Selling during the holidays
The holiday season is in full swing with decorating, parties and gift giving. But will selling your home or keeping it on the market at this time of the year fit into your holiday traditions and even more important the traditions of potential buyers?
Like every possible question in the universe, if you ask two different people their opinion, you are likely to get two different answers, and selling your home during the Christmas and New Year’s holiday season is no different. Many real estate brokers feel that holiday buyers tend to be more serious and are willing to move more quickly because why else would they be looking at properties a week before Christmas? Many of these buyers are relocating into the area for professional or personal reasons and are anxious to get settled or could even have an end of the year tax deadline.
In addition, the competition from other sellers is likely to be less fierce during the holidays. Some sellers will either remove their homes from the market to celebrate the season or are waiting till after the holidays to list. Something else to consider when making a decision is the abundance of visitors, who are either vacationing or visiting family on the Island during the holidays, which could expand the buyer pool.
If you do decide to keep your home on the market during the holidays, here a few quick tips: It is fine to decorate but don’t overdo it; keep the ornaments simple and tasteful with few religious elements. Everyone loves the warm homey smell of cookies baking and scented candles burning during the holidays. If you’re still listed during the holidays, make sure your real estate agent isn’t flying off to some secluded island and not leaving anyone in charge of your property.
For the really motivated seller, consider a special holiday discount to buyers for offers by the end of the year or offer seller financing or help with closing costs. If you can get your agent to advertise your home with a holiday incentive, you just might tap into all those holiday visitors who are just dying to spend next Christmas on the beach.
Finally, if you have made the decision to keep your home on the market during the holidays in spite of family and friends being around, you have to make it available for showings. If you think you might not want your home walked through by strangers this time of year, you need to reconsider, because just like any other time of the year, never turn down a showing.
The flip side of selling during the holidays is the real estate Grinch, who thinks it’s a total waste of time resulting in additional stress for sellers during a normally stressful time of the year. The real estate Grinch will say that buyers will view houses that are on the market during the holidays as having desperate sellers. They point out the smaller inventory of buyers, some of which are looking for very specific properties, who will make offers less than they might at a different time of the year. And they also think agents, like everyone else, will be distracted this time of the year.
Some of this might be true and should be considered when deciding if you want to go through the hassle of showing your home during the holidays. Agents will point out that if you remove your home from the market it can go back on fresh in January, almost like a new listing.
Personally I subscribe to the serious buyer theory during the holidays. You never know who’s on the other side of the door. If you’re selling your home this month, your holiday traditions will certainly be a little off anyway, so why not go for it? Happy holidays and good luck.