Plus, Tips for Attracting Buyers During the Busiest, Coldest Time of Year
If you’re considering selling your home between mid-November and mid-January, you may be wondering if it’s worth the hassle. Between cold weather (depending on where you live, obviously) and all the holidays that take place this time of year, do people even shop for homes? The answer is yes, but with a few caveats we’ll discuss. Here are some pros and cons of selling your home during the holidays that you might want to keep in mind if you’re thinking of listing now.
Benefits to Selling During the Holidays
Your Potential Buyers are Likely to Be Very Serious
People buying homes during the winter, getting out in the cold and snow, are likely to have a genuine need to buy. Maybe they got a new job or they’re shopping for a new home due to a change in their financial circumstances. While it’s not a guarantee that every winter buyer is more serious, there’s definitely some wisdom behind this.
Your Home Is Probably Already Gussied Up
Most people take time to get their homes spic and span during the holidays, and company stopping in more frequently means that you may do a better job of keeping up with the housework. It means less effort to get ready for showings. It also may lead to buyers who are more impressed by your home. Plus, pretty, sparkly snow covers a multitude of landscaping faux pas.
There’s Less Competition
There are fewer homes on the market during the winter months, meaning there’s less competition. When there are fewer options, you’re more likely to get showings and showings lead to sales. You may also wind up finding more than one interested buyer if the pickings are slim enough in your area, which could lead to a better price. Plus, competition aside, you’re 100% more likely to sell your home if it’s listed than if it’s not.
People Have Time Off Work to Come Look
Time off work comes with the territory over the holidays, and people may use that time to go out house shopping. You may also have some vacation so that you can get things done around the house or get the necessary paperwork handled so that you don’t have to miss work to do those things.
Downsides to Listing Your Home Over the Winter Holidays
You May Have to Move During the Holidays
This is probably the biggest downside for many people. Moving during the holidays just adds an extra dose of stress to an already very stressful life event. Hiring moving professionals can get a little sticky because they want to take time off to enjoy their families, too.
The Potential Pool of Buyers is Generally Smaller
The disparity isn’t as drastic as you may be thinking, what with conventional wisdom telling us that people only shop for homes during the spring and summer, but buyers are less likely to be shopping for homes over the holidays. Homes listed in the winter do spend slightly longer on the market and fewer sales are made during the winter months.
You’re Probably Pretty Busy and Showings Could Be Inconvenient
If potential buyers are busy during the holiday season, there’s no doubt that you are, too. There’s a lot going on this time of year, and when you add in all the things that come with having a home on the market, it might just be too much to handle.
Closing Can Be Tricky
Buyers and movers aren’t the only ones trying to take a vacation. Real estate professionals, from agents to appraisers to the title company, like to take vacations over the holidays as well. This can make getting your closing scheduled difficult, to say the least.
Tips for a Successful Holiday Sale
- Keep decorations minimal, but poignant. If they make the house look cluttered or come off as extreme, they may turn buyers off. However, tasteful holiday décor can make the home look magical and can help potential buyers see their family holidays in the home.
- Try to be available for showings as often as possible, but don’t make yourself miserable over them.
- Make sure that you keep sidewalks and other outdoor walkways free of snow and ice for the safety of potential buyers and their agents.
- Take those listing photos seriously. Winter buyers are more likely to start shopping online so those photos are more likely to be the basis for their first impression.
- Keep the lights on, indoor and out. It’s dreary in the winter and the darkness can make the indoors seem a little depressing. Make sure it’s as bright as possible!
Should You List During the Holidays?
Obviously, that’s a personal choice. Use the above factors to determine if it’s worth it for you, but remember this quote attributed to Wayne Gretzky: “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”