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Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Selling During the Holidays

Believe it or not, the holidays are fast approaching. In the real estate business, we often have sellers requesting that we take their home off of the market during the holidays and others who want to delay listing their home until the first of the year. We frequently overhear real estate agents suggesting that the holidays are a bad time to sell a home. I disagree and believe that the holiday season can be one of the best times to sell a home.


Taking a home off the market during the holidays or waiting until the first of the year to sell your home is a mistake. We agree that it can be a bit inconvenient to have your home in top condition for showings when you are busy decorating, baking, shopping, gift wrapping, sending gifts and cards and busy with church and volunteer work.


But, consider the many benefits. Buying a home is an emotional decision. Granted, the decision must also make sense logically, in other words it must be priced right, in top condition and positioned to compete with all of the other homes on the market, including short sales and foreclosures. When the home is staged, priced right and positioned against the competition, the buyer’s emotions have a very strong influence on the buying decision. The holiday season is the perfect time to show your home with the added emotional appeal, that only this time of year can provide. The smell of the Christmas tree decorated and sparkling, a cozy fire in the fireplace, poinsettias, decorations and the smell of holiday baking or hot chocolate evoke strong emotional feelings to families when they are considering a new home for their family.


Throughout the year we hear families discussing where in a home they would place their Christmas tree and other decorations, if they were to buy the home. When selling a home, we want the buyers to feel a strong emotional connection when touring a home. If the price, condition and market are right, the emotions will help them to make a decision to buy. The holiday season provides a special opportunity for buyers to picture themselves celebrating and creating traditions and memories in your home.


In addition to the emotional factor, there are many logical reasons to sell at this time of the year.  Many people take time off from work during this time of year, and have the opportunity to look at homes. Both spouses are often available to view homes and will not have to rush back to work. There are many holiday parties and out-of-town visitors that may become introduced to a new desirable neighborhood or a new town or city. Relocation contracts are often signed with January start dates so that children can begin school at the start of the new semester. Families needing to relocate are often looking during the holidays.


There are also tax strategies that often motivate buyers to purchase before the end of the year. Many buyers have a new year’s goal of buying a home and begin their search in December with a close of escrow date in January. Some buyers expecting income tax refunds file their taxes in January and earmark those refunds for a down payment on a home. Many buyers receive bonuses during the holidays that could be used for down payments as well.


The buyers that are searching during this busy season are generally serious buyers, not the less-serious lookers who are busy with the holidays and not as likely to be out looking. Therefore, there may be fewer buyers looking at your home, but the ones who do are serious–the ones we want to work with. Because many sellers have the misconception that the holiday season is a bad time to sell, many wait to list their home at the beginning of the year. Typically there are fewer active homes on the market the last quarter of the year and the number of homes listed in January increases every year since most sellers wait until after the holidays to list, which means more homes will be added to the already existing inventory that buyers have to choose from.


Our experience has proven that the market is very busy at the end of the year. No need to worry about getting an offer during this season, chances are the buyers will not want to move in until after the holidays and your real estate agent can negotiate a day that is suitable for you. Take advantage of the great opportunity to market your home during the holiday season. Why not sell when the inventory of homes on the market is lower, the competition with other homes on the market is low and the buyers that are looking are serious?  It only takes one buyer and that buyer may come along during the holidays, waiting until January just guarantees you will have more competition than the last quarter.

Written by Carlie Back




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