Holiday Home Selling – Yea or Nay?

iStock-821973538-1024x632.jpg

To sell or not to sell my home during the holidays? That is the question…. Sellers ask this time and again as we approach the holiday season, which traditionally begins in the real estate business at Thanksgiving and continues into the New Year. Specifically the question is, “Should I keep my home on the market during the holidays?” And the answer varies depending on the scenario.

But before all that, a few quick perspectives…. First, as I like to say, home buying and selling happens every day throughout the year. That being said, late November and December are typically the slowest months in real estate. And what I mean by slowest is that activity is at its nadir. There are fewer showings and fewer new and pending listings not to mention that the inventory is at its lowest. And this reduction in supply and demand happens on both sides of the table – for the sellers and for the buyers. And it usually goes like this…. The holidays begin to kick into gear, and the general public, i.e., buyers, gets focused on holiday parties, shopping, gift giving, cookie exchanges, school concerts, interior and exterior decorations, holiday cards and on and on. In other words, potential buyers aren’t focused on the real estate market and buying a house. Given this and given their own time and energy dedicated to holiday tasks and happenings, sellers generally decide to rest their homes from the market. This usually results in peace of mind for them as they don’t have to worry about preparing the house for showings when guests are staying with them, for example, and when holiday decorating is in high gear and causing some chaos to the look of the house. In essence during the holidays, buyers are just plain not as focused on buying, and sellers are not as focused on selling.

Of course even during the holidays, there are still some buyers buying and some sellers selling, and they serve as the exceptions to the above “rules.” On the buy side, the buyers who are looking at this time usually need to buy ASAP. Often they are relocating to the area and trying to buy a home and get their children into school for the New Year. There also may be some local buyers who feel that they may be able to get a better deal at this time of the year, especially from those sellers whose homes are still on the market and need to sell immediately. And there are also buyers who have just received year-end bonuses helping finance their home purchases.

On the sell side, there are two instances when keeping your home on the market is beneficial – one is financial and the other is a matter of convenience. First, if you have bought another house and are living elsewhere (so you are carrying two homes), you might not have a choice about whether to rest your home from the market. You need to sell it as soon as humanly possible to end your financially compromised situation. The other sellers, who may decide to keep their homes on the market during the holidays, are those who live elsewhere, and thus showings are not a nuisance given all of the holiday occurrences. For these sellers, why not keep your house on the market? Showings are not an inconvenience, and it just might happen that the perfect buyer is looking in mid-late December – perhaps one who just received his/her year-end bonus?!

The downside to keeping your house on the market as a seller is the continued accrual of days on the market. Is this something you want to do when the market and buyer activity is at its quietest? Furthermore the longer your house remains on the market, the less “fresh” and more “stale” it becomes. My recommendation for sellers is that if you can financially afford to rest your house for some time during the holidays, it’s a positive thing to do.

What are your thoughts? Have you had to make this decision before? And if so, what did you decide to do and why? I can’t wait to hear….

For more information on this or about the real estate market in Weston, Wellesley, Wayland and the surrounding towns or if you are considering selling your home, please contact me, Lisa Curlett (www.lisacurlett.com, 781-267-2844 or lisa.curlett@compass.com), to answer any questions or for a complimentary home appraisal.