Selling A Home During the Holidays
It’s often said that homeowners should try to avoid listing and selling their house during the holidays, but the reality is simply not so clear cut. Be it a job change, family needs, or an unpredictable occurrence, there are inevitably life circumstances that necessitate selling your home during the winter months, and inversely, there are buyers who need to quickly locate their next home during the holidays for the same reasons.
While the holidays are a notoriously busy time of year with increased travel, socializing, and shopping, there are several effective strategies to get your house sold in the slower holiday season. The most important considerations are detailed here.
The Agent Situation
At Falaya, our clients have the choice to utilize one of our professional real estate agents or to sell independent of an agent, in more of a for-sale-by-owner fashion. If an agent is engaged in your home selling process, you may have scheduling conflicts during the holidays with their (or your) personal schedule, thus limiting the number of showings possible.
Agents that are hungry to make the sale will be available as often as is necessary to show your home, but they have personal lives and are human too. The buyer’s agent may be unavailable for convenient times, doubly complicating the scheduling, however, agents might actually be more able to cater to your showing needs as the number of sales and showings goes down dramatically from November to January.
Trends in a Holiday Housing Market
The holidays are a time of togetherness, staying home, and travel. When given the choice, homeowners opt to avoid interrupting their busy lives, wholly decorated homes, and family plans, and instead, they list homes in January after life returns to normal.
That being said, most real estate professionals also realize that if someone is looking to buy or sell a home during November and December, they are considered more serious or intent to complete the transaction. The upside of this is that you have fewer “looky Lous” and fewer total showings between listing and contract offering.
Technology (ahem, like Falaya) has evolved this concept though, because buyers and sellers can easily post and view available properties virtually at any time! Interest rates have even been noted to drop during the sluggish holiday housing season, and closings can come faster than any other time of year with less going on for lenders.
Rein in the Decorations
Holiday decorations have huge sentimental meaning in the homes where they are displayed. Unfortunately, when positioning your home to a buyer as their next home, a seller must depersonalize their home as much as possible, including holiday décor. If the holiday décor must come out, it’s generally recommended to avoid covering showcase areas of the home, like the mantle, staircase, focal light fixtures, and entry doors.
Never knowing religious affiliations of a buyer means that your religious affiliations shouldn’t impose too much on the space. The same applies to political affiliations and sports team enthusiasm when showing a home.
Pros & Cons
As we’ve detailed above, the holiday housing market has several nuances that factor in for both buyers and sellers. Our summarized pro and con takeaways are below.
- The competition in the selling market goes down.
- Buyers and sellers have higher intent than other times of the year
- Lenders not vacationing can close in less time.
- People have more available time to peruse online listings and view homes in person.
- Mortgage interest rates drop in the holiday months.
- Technology smooths out seasonal fluctuations when buyers can view available inventory with online listings, photos, and virtual tours.
- There are fewer active buyers during holidays.
- Real estate agents can be less available.
- Showings disrupt busy holiday schedules.
- Maintaining a “show ready” home is more difficult with more foot traffic and holiday decorations.
- Low ball offers are more common.
- Some lenders are unavailable for work or closings.
Sell your home, like a pro, with Falaya.