Looking to put a twist on your Fourth of July festivities this year? Here’s a crazy idea: skip the BBQ and get your home on the market, like, yesterday.
That’s according to top real estate professionals across the country, who say if you’re worried about buyer traffic being slow this week because of the holiday, don’t be.
The Fourth of July is actually one of the best times to put your home on display; we talked to real estate experts in different regions to find out why.
Parents Need to Get a Home Under Contract Before School Starts
It feels like summer just began (technically, it did), but before you know it, school will be ramping up again. In parents’ minds, the Fourth of July is a hard deadline on their home hunt. They need to snatch up a house in their preferred school district and get settled now. If you have a home in a desirable school district, you’re in a strong position to bring motivated parents to the table.
“People want to be in a home before school starts,” says Mary Lobos, a top real estate agent in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. “So if you’ve got a great house closer to one of the top schools, it’s much easier to … get that into the market and get it sold pretty quickly.”
Though the Fourth of July isn’t quite on par with the 15,211 home sales recorded on Memorial Day 2017, the Fourth rivals Labor Day in real estate market activity. In 2017, 7,233 homes sold on the Fourth of July; in 2016, 7,071 homes sold.
Buyers Who Skip the BBQ Are Serious About Making an Offer
A buyer who heads out in 10-degree weather, six-inches of snow, the middle of the holidays (or on the Fourth of July!) to look for homes means business, says Mike Cirillo, who ranks in the top 1% of real estate agents for selling homes in Philadelphia.
“You’re not going to be seeing tire kickers out there on the Fourth of July,” Cirillo explains. “They’re not out for a Sunday drive stopping by an open house to see what a neighbor is up to.”
Expect buyers who come to showings during the week of the Fourth to be ready to make an offer on the spot (if they like what they see).
Travelers on the Fourth of July Might Be Thinking About a Move
Listing your home Fourth of July week also sets you up to capture traffic from out-of-town buyers.
“There may be someone that’s decided, ‘Hey I want to toy with the idea of moving to Atlanta and being close to my grandkids; let’s go look at this house,’” says Sarah Stovall, a real estate agent ranking in the top 1% of agents in the Atlanta metro area. “And if [your home isn’t] on the market, you’re not going to be seen.”
The same is true for travelers thinking about buying a second home in their vacation town.
Kim Erwin, who ranks in the top 1% of agents in Corpus Christi, Texas, sees a lot of this in her market.
“We’re a strong second home market—about a three hour drive time on Padre Island, which puts you close to Austin,” says Erwin. “So we’re extremely busy around the holidays because people come down, buyers come down and they kind of fall in love with the area and they want to buy a property.”
Strike While the Housing Market is Hot
Though historically buyer traffic is slower on holidays in terms of sheer volume, Cirillo is seeing a lot motivated buyers in Philadelphia who are coming from a place of having multiple offers rejected. They’re as serious as it gets about finding a home, so whether it’s the week of the Fourth or not doesn’t make a difference.
“The holiday is kind of second fiddle to them right now,” says Cirillo. “I wouldn’t be waiting [to list]. You never know when the market could come to a screeching halt. Get it up, and get it up as soon as possible.”
Should You Decorate Your Home for the Fourth of July If You’re Selling It?
The answer may depend on where you’re located.
Stovall in Atlanta, for instance, says you should always remain in neutral territory for any holiday.
“I tell people, when they’re listed at Christmas time, if they’re going to decorate their house for their particular religion … we either a) need to slow the traffic down through that time period, or you just can’t put as much out, and if you do, just be respectful and responsible.”
The same applies to July Fourth in her market, says Stovall. You want to avoid decorating in any particular theme.
The opposite is the case for Erwin in Corpus Christi, a Texas city on the Gulf of Mexico with a military base. Erwin encourages her seller clients in the area to decorate tastefully. Many opt for putting out the American flag; patriotic banners; and red, white and blue lights, especially those homes lining the canal that will be on display for the Fourth of July boat parade.
“In my market niche it actually helps,” says Erwin. “It adds a lot to the ambience when you see the red, white and blue lights; the flag; the boats are all decorated.”
In other markets, buyers may have their eye so focused on the prize that your decor doesn’t matter. They’re only going to care about whether the home has good bones.
What About Hosting Open Houses During The Week of the Fourth?
Because the Fourth falls in the middle of the week this year, in some locations open house traffic could be dead after the holiday when people take their vacation time, but the ones who do come through might be more qualified than usual.
Cirillo says the market is so hot that buyers will be out regardless, so if you want to hold an open house this week, go for it.
If you decide to schedule one, feel free to play off the Fourth of July theme—if not with decor, then with your food selections.
Erwin expects Corpus Christi to be bustling and has several open houses planned for later in the week. She’ll be offering patriotic sugar cookies with frosting designs displaying the American flag, “God Bless America,” and fireworks. In the past she’s also handed out little patriotic American flags.
“America is founded on freedom of choice,” says Erwin. “And it’s like, you have the freedom of choice to buy whatever house you want. So why not celebrate it? Why not celebrate the American dream?”