If you’ve ever considered buying or selling a home in the winter, you might have been dissuaded by a long-running notion that the coldest season of the year is the worst time for real estate.
Yet Sharon Aubuchon, a Realtor with RE/MAX Premier Realty, disagrees with this industry myth.
“I’ve done some of my biggest sales in the winter,” she said.
After spending 20 years in the corporate world, including as general manager and VP of sales for a Fortune 500 company, as well as owning a promotional products company, Aubuchon decided on a whim to get her real estate license.
Five years later, she’s not only among the most successful Realtors in Kansas City, but also in the top 0.5 percent of RE/MAX’s 108,000 agents. Several factors contribute to Aubuchon’s continued success, most notably her business background and her willingness to go above and beyond for all of her clients.
Consider this example. Aubuchon said she got a call last winter on her way to watch a Kansas City Chiefs game. A client wanted to see a house, despite inclement weather.
“The driveway hadn’t been shoveled; no one lived there,” she said. “We went inside to look at the home and my client bought it on the spot.”
That’s one of several reasons why Aubuchon believes winter is a great time of year to buy or sell. For one thing, she said, sellers may not see as much buyer traffic – but the buyers they do see are likely to be more serious, rather than out to simply look.
“People who get out in bad weather are serious,” she said with a laugh.
Sellers also are less likely to find themselves competing in a crowded market. Aubuchon draws on an example from her childhood to offer an analogy.
“We moved a lot growing up, and I went to big and small schools,” she said. “If you want to be the quarterback or homecoming queen, what are your odds at the school with 700 kids compared to the school with 80 kids? It’s no different in real estate.”
During the winter, buyers often find themselves in a better position to complete a purchase without the stress of battling against multiple offers. Factor in possible tax advantages to buy a home in the current calendar year, as well as end-of-year bonuses that prospective buyers may earmark toward their purchase and you have a perfect storm of circumstances for both buyers and sellers.
Despite the myriad advantages of the winter real estate market, Aubuchon said she hears concerns, especially from buyers who are worried about a lack of inventory. And for that, she has a simple answer.
“If you don’t find a home you like, don’t buy it,” she said. “But if you’re flexible with your timetable, get out there and look.”
Aubuchon also has some words of wisdom for prospective sellers.
“Don’t waste your time going on the market if you’re not willing to make your home magazine-ready,” she said. “How you sell your home is different from how you live in it.”
That often means working with a professional stager to rearrange – or replace – existing furniture to make the interior more appealing to prospective buyers. Aubuchon equated the experience to buying a new car.
“If you went to look at new car and the inside was dirty and it wasn’t detailed, would you be as excited about buying it?” she said. “Your house needs to be a new car.”
For prospective sellers who may be overwhelmed by that process, Aubuchon can help. Her goal is to make selling or buying a home stress-free, and to accomplish that goal, she draws on an attribute that she called being “turn-key. I come in, I do everything. If the house needs to be painted, I get bids. If it needs to be staged, I’ll get a stager.”
Aubuchon’s willingness to help her clients however needed not only underscores her commitment to each of them, but also to the larger real estate industry. She attributes her business background to giving her a solid foundation on which she’s built a thriving career while maintaining an appreciation for the importance of her work.
“For sellers, their home is probably their biggest asset,” she said. “What can we do to get you top dollar?”
Aubuchon’s experience also gives her the insight to not only understand what’s currently happening in the market, but also what’s ahead – and that’s what helped her realize that the winter season offers untapped potential for both buyers and sellers.
“The dynamics of the real estate business have shifted in an entirely different direction,” she said. “Now, the winter months are steady, and that means buyers and sellers both can benefit.”
Sharon G. Aubuchon
Contact: 816-863-3003 or 913-529-1414