Winter’s harsh weather certainly can bring a curve ball to selling, but real estate pros are finding it a good time for sellers to sell and buyers to buy.

That’s because the real estate market tends to be smaller in the winter, and buyers and sellers tend to be more serious and motivated about making a deal.

If they wait for the spring market, there's more competition for buyers, says Ricki Sellner, of Coldwell Banker.

As for buyers, winter can be a buyer’s market. They can usually get a better price, because there are not as many buyers in the market. If a house is on the market in the winter, the seller is usually extremely motivated, says Nicolette Lisella, of Terrie O'Connor REALTORS® in Allendale, N.J.

Sellers tend to be more flexible and the prices more affordable, says Dennis Decina of Werner Realty in West Milford, N.J.

Plus, buyers may be able to get quicker action on their mortgages since lenders aren’t dealing with as many applications, adds Antoinette Gangi of RE/MAX in Woodcliff Lake, N.J.

However, the common weather-related winter obstacles are often still there: The house often lacks curb appeal, icy sidewalks, and snowy driveways.

But when buyers come out in rougher weather, you know they are serious and motivated, says John Reilly, of Century 21 Van Der Wende in Little Falls, N.J.

Source: “Winter Needn’t Freeze Out Home Sales,” Chicago Tribune (Feb. 25, 2011)