Should I buy/sell a home during the holidays?

My favorite season is Winter! The day after Thanksgiving all the tire kickers and weekend lookers turn their attention to Black Friday and start decorating their home for the Holidays. But for someone who is serious about selling or buying a home, the decision should not be chanced on the flip of a coin. Buyers in the market will often tell their REALTOR, “let’s hold off until the New Year” and Sellers “can we wait to list our home until January?” So the question is, “Should I buy or sell a home during the Holidays?

I want to first start off by saying this, if you are unable to prepare your home before December 1st, it’s in your best interest to wait until January 1st. Enjoy another Holiday Season in your home, but make a New Year’s Resolution early in December to have your home ready by January. Buyers will be more interested and motivated to purchase at the beginning of a new year, then during the last 2 weeks of the year.

Now for those in the market, who are buying or selling before the holiday, you should plan on missing some Holiday Parties, if you don’t have a good strategy. This is because the 2 weeks before Thanksgiving and the 2 weeks after is your window of opportunity to write or accept an offer. Finding an Attorney, Lender, REALTOR, Buyer, & Seller who are all available for 1 hour before December 24th, can be very challenging depending on which day of the week Christmas and New Years Day fall on, banks will be closed and you can forget about squeezing it in before the new year.

As a seller, you must make sure your house is ready for prospective buyers at a drop of the hat and that your pictures and description showcase the best qualities of your home right from the start. This is extremely important, because upwards of 85% of all buyers start their search online, so they will see what your home looks like before scheduling an appointment to view it. Make sure your REALTOR is marketing the best aspects of your home, whether it’s online or in person, potential buyers are interested in know what you the owner love about this property.

Buyers who are shopping during the holidays, are typically very serious and motivated about purchasing a home. They are anxious to view new inventory as it becomes available, and their offers are very reasonable, as less time is available for negotiating an offer. Sellers should ask their Broker “if the inventory in our market is traditionally lower during the holidays, will I benefit by listing my property now, when there is less competition?”

Now most Brokers will tell you Real Estate is seasonal, and it is for the buyers and sellers whose move isn’t time sensitive. But with the advancement in technology of Smartphones,Tablets and “Real Estate Apps”, this may soon change our seasonal perception.

There are positives and negatives for both sellers and buyers during the holiday season, and every case is different. Make sure you discuss the impact of this process with your REALTOR, as all real estate is local.

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