There are pros and cons to having your home on the market over the holidays. Many people will choose to take their home off the market from Thanksgiving to the New Year — and for good reason: keeping the house perfect for showings is difficult anyway, but when you add the holiday activity to the mix, it gets that much harder.
However, if you are one of the few that has chosen to brave the holiday season, then I think you have several advantages.
First of all, inventory is at its lowest this time of year, so buyers have fewer homes to choose from.
And who is looking for a house right now? Very serious buyers, that’s who. No Looky-Loo is likely to waste your time.
A couple of years ago, I remember showing property the day after Christmas to relocation buyers. They came to town with a purpose: to buy a house. It was a hard day to show a home that wasn’t vacant, and I could sympathize with sellers. The day before Christmas, my house is lovely — the day after? Yipes, different story.
My buyers selected a wonderful home, but it was frustrating — then as now — to have so little to choose from. Several agents have recently sent out pleas to the real estate community such as “I have buyers coming in for the weekend — please let me know if you have any ‘coming soon’ or ‘not on mls’ listings I can show.”
Another advantage is that, while your house is on the market during the holidays, it may show better than ever. Not the day after Christmas, perhaps, but the days leading up to it: festive wrapped gifts under the tree, colorful decorations everywhere.
Buyers can walk through a nicely decorated home (with mulled cider simmering in the kitchen and freshly baked cookies on a plate) and feel a warm happy feeling — they can imagine how nice it would be to move right in.
Sellers who have their home on the market over the holidays are typically motivated sellers — so smart buyers appreciate that this is a great time to make an offer on a house they love.
There are fewer buyers over the holidays, yes, but the buyers are serious. Same with the sellers: inventory is low, but the sellers are serious. Since Thanksgiving week (11/20) through mid-Dec., 129 homes have gone pending in the San Ramon Valley (Alamo through San Ramon).
Certainly, the thought of keeping the house clean, holding open houses, and vacating to accommodate showings during the holidays is too much for some. If so, consider listing your property after New Year’s Day.
Generally, inventory will stay low in January with most sellers planning to wait until the spring, a time that is perceived to be the selling season.
And that perception is true. As inventory grows, so will sales. In fact, looking at all the sales across the San Ramon Valley (Alamo, Danville, Diablo, Blackhawk, San Ramon), there were more homes sold in the second quarter of 2010 (32% of the sales for the year; vs. 19% in Q1, 29% in Q3, and 22% in Q4). This year, although not yet complete, shows Q2 and Q3 equally strong at 31%, Q1 was 20%, and yet-to-be-completed Q4 is 18% so far.