.

But at the end of the day, it’s just as much an emotionally wise decision as a practical one. Rather than wrestle with weighty decisions of “to sell or not to sell,” make the decision and stick to it. “I always tell my clients, keep it listed until it sells,” says Fields. “If you’ve decided to sell your home, and you’re going to sell it, you’ve made that decision. What you need to do is find the best realtor in your market to sell your type of home in your area, and then leave it with them until it sells.”

Mark Fields & Associates, Realtors
4 Swan Street in Biltmore Village