Should You List Your Home During the Holidays?

(December 16, 2013)

clock-future-110x110.jpgAs the holidays approach, if you find yourself in a situation where you need to sell your home, you should think about it very carefully. Is it the best decision to list your home during the holidays? Or should you wait until things slow down in January? Before making a decision, there are a few things that you need to consider. Whether you determine to go ahead with the listing or you decide to wait, you will at least know what you are in for.

A Slower Market

The market slows down during the holidays. This is a fairly well-known fact. People just don’t have the time to look at properties this time of year. They’re busy decorating, shopping, and spending their time with family. For this reason, your list of potential buyers is very slim.

Since the market will slow down, you have to consider that you very well may not get an offer during the holidays. Your home will then become stale. When January rolls around and buyers begin looking again, they will see that your home has been on the market for some time. This may lead them to think that there is something wrong with the property or that it’s not special. The “if no one wants it, why would I?” questions will cross their minds. Most buyers, like sellers, aren’t savvy enough to think about the holidays and their impact on real estate, especially in hindsight.

This Season Could Be Different

There has been a slight cooling down of the real estate market in the past few months. However, the real estate market is still quite hot. If there were a holiday season to consider listing, it would be this one.

If You Do List

Lastly, you have to ask yourself, are you willing to put up with people coming in and out of your house during this (sometimes) hectic time of year? If you decide to list your home during the holidays, here are some helpful tips that will give your property the extra edge it needs:

  • Have fun with the holiday season. For example, when you have an open house, offer potential buyers hot cocoa or hot apple cider as they tour.
  • Be sure to keep your decorations fairly neutral. This is important for two reasons: 1) You don't want decorations covering up the details of your property (or sending buyers into sensory overload), and 2) Not everyone celebrates the same holidays as you. You want the buyers to feel like your home is their home.
  • Be sure to put away any presents. There are plenty of “potential buyers” who have sticky fingers, especially when they see a tempting gift under the tree.
  • Make your house feel like a holiday home. Help people envision themselves hosting their own holiday parties there.

All in all, you will have to weigh the pros and cons of listing your home during the holiday season. It may be the right choice for you, but you need to understand you are rolling the dice. If you can, you may choose to keep your holidays as stress free as possible and wait to list until January or consider selling to an investor.

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Jennifer Shenbaum

Written by Jennifer Shenbaum

Jennifer Shenbaum is a real estate investor based in Southern California. She is a veteran of the housing market crash of 2007. Best of all, she offers free remodeling ideas to all who ask.

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