Remember when most sellers put their homes up for sale in the spring? Just about the time that most house hunters started their home search. That’s still a popular time, of course, but nowadays selling your house isn’t just for warm weather anymore.
So, should you list your house at Christmas? Absolutely. And if it’s already on the market, should you take a break? Not necessarily.
We used to think of the holidays as a 6‑week period filled with parties, shopping, gift‑wrapping and baking. A time when there simply was no time left over for showing or touring houses. But with today’s modern technology — smartphones and computers — new listings are only a touch away. And while buyers may not schedule a whole day to look at houses the way they used to, serious buyers never take a break from talking to their realtors and looking for new listings. So, whether you’re buying or selling, there’s no reason you should miss out at this, or any other, time of the year.
The emergence of technology in real estate may have begun with millennial house hunters, but today just about everyone takes advantage of this easy method of house hunting. And this time of year, is a great time to reach a couple different categories of people.
One group is made up of prospective buyers that are in no great hurry — but they’re looking for a “specific” house. Maybe they’re waiting for a listing to pop up in a certain neighborhood or within certain budget restrictions. Or maybe they’re looking for a house with specific amenities such as a fenced‑in backyard, fireplace or large open kitchen.
Another likely winter buyer is one that is working under a deadline. Maybe their lease is up and now they want to buy. They might be relocating for a new job. Whatever the reason, they need to move within a certain time — and they don’t have the luxury of waiting until the snow has come and gone.
People say that buying (and selling) a house is all about location, location, location. But it’s also about being in the right place at the right time — or being on the MLS list when the right buyer is looking. After all, it only takes one.
Here are just a few reasons to consider listing over the holidays.
People are busy during the holidays — there’s no doubt about it. That means that some sellers can’t get their homes properly ready to list. And with all the additional holiday tasks on their plates, many may feel they don’t have the time to keep their home in tip‑top shape for each showing. But those factors don’t mean that you shouldn’t list your house. In fact, if you feel able to work around all that holiday bustle, then this might be the perfect time to list. With other sellers concentrating on other things, the holidays result in a reduced inventory of homes. This is your time to shine!
The real estate market does not come to a holiday standstill.
Last year, home sales for January and February (which reflect houses that received offers during the November and December holiday season) were roughly 64% of the year‑round average. If that decreased number of sales sounds like a bad, thing, well, that isn’t necessarily true. What the numbers do show, is that people do still look during the holidays — and buyers do make offers.
Buyers are serious.
Buyers, of course, are just as busy at this time of year as sellers are. Which means that the ones out there searching are generally not just looky‑loos! They’re more likely to be serious about finding — and buying — a new house. Which means that all your hard work keeping the house in order, is much more likely to pay off!
Emotional house-hunters translate to buyers.
The hustle and bustle of the holidays may be exhausting, but there’s something about the season that brings out a lot of memories, sentiment and emotions. The beauty of the season combined with the natural reaction of seeing a potential house all decked out with the warmth of the holidays, makes it easier than ever to say Yes to the House.
But… Beware of gimmicks and cheesy decorations.
Just say “No” to the temptation to overdo it! While you can use tasteful decorations to enhance the beauty of the space and trigger childhood memories of your family gathered around the tree, resist the urge to fill up every space. You still want the house to be the focal point — you aren’t selling the tree! And remember — too much “stuff” will make the space look smaller. And…avoid commercialism. That means no blow‑up Santas in the yard, please. And no giant bows tied around the house.
While this is a hectic time of the year, listing your house during the holidays can have some advantages. We’re not suggesting you go out of your way to list it now if you aren’t ready or if you aren’t serious about selling. But if you’re all set to go — or you already have your home on the market — look at the bright side and play up the perks.
Remember that unexpected ending in Miracle on 34th Street? Following the directions of Kris Kringle, the soon‑to‑be family drives past a house just like the one the little girl asked Santa to bring her. And lo and behold, there was a For Sale sign on the front lawn. Which goes to show that even in real estate, Christmas wishes do come true.