Autumn is here! The days are sunny and warm; the nights are crisp and cool. And winter is just around the corner.
Every year at least one potential seller in Covington, Kent, Maple Valley, or Renton asks me this question:
“Marti, I’m thinking about selling my home. What do you think about putting my house on the market during the holidays?”
This is such a great question! The majority of homeowners feel the holidays are a bad time to list their home.
I respectfully disagree! There are many misperceptions about listing homes over the holidays. Today I want to share the pros and cons from my point of view (and in a future post I’m going to give you my top ten tips for selling your home during the holidays).
Common Holiday Selling Misperceptions
#1 – No one buys homes over the holidays
I hear this all the time … and it’s simply not true! There are buyers searching for homes every day of the year.
#2 – Buyers will assume I’m desperate if I’m listing my home over the holidays. I’m worried about “low-ball” offers.
I’ve never found that the buyers I’ve represented assume that low-ball offers are appropriate simple because it’s the holiday season. If you’re agent is a skilled negotiator, they can easily deal with a low offer.
#3 – It’s inconvenient during the holidays to keep the house looking perfect.
I actually find that many homes really shine over the holidays, as homeowners decorate to celebrate the season. While it’s always the goal to have your home “show-ready”, the reality is that a buyer will probably cut you a bit of slack if your home looks less than perfect (they know exactly how busy the holidays can be, after all!). And who doesn’t love the look of a home dressed for the season of giving?
#4 – You don’t want to move right before or right after Christmas.
I understand! And guess what – most buyers don’t want that either! Your agent can negotiate mutually agreeable closing and occupancy dates.
#5 – Taking your home off the market in December allows it to return to the market as a fresh, new listing in January.
Not in the Seattle marketplace! Our local Multiple Listing Service doesn’t allow agents to manipulate listings in this way. If your home is currently listed and you want to hit the market as a new listing, it would have to be off the market a full 90 days or have a price reduction of at least 5%.
Here are some other things to think about when considering selling your home over the holidays.
#1 – Holiday buyers are serious buyers.
Buyers who are looking during the holiday season are highly motivated. It’s actually the time of year when you’ll have the fewest “lookie-lous” and tire-kickers.
#2 – You’ll be facing less competition.
There are simply not as many homes on the market over the holidays. And that allows your home to stand out! This is especially important if you have a “hard to sell home” – a home that may have drawbacks, defects, or a less than desirable location. Those homes drop to the bottom of the pile when the market is busier and may rise to the top during the holiday season.
During the holidays, you could be a big fish in the pond. Wait until spring, and you risk becoming a minnow in a school. Wouldn’t you rather have the market to yourself?
#3 – There’s no “season” to the internet.
Buyers no longer have to bundle up in parkas (or rainboots, here in the Pacific Northwest) to see homes. The advent of online marketing has blurred the edges of what is considered the prime selling season.
#4 – Timing could be on your side.
Many buyers are working against a deadline, whether that’s an expiring lease, the desire to start the new year in a new home, or a need to have children start in their new school after the holiday break.
#5 – Tax breaks for buyers.
The IRS loves homeowners and rewards them financially as a result. Typically, the following items can be deducted from income taxes:
- Mortgage interest
- PMI (private mortgage insurance) premiums
- Real estate “property” taxes
Depending on a buyer’s situation, these can add up to be substantial incentives. And of course, if you’re going to be buying a home after selling your current home, these advantages may apply to you as well (disclaimer – I am not an accountant and always suggest you consult with one prior to making decisions based on information such as this).
#6 – Time off.
Most people have more time off around the holidays. That translates into more time browsing their favorite home search apps, more time dreaming about their new home, and more time to turn those dreams into reality.
Are you rethinking the benefits of selling your home over the holiday season? Or are you still not sure?
Every homeowner’s situation is unique. I invite you to contact us so we can discuss your situation and create a plan that is tailored to perfectly meet your needs.