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Why You Should (and Maybe Shouldn’t) List a Home During the Holidays

Spring and summer are generally known to be peak seasons to sell a home. The weather is nicer. There are more buyers. The days are longer. The real estate market is so heavily weighted toward the warmer months that many homeowners decide to take their listings off the market between Thanksgiving and New Year. It’s a reasonable decision, especially if you want to focus on your family during this time.

But the holidays offer some benefits too. The truth is that the modern real estate market is moving 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

In this article we’ll cover some of the pros and cons of selling during the holidays to help you make a smart decision on your listing.

Why You Should List Your Home During the Holidays

Motivated Buyers Are Always Looking

Buyers are always looking. It’s one of the realities of the real estate industry today. With instant access to thousands of listings online, it’s not uncommon to hear of buyers browsing listings on a tablet before bed or scrolling through their phone while waiting in line. This can present opportunities for sellers. If you have a competitive home, and you list it during the holidays, buyers will see it. There is no doubt about this.

If People Have to Move They Have to Move

There is always some segment of buyers that do not have the luxury of time. For personal or professional reasons many people are in the market for a home simply because they have to move. Choosing to wait until spring means you will forgo the opportunity to sell to these buyers.

Bonus Season

Ever wonder why there are so many luxury car advertisements during the holidays? It’s bonus season. This means some buyers will have more for a down payment.

Tax Reasons

The end of the year is also the end of a tax period. This may motivate some buyers to close a real estate transaction during the holidays simply so it does not count in the next tax year.

Less Competition from Other Sellers

Another advantage of the holidays is less competition from sellers. If you have a competitive property, its likely to stand out during this period simply because not as much is available.

It’s Costly to Wait

Finally, waiting has costs. This can be a direct cost, such as extra mortgage payments during the period. Or it can be an opportunity cost, such as a lost sale due to the decision not to list.

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Why You Shouldn’t List Your Home During the Holidays

Limited Appeal

The fall and winter is dark, so it’s not going to be easy getting that snappy photo from the curb. Also, the cold weather has a habit of exposing some of your home’s flaws. If the lighting is not great, buyers will notice. If your windows have a draft, buyers will notice. Generally, it’s very difficult to paper over a non-competitive home at this time of year.

Fewer Buyers

The holidays offer less seller competition. They also offer less buyer competition. This means it’s less likely you will get multiple bids on your home. Fewer bids also means less upward pressure on price.

Not a Great Time for Showings

Showings are a hassle. Now imagine showing while balancing family, cooking, gift wrapping and traveling. If you have a lot of holiday obligations, it may not be the best time to list your home.

Vacations

Finally, while you may want to keep your house on the market during the holidays, there’s no guarantee everyone else will be in the same boat. Even if you find buyers, their agent may take time off. You will have to work around your bank and home inspector’s vacation schedules too.

The decision to list during the holidays should be made on a case-by-case basis. There are plenty of upsides, but several downsides too. For more on selling your home, check out How to List a Home on the MLS? and How much do you pay to sell a house?

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