If you have plans to sell your home, you don't have to wait until the warmer months. And if you're buying, the clock is ticking on what may be your best shot at a good deal on your dream house.

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New Jersey experts in the real estate field say the winter months, even the weeks surrounding the holidays, offer many advantages that buyers and sellers would be unwise to ignore.

"This is the biggest secret in our industry," said Ralph DiBugnara, vice president of Residential Home Funding in Parsippany. "While everyone is focused on the holidays you can slip in there and get the home you want."

Sellers tend to avoid listing their homes during the colder months, DiBugnara noted, so those who remain on the market may be under more pressure to sell and, in turn, more willing to accept your offer.

A listing service search of Monmouth County counted 11,623 active listings for single-family homes in June 2016, compared to 9,564 in January of the same year.

Making conditions even more advantageous for the buyer is the fact that there's less competition in the marketplace. Fewer potential buyers are actively searching, and that means it's less likely you'll find yourself in the middle of a bidding war.

Randi Dickman, a broker associate with Berkshire Hathaway Signature Properties in Monmouth County, recently advised a client against taking their home off the market for the holidays.

"I'm a big fan of listing in the winter," Dickman said. "Why would you want to put your house on the market in the spring when you have all this other competition?"

And, according to Dickman, sellers in the winter know they're dealing only with serious buyers, because not just anyone would trek outdoors in frigid temperatures and slush to see a home they may or may not like.

As a bonus, your house could look more attractive than usual around the holidays, depending on your taste in decorations.

If your home has must-see summer features, such as a pool or bar, Dickman advises homeowners to take quality photos of these features during the summer, just in case your home is on the market between October and May.

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Contact reporter Dino Flammia at dino.flammia@townsquaremedia.com.