It’s cold outside, and truth be told, the winter real estate market tends to cool off quite a bit too. The winter months, and the holiday season in particular, are typically considered “soft” seasons for selling. But don’t shake and shiver at that chilly news! Slap on those sunglasses like it’s mid-July because there is a bright side!
December, especially the days leading up to the New Year (and that’s right now!), is when a small but motivated group of buyers may just warm the cockles of your heart with an offer. These buyers are in hot pursuit of a cool deal in a less competitive market.
People who are house hunting during the holidays aren’t doing it just for fun — they’ve got a reason. They may even have a deadline. Some hot-to-trot buyers may be relocating for work, as January is a popular month for job or military transfers. Perhaps they are investors with money burning a hole in their pockets and needing to be spent before a tax deadline. And if you’re in or near a college town, winter break is when many professors make a move.
No matter who they are, they’re sure to warm to a home that is priced right. Now is the time to heat up interest in your home for sale with a smart pricing strategy. Don’t start high, thinking you’ll drop the price gradually as time passes. There is no time for wheeling and dealing! Name your price, and do it now.
“I made an offer on my home the week before Christmas,” says a busy professional mother of two. “I had relocated to the area for work the year before and the lease on my rental was up in January. I made the decision to buy and made an offer within a week”
That buyer did get her home at a great price, but she also found herself in a bidding war with another full-price offer on the table. “The seller was smart and priced it right. There weren’t as many houses on the market, especially priced to sell like that one,” she says. “I happily paid a few thousand above asking price to avoid renewing that lease.”
Buyers also tend to have time on their hands during the holiday season, and with families together for the holidays, it’s actually a great time to go looking. It’s also a great time to buy, as all the people needed to wrap up the sale — lenders, inspectors, appraisers, and the like — are experiencing a winter cool down period of their own.
The holidays are stressful enough without having to think about staging and open houses, so if you’re not truly motivated to sell, it’s probably best to wait a few months. But if you absolutely have to sell, don’t be discouraged. A good agent can take the burden off of your shoulders, giving you more time to enjoy the season.
So with less inventory on the market and motivated buyers ready to with cold hard cash (or a mortgage pre-approval!), it’s time to turn up the heat on your property. Don’t slack off on staging and general cleanliness and keep your fingers crossed that the New Year will find you in new home.
Lara Taylor – Realtor/Broker
Twitter – @AskForLara