No matter the anecdotal evidence, the hard numbers from real estate companies, or the ever-powerful wisdom offered freely on the internet, people seem set on believing that selling a home in December or January is a bad idea.
In reality, selling your home during the holidays can actually mean less competition with other homeowners for the same buyer pool, motivated buyers excited to start the new year fresh with a new home, and a pretty fun home-staging opportunity. There may be snow to shovel before home showings, but that’s actually good news for you if you’re looking to sell.
In fact, a Winter list date could be the best time to sell in your market. Read on for our top reasons why selling a home during the holidays is actually a great move for you.
1. A lack of inventory in winter means less competition.
This could be because sellers who’d been testing the waters but got no bites pull off the market, and the people considering selling in winter get cold feet and decide to wait until spring. That means that there’s a higher percentage of focus and consideration on your house. It’s a unique opportunity to sell in a hot market where competition between home sellers is usually pretty high.
2. Buyers are making New Years’ resolutions.
There’s no better time than New Years resolution season to leverage the inclination for change to your benefit. This is a prime way to advertise your home, too–think “What better way to start off the new year than with a gorgeous new house.”
3. The holidays create a unique and magnetic home staging opportunity.
There is a great deal of value in how you stage your home. According to a study by the Real Estate Staging Association, homes staged post-listing spent 73% less time on the market. Homes staged prior to listing sold 79% faster than homes staged sometime after listing. The right staging can make a potential buyer justify a price tag out of their budget or overlook the lack of a front hall closet. Staging the home before listing can even save you $2,122 in mortgage payments. But how to stage your home in a way that sells the image and the feeling?
Enter: holiday staging. Willoughby told us, “The homes are decorated for the season… it’s a time when those people have those values can look at that and say ‘wow, this is really cool,” so it also creates a staging opportunity that isn’t there the rest of the year.”
Holiday decor can potentially make an otherwise plain-looking house suddenly look like a catch. It has the ability to instantly fill a typically empty-feeling room with a welcoming, full energy. It can make a new and strange space feel familiar to people who’re stepping foot inside it for the very first time.
It appeals to their nostalgia, and their desire for the feeling of living there—just as much as the view. People see a home that matches their values. They fall in love with a lifestyle they want to adopt as their own. Plus, it stimulates imagination. Potential buyers have a chance to see firsthand, “Wow, if they did this, imagine what we do with it?!” It’s a rare opportunity that comes around only once a year.
4. Even if you’re not ready to sell now, talking to an agent early preps you for a spring sale.
Even if you’re not ready to list your home as early as January, that can play to your advantage, too. If you chat with a real estate agent now, she can tell you exactly what you need to upgrade and fix in your house to get it ready for sale. Since getting your home ready for sale can typically take a few months, you’ll be 100% ready to list (and be ahead of the curve) once Spring rolls around.
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5. A big portion of your prospective buyer pool is relatively mobile.
As Jaymes Willoughby told us, “60%–70% of home buyers do not have kids.” Translation? These buyers have no problem moving in the Winter. Young, childless couples move often. It is much less likely that settled families will move during the Winter because they’re working around a school calendar. And, according to the New York Times, 60% of people buying their first homes have no children.
According to the recent study by the National Association of Realtors, only 38% of the total homebuyers of 2017 had children under the age of 18, and the majority of home buyers are 36 years old or younger—making up a whopping 34%!
So childless people make up the majority of the moving market and most of them are on the younger side. In other words, they’re not limited to a certain season to move. In fact, they’re more likely to be swayed to move around the new year because they’re moving with an intention of starting their lives. They’re ready for a blank, clean slate come January!
Willoughby said, “Our market is made up in a large part single people or couples with no children, same sex couples or whatever… so these people are not working off of a school calendar.”
One caveat though: some types of homes that are bigger and therefore more expensive might not be conducive to sell over the holidays. Because bigger family moves tend to happen over the summer, then the chances of selling a larger house meant for larger full families are lower.
6. Low competition means that sales could move faster.
As Amber Faruqi told us, “January is a great time to sell to buyers. The serious buyers who are ready to come out don’t have as much competition…When you start to show up and present offers in January, there’s a good chance that you’ll get them accepted and get them into contract.”
Home-buying and selling is one arena in which you always want to win. So give yourself your best shot at victory by playing the game when so many others throw in the towel.
If The Best Time to Sell for You Is Now, Then It’s the Right Time
‘Tis the season for home selling. Listing your home during the holiday season—when so many others take a step back instead—does nothing but put you ahead of the curve.