From the Record:
Avi and Leah Greengart want to sell their four-bedroom Teaneck house, but this winter’s frigid, icy weather hasn’t done them any favors.
“There has not been a warm day since we put it on the market” in early February, says Avi, a technical analyst. “Our thought process was that at this time in the market, there won’t be much competition from other houses.”
But as he’s found himself frantically shoveling snow before open houses, he occasionally wonders: “Why didn’t we just wait?”
There’s a reason home sales tend to ramp up in the spring. Buying and selling in the winter can be a challenge — especially with the kind of winters we’ve seen the past two years. Average temperatures through most of February ran more than 10 degrees below normal in North Jersey.
Icy walkways, single-digit temperatures and snow-covered decks and yards can lead sellers to hold off on listing their properties and cause buyers to spend Sunday on the couch instead of touring homes.
“The cold, snowy, icy weather doesn’t make for a pleasant showing experience,” said George Rosko, an agent with Coccia Realty in Lyndhurst. “There is no place to park when you get to the house, and you can’t see what the front or rear yards really look like because they are snow-covered.”
The challenges start even before a buyer comes in the front door. Many sellers are otherwise ready to list their homes but don’t want to worry about clearing ice and snow off the driveway and front walks to make way for buyers.
“It’s difficult enough to keep dishes out of the sink and beds made in case of a showing, but the added outdoor cleanup is too much,” said Janine Fraser of Coldwell Banker in Saddle River. “Homeowners are also concerned about the liability if someone slips and falls on ice.”
“I have three clients who are waiting for this weather to subside before they list their homes, and I agree with their decision,” said Kate Conover, a Re/Max agent in Saddle River. “Buying a home is an emotional purchase, so making the process as pleasant as possible is important. If you’re slipping and sliding up the walkway, and skidding across the tiled foyer, it just changes your reaction to the home.”
“Some people are going to wait [to list their homes] until the snow has melted,” said John Pordon of Century 21 in Totowa. “You try to tell people to list the house now, because with the inventory low, you put yourself at an advantage. But a lot of sellers don’t want people tracking salt and snow through the house.”
“There are a lot of unknowns for the buyer,” said Gary Silberstein of Keller Williams Valley Realty in Woodcliff Lake. “I just did a home inspection in Mahwah last week, and the home inspector was only able to inspect what he was able to visually see. The deck, foundation, walkways, and part of the roof were covered with snow. The attorney put a clause in the contract that the buyer can go back and re-inspect after the snow melts.”