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Are you thinking about keeping your home on the market for November and December, but not sure whether it’ll be worth your while? In this post, we’ll take a look at the costs and benefits of listing your home during the holiday season.
Many realtors still recommend that sellers not attempt to list their home during the holidays, even taking it off the market during the last half of December before starting again in January. They reason that most potential buyers would be preoccupied by family and end-of-year financial concerns. Even if homes were listed for sale over the holidays, they probably wouldn’t attract much attention.
Bill Gassett of Metrowest Realty MA describes the mindset this way: “With all the holidays and the traveling going on, not to mention the weather, it seemed like winter was probably the least advantageous season you could pick.” However, in a blog post about seasonal sales strategies, Gassett points out that winter househunting is not for the faint of heart, which could work to your advantage: “If the buyer is motivated enough to visit at night in the freezing weather, he or she may be motivated enough to buy.”
Of course, a holiday break also allows homeowners – and realtors – to enjoy some peace and quiet with their family before diving back into a competitive market at the start of the New Year. For that reason alone, it might be worth thinking about a holiday hiatus!
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With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of listing your home during the holidays.
Lowered Value – Since the end of the year is such an unpopular time, you might make prospective buyers think you’re desperate. Homebuyers could lowball you or attempt to negotiate a much lower price. You may want to reserve your listing and your energies for buyers who will make you a better offer.
Sinking Interest – You’ll also be marketing to a smaller group of buyers, which means that you’ll be less likely to find a buyer whose profile matches your home. This can be a special problem for sellers with a very specific property, or one with special features or historical interest.
Built-In Delay – Even if you keep your home on the market through the holiday season, you probably won’t actually finalize the sale until after the end of the year. It’s almost impossible to close a financed transaction by the end of the year if the offer is received mid-December. Buyers interested in closing on a property in January will probably make an offer in January.
Hassle for the Holidays – It’s challenging to keep your home an “open house” during the holidays. Many sellers don’t want to deal with the hassle of keeping their home spic and span while planning a round of holiday parties, get-togethers, gift exchanges, family visits, and other holiday chores.
With that in mind, you may want to list your property in January, when it will attract fresh interest from buyers looking to close on a home at the beginning of the year.
However, there are some benefits to selling during the holidays even if you can safely delay until January.
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Buyer-Initiated Sales – Once upon a time, interested buyers would work mostly through a realtor to locate properties. These days, most interested buyers start their home search independently, through the internet. This means that they can easily look for new listings from home, devoting just a few minutes each day to scanning sites like RedFin and Trulia without venturing out to tour properties in person.
Non-Stop Searches – These days, if someone’s serious about finding a home, chances are they’re always looking. They may even have email alerts set up so that your listing is flagged automatically. Buyers are less likely to give up the search during the holidays, so maybe you should follow suit.
Virtual Advantage – Streaming and graphic technology has also revolutionized online real estate marketing, allowing sellers to offer high-resolution photo galleries, clickable floorplans, and video tours. This allows you to split the difference between holiday plans and real estate salesmanship, reserving your home for holiday parties and family visits and offering detailed information to potential buyers online.
Less Competition – Despite these changes, the holidays are still a relatively slow time in the real estate market. This means that there’s less competition for your property, and that buyers looking for a home may be unusually motivated.
With these costs and benefits in mind, you may want to split the difference with a targeted holiday timeline. Many agents recommend that motivated sellers list their home right after Thanksgiving. This gives them a few weeks for potential buyers to tour the property before the end of the year, which may allow them to start the New Year off with a sale.
Whatever you decide, it’s a good idea to weigh these different factors carefully. Consider your own schedule and logistical needs before committing to a solution. And if you are tempted to take a vacation from real estate, don’t worry. January will be here before you know it, and your home will be right back on the market for a new group of invested buyers!
Are you interested in learning more about strategic real estate marketing? Square 1 Group is a boutique digital marketing firm based in Los Angeles, California. Our real estate experience combines with our technological expertise to provide an outstanding knowledge base for real estate agents looking to expand their online presence. Call us for a digital marketing consultation today!