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Opinion, commentary and analysis on everything that makes the U.S. housing economy tick -- not to mention the ghosts in the machine, too. Written by HW's team of editors and reporters each business day.

Zillow: How to sell a home, despite winter wonderland

3 tips for sellers and agents

February 7, 2014

Inch upon inch of snow is piling up, and the desire to stay home curled up by the fire is becoming harder to turn away from: welcome to winter.

But despite continued snow flurries, home shopping is still growing.

According Zillow’s (Z) latest report, the online real estate marketplace reached a record number of unique users in January 2014, soaring to 70 million. 

So how can real estate agents capitalize on this secret fountain of potential homeowners?

Zillow Real Estate Expert Brendon DeSimone outlined three tips for sellers and agents looking to sell a home during winter season.

One of the biggest points DeSimone emphasized was the need to have strong online photos of your house. Especially during the winter, buyers are shopping online all day.

“Nowadays, you only have one shot to make a good impression, which is your web appeal,” DeSimone explained.

Before, a seller would only have to worry about whether the house had good curb appeal.

“Now your first impression is on the web. Spend as much time and money for the photo shoot as you would for the first open house,” he said.

In addition, for those questioning if now is a good time to put a house on the market, DeSimone said that due to the lighter inventory, there is less competition.

During the holidays and winter, DeSimone explained in a Zillow blog that there is less competition for sellers, at a time when motivated buyers are out there looking — and no doubt wishing there were more properties to see.

Finally, DeSimone noted that he personally likes to put his listing up at the beginning of the week in order to build up excitement.

This gives the house time to build up some demand and keep shoppers anxious.

“At the end of the day, someone will not choose to not buy your house because of the cold weather,” DeSimone said. “If a buyer is motivated enough, they will make a point to get there as soon as they possibly can."