Guest Blog Post by Cara Ameer
On the holiday to do list – decorating, shopping, cooking, baking, parties, and oh yeah, buying or selling a home? Really? Conventional real estate wisdom has often advised buyers and sellers that once Thanksgiving arrives, they might as well hunker down and wait until next year before dealing with anything related to real estate.
If you are truly serious about moving, contrary to popular belief, the holidays may actually be an ideal time for buying and selling. The end of year can be a time of change and typically when many people make moves for job related reasons or elective relocations for change in lifestyle, pursuing different career interests, retirement, etc.
1. Less Competition
The amount of properties for sale and actual buyers tends to dwindle this time of year. However, of those that are out there, they tend to be truly serious and motivated, so quality vs. quantity. As a seller, this means it’s a great time to have your home stand out and capture attention, particularly in the low inventory climate that many real estate markets are experiencing. A new listing will most likely gain immediate interest from the most serious of buyers that have been looking and exhausted all available options. In addition, those buyers that have been renting with leases ending towards the end of January or February can be motivated to spring into action. Less properties on the market may mean the ability to command top dollar now. If the buyer waits until next year before making a decision, the house could be gone as there could be more people vying for it.
2. More Motivation
Around this time of year, the holiday mood can elevate everyone’s spirits and may make negotiating a bit easier. Sellers can become a bit more flexible with their pricing as getting the home under contract before the end of the year can often be a goal, particularly if the home has been on the market for awhile. This time of year is often when you start to see some price reductions happening and incentives offered, such as paying closing costs. As a buyer, you may just get a nice surprise thrown in, like that furniture you wanted to ask for, or you can get creative and propose a concession that you would like the seller to consider – keep in mind terms and conditions with your loan may apply.
3. Buyers Never Stop Looking Online
The holidays themselves and cold weather days typically mean very heavy traffic on real estate websites. After everyone has done their celebrating and is just hanging out, they are often on their new laptops, tablets, mobile phones, etc., looking up what else – real estate!
4. Networking Opportunities
This time of year is one of networking, renewing friendships and establishing relationships with existing and new people. What better time with all the holiday gatherings and events that you are attending than to spread the word about your home for sale or if you are in the market to find something else to buy? Between all of the events that both you and your agent are going to, that’s a lot of people to tell about your move. A very easy topic to discuss at parties, no matter the season as people are always interested in real estate. Since many people may be making plans in the new year to move or transfer, you just never know who may know someone who may know someone who is in the market to buy what you have.
5. Home already on the market or not selling?
Consider changing your price and shifting your strategy. Notice that I did not say reduce the price, but change it – as prices have increased in many areas of the country – want to make sure you pricing is in line with the competition and is at a number that gives it optimal positioning. Consult your agent on changes that will have the greatest impact in the shortest amount of time – now is the time to hone in on that buyer feedback and address it. Doing so will likely help capture attention of new buyers in the pipeline or perhaps re-engage those buyers that saw your home before but haven’t found anything yet.
Cara Ameer is with Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty in Pontre Vedra Beach, Florida
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