Listing Your Home over the Holidays
By Jessica Elgin
It’s the age old question: Should I list my home over the holidays? Although there is a lot of debate on the pros and cons, the truth is that it depends on your situation.
If you need to relocate for a job or for a family reason, you may not have a choice. However, if you have a home that is hard to sell, you may want to take advantage of the decline in inventory, since fewer homes are on the market during the holidays. According to the MLS market report, there is a steady decrease in the number of homes on the market between October and December. This is followed by a quick inventory increase in January that continues until peak inventory is reached in September. The temporary decrease in inventory during the holiday season gives sellers a better opportunity to capture a buyer’s attention. The general assumption that a decrease in market competition translates to a decrease in the sale price of a home is not true. Over the past three years, there has been a steady increase in sale prices that has not wavered over the holidays.
There are a few other reasons to sell over the holidays: Buyers who are looking for a home tend to make decisions faster, and many homes look their best with a few holiday decorations.
If, however, you just don’t want to be bothered during the holidays, wait until January. Inventory is still low, and you will have a few months before the market rush in March. It can be stressful trying to coordinate showings with your hectic holiday schedule. You also have to consider if packing and moving during the holidays is a task you want to undertake. Remember, your price will probably go up after a few months. If you take into consideration your mortgage payments and are okay with the loss in extra payments, it may be worth the reduction in stress to wait until the new year.
Here are a few more things to consider. Today, buyers spend an average of eight months online looking for homes before they meet with a realtor to make an offer. Often, they are more inclined to surf web pages when they are snuggled in with a cup of hot cocoa during the holidays. In Washington County, the selling season begins in March and ends in August. September begins the slower season, with approximately 10–20% fewer sales closing between September and February.
If listing your house during the holidays is right for you and your family, here are a few tips: Remember to keep it simple. Opt for a smaller Christmas tree or menorah. Minimize the clutter. When showing your home, a beautiful table setting always looks great, and there are many table settings that can be purchased inexpensively. Pay special attention to curb appeal. Falling leaves and cobwebs can be distracting and make the home feel uncared for. Make your home feel warm and inviting for potential buyers. Put a few cookies in the oven prior to a showing, and leave them on a plate with a note that says, “Please enjoy the cookies as you are looking at our home.” Small details make a big difference.
In the end, do what is best for your situation. Since buyers truly do look for a home all year long, there are no worries about missing out on the market. If you would like help with your particular situation, give me a call at 918-924-0055.