Is Selling Your Santa Fe Home in Winter a Good Idea?

There’s a common misconception that homes only sell in the spring and summer. After October 15, in many parts of the country, home sales slow down or even dry up, depending on where you’re located.

sold signIs that true for Santa Fe?

Absolutely not! Santa Fe is such a popular destination year round that there’s almost no down time. October is popular for aspen viewing and fall colors. Early November is slightly slower than other times, but Thanksgiving week is frequently sell out time for hoteliers and vacation rentals. December brings a host of holiday events that attract a crowd every single weekend, and Christmas week through New Year’s is one of the busiest times of year.

And then we have folks at Ski Santa Fe through the end of March. Especially this year!

So, no, there’s no reason to think that selling your Santa Fe home during the winter is a bad idea.

But what should you do to be sure it’s ready to show and appealing when temps drop?


Obviously you have to do the things that you’d do at any other time of the year. Touch-up paint, any deferred maintenance, de-cluttering, that sort of thing. But you also need to warm up the interior as much as possible.

If the home is empty, strongly consider staging. There is nothing worse than having someone get out of a car in 31 degree weather to walk into a cold, empty house. You can’t appeal to the winter buyer if you’re home is an icebox when they walk in.

Staging, especially with rugs and appealing decor, will make all the difference in the world to your winter buyers. And staged homes create better photos, which is where your potential buyers will see your home for the first time. Maximum visual impact is very important in winter as opposed to summer. While they’re walking up your sidewalk in their boots and coat, you want your very appealing photos to be in their thoughts.

If you’re living elsewhere, be sure you keep your thermostat at a level that, while not keeping the house totally comfortable, will make it easy to warm up before a showing. Be sure your Realtor will send someone to the house to turn the thermostat up at least two hours before a showing. While this is an additional expense, it is an important exercise. Walking into a warm house is a relief and immediately makes a good first impression.

If you’re living there and you have a working fireplace or wood/gas heating stove, try to have that going when prospective buyers walk through. Showings are generally set at least two hours beforehand, so you have plenty of time to warm up your home in as many ways as possible. If you don’t want to leave a fire burning or have ashes in your fireplace, consider cleaning out a wood burning fireplace and putting several LED lit candles of varying sizes inside. I have one home tender who does this for the two kivas in my listing and the result is very warm and inviting.

The same home tender leaves the radio on with classical music playing very low. The impact is subtle, but very effective. You’re looking for warmth – your buyers are not going to spend as much time walking around outside, so you want them to want to stay a few extra minutes in your home.

Finally, the old trick of baking brownies or something equally appealing is not a crazy idea. A home that smells like something Grandma used to bake is more appealing than a cold, empty house. If you can, leave out a few biscochitos with a note inviting buyers to taste. They’ll remember your home far longer than the one that had nothing.

Exterior Prep

Your landscape is never going to be at its best in winter, but you can address as much as possible. Those dead flowers in your beds? They have to go. By keeping the landscape clear and free of dead plantings, you show prospective buyers that you care for your home year-round.

Decorate for the season as much as possible. A fall wreath on the door or holiday lighting make a home appear warmer and will set your property aside from the ones where homeowners don’t make the effort. You want buyers to see themselves and their families in the home, and creating an inviting entry with a holiday look is one way to accomplish that. Just be sure you don’t go overboard – the home needs to appear balanced and inviting, but not overdone.

And once the holiday season is over, take the decorations out immediately. Your job is to create the impression that you never leave anything undone when it comes to caring for your home.

We don’t have lots of lingering snowfall in Santa Fe, but should that occur, be sure you shovel your drives and sidewalks prior to showings. I’d also suggest you do this even when there’s not a showing – many homes are purchased from drive-bys, and seeing that you’re keeping the snow off will impress a potential buyer.


As always, pricing right is your number one selling tool, but perhaps most important in the winter. If you overprice and then remain on the market through the spring, you’ll find your home competing with new listings. A qualified Realtor will create a comparative market analysis that will help you find the right pricing strategy for the Santa Fe market.


Are there advantages to listing in the winter? Absolutely. Because of long-held beliefs about the market, you’ll find yourself in a limited inventory situation. Buyer demands will be lower simply because there are less homes on the market.

Good luck! And if you need a Realtor who understands all facets of the Santa Fe market, give me a call. I’ll be here all winter and through the holidays.




Bunny Terry 505.504.1101

20 Vereda Serena Santa Fe, NM 87508