Forget about sparklers, hotdogs, and blurry Instagram fireworks photos. This year, celebrate Independence Day with the ultimate American dream—selling your house for a big pile of cash.
It might seem like a holiday weekend would be the last time to attract buyers. But our data says otherwise.
Since 2016, we’ve seen a 17% increase in homes sold over July Fourth.
Additionally, more sellers are making a splash over the holiday weekend year over year. 20% more homes went on the market on July Fourth last year, as compared to 2016.
The moral is that you might find the long weekend to be a prime time to sell a home, as real estate activity could hold steady and even pick up during this time. But every area is different. If your city will be a ghost town, for example, then you might think twice about listing over the holiday.
To get the full picture, we chatted up top real estate agents from different regions and markets across the U.S. Here’s what they recommend sellers do for this upcoming Fourth of July weekend to give their house the best chances at attracting an offer (or five!)
Take advantage of the extra long weekend this year
Some public holidays have the luxury of always being tacked onto the weekend (Memorial Day is the last Monday of May, and Labor Day is the first Monday of September).
But the Fourth of July rotates every year. In 2017, it fell on a Tuesday; in 2018, it was on a Wednesday. Both random mid-week days are not ideal for people who want to turn this one-day celebration into a longer stretch of time off.
Fourth of July falls on a Thursday this year, which means many people will take off Friday to extend the holiday into a glorious four-day weekend.
That frees up more time for people to relax, but also to get out there and look at homes. Open houses over the weekend will likely attract motivated buyers (if a couple skipped the sunset boat cruise to house hunt, they’re serious). But there’s also potential to bring in a casual crowd and any kind of foot traffic is your friend.
Boston-area based marketing professional Paige Arnof-Fenn and her husband weren’t actively looking to buy a home when they stumbled on an open house in their neighborhood during July Fourth weekend.
“When we walked through the gate, my husband and I realized it was our favorite home in our neighborhood,” Arnof-Fenn told HomeLight. “When we got inside, we saw it had been on the market for months and they had just lowered the price. We walked two blocks to our rental and wrote a check as a deposit to make an offer.”
They closed on the property three weeks later.
3 signs your market is ideal for a Fourth of July sale
Still not sure if a holiday listing is a good idea? Consider these tell-tale indicators for your individual market:
1. You’re in a strong market for second-home shoppers
The Fourth kicks off a month of peak vacation season for Americans—last year, July 8 was the busiest airline day of the year. If you’re selling a property in a weekend getaway spot, you can guarantee the holiday will be a perfect time to showcase your home to out of town buyers.
“We are inundated with thousands of additional visitors during that time of year, especially that weekend,” says top 1% Seaford, Delaware agent Dustin Parker, who actively sells both inland and coastal properties. “Depending on the area that people are looking to be in, it can be good if you’re looking to sell because there’s going to be additional exposure during that time frame.”
However, the influx of people can also make it harder to get around town, so you need to think over the logistics and timing of any showing appointments or open house events.
“It can be a challenge because the roads are going to be jam-packed with traffic,” says Parker. “It’s going to be difficult to move from place to place.”
He suggests scheduling your open house around the same time as others in the area, so potential buyers don’t have to brave the traffic more than once. In his experience, midday open houses draw the largest crowds, without the stress of morning or evening traffic.
It might seem counterintuitive to try and compete with other houses on the block at the same time, but in reality multiple nearby open houses attracts attention. Check online to see if there are any open houses already set for the holiday weekend in your neighborhood, then book yours accordingly.
2. You live in a great school district
If you’re a parent trying to move your family before the new school year, July Fourth isn’t a restful holiday. According to Moving Labor, peak moving (which they label as “pandemonium”) begins in early July and continues on through August and into September.
Busy families who plan to relocate might be using the time off to search for a home. Facing a time crunch before the new school year, they’ll be motivated buyers.
“July is usually pretty good for families buying homes,” explains Susan Melnick, who’s sold 83% more home in the Dallas area than the average agent. “August is going to be slower because it’s right before the kids go back to school. And then by September, it slows down. So really, for a seller to get top dollar, it’s going to most likely be made in June or July.”
