The holiday season typically invites charming images of families huddled together in the most commonly used rooms of a home. Picture your whole family in the living room, snuggled up around a warm fire. Imagine your loved ones in the kitchen, helping to create your annual holiday feast. The holidays are a time when people typically want to feel settled in their homes; for this reason, the last two months of the year are traditionally looked at as a bad time to list a property, and fewer properties come to market during the holiday season.
Why is this?
Most sellers don’t want to deal with strangers trudging through their homes during the holiday season. Most buyers want to be settled by the holidays and not spend them dealing with the hassles of moving. The holidays traditionally viewed as a time to relax with your own loved ones – not to stress about someone else’s home. You want your own decorations, your own traditions, and to relax with your own family – not to watch other families trekking through your home.
For this reason, there are typically less listings on the market in the final months of the year. According to statistics from UrbanDigs.com (see chart below). August and September has been consistently the lowest level of listings while we see it spike back up in October.
So Why Not Wait Until the New Year to List?
There is something important to know about this time of year. People who have their home on the market between Thanksgiving and Christmas are viewed as being serious about selling. The same goes for buyers. Anyone who is taking time out of their holiday shopping schedule to go looking at properties is serious about making a purchase – which can be why the holidays can be the best time to enter into a real estate transaction.
But Didn’t You Say This is a Bad Time of Year to List?
It used to be assumed that if you were selling your home, you should wait until after the holidays. The idea was that people would be too busy to prioritize their home purchasing process between Thanksgiving and the new year. Thus, listing your home in the first few weeks of January would guarantee maximum traffic. Additionally, it was thought that you should wait to list your property until after some of the snow melted and more people would want to spend their time looking at open houses.
With technology, a lot of these views are outdated. Today’s modern buyer is always looking for a home. With apps on phones that allow buyers to constantly be searching, home purchasing is a 24-hour hobby. As Zillow points out, there is no longer the idea of “going off the grid.” People are working right up until the Christmas and are constantly on their phones – so why shouldn’t you throw your property into the mix?
People Who Buy and Sell During the Holidays Are Serious
Picture that you are in a situation where you have to move. You live in a one bedroom apartment and just discovered you’re having triplets. Maybe you’ve been relocated for your job and only have a month to find a place. Then, on the day you’re scheduled to see properties, temperatures suddenly drop to the coldest they’ve been all year. Are you going to suddenly cancel your appointments? Of course not! You have to move!
Think about this when you go to list your property. Maybe you’ll get less traffic, but serious buyers will do whatever it takes to secure a home. If someone shows up to your open house when it is seven degrees outside, they are serious. If someone comes to check out your home Christmas Week, they’re serious. Maybe you won’t have as much traffic at an open house in December as you will in May, but you’re likely to host a higher percentage of people who are truly interested in buying, as opposed to people who are spending time in the nice weather hitting up various open houses.
If you’re a Buyer, the Holidays May Give You an Edge
Some traditional brokers still believe that sellers should take their property off the market over the holidays – so if you leave your home up, that means you have less competition on the market. At a time of the year when people generally become lazy, leaving your home listed is surefire way to make it stand out and to reinforce to the public that you’re serious about selling.
On the buyer side, some buyers take a break from their home searches during the holidays to travel or to recharge before the new year. So this idea of having less competition also works out for buyers – only the very serious homebuyers will be looking at properties, and with less competition, they’re more likely to be able to snag a dream home. Additionally, extra-driven sellers may drop their prices to try and get a deal done before the New Year, leaving them as much as 5% undervalued. A Seattle-based agent stated that he sees prices drop between $3,000 and $12,000 during the holiday season.
And you might even get a little gift from the bank…
Believe it or not, interest rates might actually be lower for buyers surrounding the holidays! While interest rates fluctuate, they historically tend to be lower during the holidays. Due to less demand for homes, sometimes lenders are able to offer more favorable rates to help a purchase come to term during a slow season for them.
How do I truly know the best time to list or purchase a property?
You should talk to a real estate agent in your area. He or she can give you statistics about how similar homes have previously performed during the holiday months, as well as share how competitive your home will be when stacked up against what’s currently on the market. Depending on your situation, you might yourself in contract before the New Year. UpNest can help pair you with an agent who can adequately evaluate property for you.
Wait – what is UpNest and how can it help me?
UpNest is an online real estate company that connects homebuyers and home sellers with qualified realtors through their site. If you are looking to purchase a home, there is absolutely no fee to you for using UpNest. The site will connect you with a top realtor in your area and that realtor will receive payment from the seller. If you are selling your home, then you don’t owe anything to the realtor until your home has closed. A portion of the commission you would already pay becomes UpNest’s fee – and this is not paid until your home is sold and your new favorite realtor has done his or her job.
UpNest does the hard work for you by vetting agents and only endorses agents with experience. You can rest assured knowing that you’re connecting with someone who knows the market and will do whatever it takes to help you achieve your real estate goals. And since there’s no cost to you, why wouldn’t you try it out? Visit UpNest.com today and see for yourself what makes the site and its agents such a great resource!