It’s pretty universal in the real estate world that the holiday season is the slowest time of the year for real estate. People seem to have their mind on other things, as you might imagine, like shopping or holiday parties. However, this could be a missed opportunity for both buyers and sellers who want or need to sell or buy a home.
For buyers, there are several good reasons to look at buying at this time, if you’re so inclined. One is that, at a time when we generally have less inventory on the market, you’ll have less competition for homes that may interest you. There aren’t that many other people out looking.
Also, you’re more likely to encounter sellers who are anxious to sell, especially those who have had their homes on the market awhile, and don’t expect to get much activity during this time. Let’s face it: A seller who doesn’t really need to sell is probably not going to put up with the hassle of having their home on the market during the holidays.
On the flip side, the lack of inventory can be a huge advantage for sellers willing or needing to sell at this time of year. There are fewer choices out there, so you’re likely to capture the buyers who are looking. I have also found that the buyers who are out there looking right now are serious buyers. “Tire kickers” are not going to be spending their time looking at homes during the winter holidays. The serious lookers/buyers are often people who have been relocated and need to get into a home by a certain date – often early in the year.
As a seller, it can be an inconvenience to have your home shown when you’re busy decorating, hosting friends and family. However, there are ways of dealing with that. Most agents are not going to be holding open houses right now, so you won’t be displaced for large blocks of time. Showings hopefully can be arranged around your schedule, and buyers looking at this time tend to be more understanding and respectful of the time frames.
If you do decorate your home for the holidays, that can also be an advantage, as homes tend to look warm and friendly when decorated. Buyers can picture themselves spending the holidays in the home. However, I would caution that if you are going to be keeping your home on the market during the holidays that you try not to go overboard on the decorating. It can be overwhelming for some buyers. Among other things, they may not celebrate the same holidays you do.
I will admit that if a seller comes to me before the holiday season, and they want to sell, but are not in a hurry, I often advise them to wait until after the holidays, especially if they are concerned about the inconvenience. However, every situation is different, and as I said, a seller who is willing to have their home shown at this time of year can grab the attention of serious buyers, with a lot less competition out there.
There are both pros and cons to buying and selling at this time of year, but I would advise anyone to consider them all before writing off the holiday season altogether. This could give them just the advantage they need to get a great deal on buying or selling a home.