Selling Your Home During the Holidays
Every November I address the advantages of selling your home during the holidays. Many home sellers request we remove their home from the market during the holidays, while other sellers believe they should wait until after January 1st to list their home. I even overhear real estate agents suggesting the holidays are a slow period to sell a home. I disagree and believe the holiday season is a great time to sell a property.
Taking a home off the market during the holidays or waiting until the first of the year to sell your home is a mistake. I understand it can be a bit inconvenient to have your home in top condition for showings when you are busy decorating, baking, shopping, gift wrapping, mailing 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 the competition on the market. When these factors are in place, the emotional factor takes over. The holiday season is the perfect time to show your home with the added emotional touches 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 emotions which are important to attract a new owner who can imagine celebrating the holiday with their family in your home!
Throughout the year while showing homes, I hear families discussing where in a home they would envision placing 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 desire in the pit of their stomach, when touring a home. If the price, condition, and the market are right, the emotions will kick in to help them make the decision to buy. The holiday season provides a special opportunity for buyers to picture themselves celebrating the season in your home.
In addition, to the emotional factor, there are many logical reasons to sell now. Many people take time off from work during this time, and have the opportunity to look at homes, and research properties. There are a lot of holiday parties and out-of-town visitors that may be introduced to a new desirable neighborhood or a new town or city. Relocation contracts are often signed with January start dates so children can begin school at the start of the new semester. Families needing to relocate are often looking during the holidays and these buyers are highly motivated.
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 their tax refunds for a down payment on a home. Many buyers receive bonuses during the holidays that could be used for down payments.
The buyers that are searching during this busy season are generally serious buyers with less of the “tire kickers” who are not as likely to waste your time by simply looking at your home. Therefore, there may be less buyers looking at your home, but the ones who do look are the serious buyers, 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 until the first of the year. The inventory of active homes on the market the last quarter of the year is low. When there are less homes available for the pool of buyers looking it creates more competition for the homes that are available! This competition often leads to bidding wars and getting a good price.
My experience has proved 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.
If your goal is to sell your home, do not wait until the new year. Take advantage of the “magic” of the season to help you sell your home to the serious buyers that are looking and the second benefit of less competition available for them to purchase.