Holiday Home Sales
This time of year, Keller Williams The Trembley Group Real Estate Professionals are frequently asked, “Should I try to sell my house now or should I wait until after the holidays?” Invariably, the Realtors will get a follow-up question about waiting until after the New Year or maybe the springtime or what about the hot-selling summer. Sellers who’ve already listed their homes usually ask, “Should I take my house off the market during the holidays?”
There is no clear cut-and-dry answer. Everyone’s personal circumstances are different.
There was a time when few people tried to sell a home during the holidays. Conventional wisdom held there were fewer buyers during the busy holiday season so sellers should wait until there were more people looking to buy a new house.
Times have changed. In many cases, listing a home during the holiday season can be just as effective as a home listed for sale during any other time of the year. Although there may be some drawbacks, a home listed for sale during the holidays faces less competition and frequently have an easier time closing a sale.
The Busiest Time of The Year
There is no denying that the holiday season can be one of the busiest in our personal lives. The increased social demands, holiday dinners, and all the parties, not to mention the gift shopping and gift-giving and traveling that can make the holiday season pretty hectic for most households.
At first glance, the busiest time of year does not seem to be a very good time of year to sell a home. Who will have a chance to look at houses and go through the mortgage lending process during the holidays?
Well, the answer may be surprising. A lot of potential buyers are primed to buy a home during the holidays. They do a significant portion of their house-hunting online anyway, so they can quickly locate potential properties.
The fact that they are still looking in spite of the increased demands of the season also indicates that they are probably highly motivated to buy.
There’s Less Inventory
Conventional wisdom says home sellers should wait until spring to get the most from a home sale. But studies have shown that homes listed during the holidays can command more money and can also sell quicker than the ones listed in the spring. One of the reasons is that there is less competition during the holidays. For a multitude of reasons, people don’t put their houses up for sale when the holidays are coming. Home shoppers aren’t going to have dozens of houses to choose from. In the spring, inventory usually picks up and bidding wars can break out for prime properties in coveted neighborhoods. During the holidays, there are limited choices and home sellers can demand a higher asking price.
Buyers Are More Serious
Anyone shopping for a new home around Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year’s is undoubtedly a serious buyer. While hitting the weekend open houses is a favorite weekend pastime for many Americans, most tire-kickers aren’t going to spend their precious holiday shopping, decorating, and entertaining time nosing around other people’s homes. In the spring, when there are dozens of open houses every weekend, people may check out homes without a clear plan to buy. If someone wants to see a home for sale around the holidays, chances are that they’re a serious buyer and ready to pull the trigger on an offer. That often results in a quicker sale and closing.
For sellers willing to go through the little bit of extra work to put their house up for sale during the holidays, they will likely be rewarded with the serious buyer every seller wants to attract. Nevertheless, waiting until January to list a home is still quite common.
A significant number of sellers will even wait until summer to list their home for sale. Conventional wisdom says this is the absolute best time to sell. So when motivated buyers go looking for homes during the holidays, they have little to choose from. With fewer homes on the market chances are good that the buyers will check out most every home on the market.
Holiday buyers are also going to be caught up in the season, where emotions run high. Holiday shoppers will be thinking of the past, and more importantly, planning for the future. Buyers can often be more enthusiastic about purchasing things when they are emotional, as the retail sales records around during the holidays clearly demonstrate.
Where many buyers may be a little more hesitant to make a purchase before and after the holidays, during the holiday season they may feel exactly the opposite. Because they’re feeling good and feeling optimistic, they may be more likely to make a purchase, just because it adds to their sense of well-being.
Most people, homebuyers or not, are likely thinking about family during the holidays. That can be a major motivation for buying a new home. Potential buyers look at a house and imagine it as their home where they’re raising their family or entertaining their grandchildren over the holiday season. Studies have shown these motivations lead to the purchase of a bigger house than otherwise might have been purchased.
The marketing efforts of a Keller Williams The Trembley Group Real Estate Professional can appeal to these seller’s sensibilities, selling a home as a great place to raise kids or entertain the family. A Keller Williams The Trembley Group Realtor can discuss in detail the best marketing tactics for selling a home during the holidays.
Keep in mind that anyone looking at purchasing a home during the holidays is more than likely very serious. Sellers are less likely to have to deal with a bunch of “tire kickers” looking at houses during this time of year.
Late last November, a client was interviewing several of the top Myrtle Beach real estate companies about selling his Pawleys Island home. They all advised him to wait until the Spring. All of the Realtors interviewed told him to not put the home on the market between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Unfortunately, the homeowner was in a bit of a financial bind.
The week before thanksgiving, the homeowner decided to list with Keller Williams The Trembley Group. A week after the sign went up in the front yard, the house was under contract to a doctor from Ohio. The doctor had accepted an appointment beginning in January, requiring him to work out of the Georgetown and Murrells Inlet hospitals. The Pawley Island home was perfect, almost exactly half-way in between.
The home closed the week between Christmas and New Year. It was a win-win for everyone involved! Sometimes the best advice on whether to list a home during the holidays depends on the individual’s circumstances!
