The holidays are a busy and emotional rollercoaster for the majority of American families. Parties, school and religious events, shopping—there is a lot to do. And since the modern holiday season is so full-throttle in this country, multiple areas of the economy find themselves greatly affected by the time and money constraints of the average consumer. The real estate industry is no different. The decision of whether or not to list or to buy in December or early January correlates directly with the holidays.
Traditionally, the market has been slow during the holiday months. Prior to the Internet, families did not have time to be running around looking for homes when their schedules were already packed with holiday obligations. Now that the Internet has taken hold of the real estate industry, consumers are constantly online searching for new properties, comparing stats, and checking in with their realtors. While the inventory is still lower during the holidays, more people are willing to list their properties in December or right after the first of the year knowing that with fewer houses on the market, theirs will stand out in the smaller crowd.
The holidays can be used to leverage an advantage for both buyers and sellers, but it will take a lot of thought on your part to know which advice is best for your client. So what is the best way to advise your buyers or your sellers during the holidays? Consider these elements.
What does a good holiday buyer look like? Holiday buyers are often highly motivated. They are the ones constantly checking their phones for new listings. They may be emotionally motivated to buy, feeling as if buying a property before the year is out is a goal. Or they may have a down payment ready that has been gifted to them or put together after an end of the year bonus from work. End of the year buyers may also be hoping to find a deal, or a seller willing to make concessions in order to sell quickly. You may find that end of the year buyers do not mind finding time during their busy holiday schedules to look at properties.
Holiday sellers may have different motivations than holiday buyers. They may be in a position that is pushing them to sell quickly, such as job relocation or end of year tax benefit. . If your seller is willing to list in December or January, suggest they take these steps to beat the busy schedules and cold weather to help sell their home quickly:
- Dress up for the holidays, but not too much. Subtle and classy holiday touches can make a home feel inviting and special.
- Ambiance is right behind décor. Up the thermostat and give the home a nice holiday aroma with a subtle cinnamon, vanilla or pine. If they have a fireplace, make sure that is roaring when a buyer comes to view the home.
- Targeted marketing during the holidays can make all the difference. Make sure military personnel, university staff, and college students have access to their listing.
- Curb appeal will need to be top priority. Clear off ice, snow and dead leaves from steps and walkways, and clean out gutters. Yards and gardens do not typically look their best in the winter months. Suggest your sellers dress up the front door and tidy the yard as best they can.
- Great photos will go a long way in reaching the motivated buyers who are constantly checking their phones for listings. Even sharing picture of the yard in summer months can help paint a visual for buyers of what’s to come.
- Video tours are great for buyers who might not be able to get out in the nasty winter weather as quickly as possible.
There isn’t a hard and fast rule of thumb when it comes to buying or selling during the holidays anymore. It’s still a little unconventional, but the choice ultimately rests with your client and their unique needs.