In that case your house that’s smack dab in the middle of an A-plus school district could be a hot commodity.
3. Your town would appreciate a fantastic themed open house
If your neighborhood goes big for the Fourth of July—think parades, fireworks, and decorations—then consider capitalizing on the crowds with an open house. The warm weather and activities will draw people out, and a decorated home advertising an open house could pull potential buyers to your property.
You might even use the holiday as an excuse to highlight features of your property for an original open house.
Have an amazing view? Consider an offbeat evening open house where visitors could watch the fireworks. Proud of your sprawling patio? Invite buyers to enjoy the space with the lure of some cold refreshments.
Festive activities for your open house can also tie into any events happening around the neighborhood and give potential buyers a chance to check out the property without feeling like they’ve missed out on the holiday.
“My market is waterfront homes and we have a Fourth of July parade every year by water!” says Erwin. “It’s fun and attracts home buyers.”
Parker suggests a themed open house that highlights small businesses from the neighborhood for those who may be traveling from out of town.
“We’ll include or incorporate something from each of those places in the actual open house,” he says. “So if it’s a wine and cheese open house, we include wine from the specific winery of that town and some local cheeses and things to try to make it as local as possible.”
Follow this expert advice to pull off a holiday home sale
So you’re all in on a Fourth of July sale. You’ll need to treat it differently than an average weekday listing. Now’s the time to make the most of it with these expert selling tips:
Cut your price before the weekend
You’ll want to cut the price before the start of the July Fourth weekend, says Shawn Engel, a top agent in Aurora, Colorado agent who has over three decades of experience: “I’d say go ahead and do that because time is of the essence,” advises Engel.
But does that mean you’re going to get less for your house?
Parker echoes the same sentiment: “If we think for some reason that we’re going to get an influx of traffic or interest, we adjust the price prior to the weekend because we want to try to collect as many offers as we can during that peak time.”
A holiday price cut could be a one-way ticket to a bidding war that drives your home’s price up to the max.
Don’t wait until the holiday itself to list your home
The Fourth of July is becoming a more popular weekend for real estate, but it’s still no Memorial Day weekend (the hottest summer holiday for home sales, according to HomeLight’s data).
If you’re ready to list your home, you don’t have to wait for the Fourth itself to make a big splash, Parker says.
“I probably would recommend that they list just prior to that weekend,” Parker says. “That way we get a little bit a local exposure before all the vacation was coming to town.”
But if you’re not anticipating an influx of travelers over the weekend, don’t rush to put your home on the market before the holiday if it’s not ready, reasons Engel.
“Right now I’m telling people if you’re not going to put your house on immediately, it’s not ready to go, then at least wait until after the Fourth of July weekend.”
That’s because many people digitally check out over the Fourth to enjoy the outdoors or travel.
“It’s almost a five-to-seven day low in my algorithms as far as showing internet activity,” Engel explains.
Your listing going live online might fall on deaf ears while people are out of the office and off their computers.
Thinking of heading out of town? Take a cue from your agent.
While the data shows steady sales over the Fourth of July, this doesn’t hold true in every market. If you’re debating between traveling over the weekend, and staying home to prep for an open house, take a cue from your real estate agent—are they staying in town?
In Engel’s Denver-area market, sales flatten out over the holiday. “The past five years have been so slow on the Fourth of July weekend, I’m just going to spend some time with my family and, cut bait.”
If you’re on the fence, do as your agent does. If they’re out of town, you might as well be, too.
However, if you’re motivated to sell, stick around for the weekend
No matter their locale, all the agents we spoke to agreed on one thing: the market is unpredictable, especially around the holiday weekends.
“This year, most of my showings for in May were on Mother’s Day,” Melnick says in disbelief.
Factors like temperature, precipitation, or even an election year can change buyer behavior in your market. If you’re on a tight timeline to sell, it doesn’t hurt to stick around for the Fourth and see if there’s any interest.
Whether it’s a casual browser staying in town for the weekend or a motivated shopper visiting for 48 hours, someone could fall in love with your house.
And you just might end the weekend with an offer in hand.
Header Image Source: (Stephanie McCabe/ Unsplash)