Timing Is Perfect for Transfers
Like the Pawleys Island doctor, the end of the year is typically a time when people get notified that they will be moving because of a job transfer. Those people need a house sooner rather than later, and will be hunting for a new home during the holidays. These buyers can’t wait for the spring, which is why listing during the holidays can often get a home quickly sold and quickly closed.
Holiday Homes Are Warm and Cozy
The holidays are often a time when people gather around fireplaces, have hot chocolate, and make aromatic cakes and pies. For homeowners who put their houses on the market during the winter months, it’s the perfect opportunity to stage a house to make it feel comfy and homey, a vibe that appeals to so many home buyers. And the Myrtle Beach and the Grand Strand winters are mild, so South Carolina coastal home sellers don’t have drafty houses that lack curb appeal because of the snowy walks and the generally nasty weather that their northern counterparts have to contend with.
Homes Look Their Best During The Holidays
There is nothing like winter to make a house look like a home. A fire in the hearth, cookies baking, holiday decorations – all of these can be played up to appeal to the buyer’s senses.
As long as the Realtor or the home stager doesn’t overdo it, these holiday trappings can draw in buyers and make them feel like they could live in the home, a place where they could celebrate their own warm and cozy holiday.
Neighborhoods Look Great, Too
One of the staples of the holiday season, particularly around Christmas, is that many people adorn their homes with festive lights and decorations. Even local communities light-up snowflakes and wreaths on lamp poles up and down the main streets. Homebuyers during the holidays may see the neighborhood in a different light than other times of the year – more welcoming – and may be more willing to consider an area that they may have passed on at a different time of year.
Another additional benefit of selling during the holidays is that buyers can usually get their loans approved much more quickly than they would during the Spring or Summer markets when everyone starts selling again. Lenders are less busy during the holiday season because there are just not as many home sales happening.
Mortgage lenders can usually process the loan faster, which means buyers can get the money you need for their home much more quickly. This is the perfect time to shop for the lowest mortgage interest rate possible. There will be mortgage officers who will love to put a loan together to get one last deal done before the end of the year!
While reducing a tax bill is not the primary reason buyers purchase a new home, it could be one more reason serious buyers make a move during the holidays. If a home sale closes before the end of the year, buyers can deduct the prepaid mortgage interest and property taxes associated with the loan. In today’s Myrtle Beach real estate market, the tax deductions can be significant and could prompt a home buyer to make the move during the holidays rather than waiting until spring.
Sellers Should Be Prepared For Their Next Move
When selling during the holidays, a seller needs to have the mindset that someone may come along and want a quick close. This could put a real cramp in the seller’s holiday style, especially if the buyer asks for an inconvenient closing time like right smack dab in the middle of Thanksgiving and Christmas.
A seller needs to have your ducks in a row as to where they’ll be living.
A seller may have already located a home to purchase, perhaps even having a contract contingent on selling their present home. But simultaneously buying and selling a home can be tricky. This is something that should be well thought out in advance. A seller’s stress level will go through the roof when they have not thought about all the “what ifs”!
The expert advice and support of a Keller Williams The Trembley Group Real Estate Professional become invaluable in this situation. House sellers need to ask themselves, “If someone makes an offer on my home and needs a quick closing, where will I go?” Or the reverse, “What if my home doesn’t sell, will I lose the house that I’ve put under a contingency contract?”
This is a common dilemma many people face when trying to buy and sell simultaneously. As long as things are planned in advance, everything usually falls into place. Discuss the options and contingencies with a Keller Williams The Trembley Group Realtor to make sure all the bases are covered.
Selling For More Or Less?
There is no way to predict whether a home will sell for more or less if it sells outside of the holiday season. One argument says that because there are fewer houses for buyers to choose from, that a seller will receive offers closer to the asking price due to a less saturated market.
The flip side to that coin is sellers will also be dealing with less demand, since not as many people looking for homes. But those folks who are looking are serious buyers and likely have a compelling reason to buy.
There is plenty of research that suggests home sale prices are not connected to the seasons, so individual results will vary. In the current market, there is no reason why a home seller shouldn’t be able to sell a home for a reasonable price in any season.
This is especially true if a seller lists with an MLS Realtor that is familiar with selling homes during the holidays. Even in a strong real estate market like Myrtle Beach, it’s always best to consult with an expert Keller Williams The Trembley Group Real Estate Professional who will offer the best advice possible on whether it is best to sell a particular home during the holidays or if waiting until spring is best.
Ultimately, whether the decision to sell a home during the holidays or wait until spring or summer depends on a homeowner’s personal circumstances.
The Bottom Line
Nobody wants their house to languish on the market nor do they want to have to lower the price to the bargain basement. And while many home sellers fear that will happen if they list during the holidays, that isn’t always the case. When a house is sold during the holidays, it will face less competition, it will have more serious buyers, and likely close quicker. It also presents a unique marketing opportunity to create a warm and cozy environment that’s not available in the spring or summer months.
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At Keller Williams The Trembley Group, we pride ourselves on being the experts at more than just selling real estate. We are local residents, some of us have been here for a lifetime. The rest of us will be here until the end of time. We love living, working, and playing in the diverse backyard of Coastal Carolina, and look forward to helping you live and love your dreams soon too. Please reach out to us by phone or email for personalized 6-star service and one-on-one advice.