Conventional real estate wisdom used to be that timing the market was the key to listing your home for sale. Most home sellers tried to aim for the spring and early summer months to sell their homes. In fact, June continues to be when most settlements occur. However, selling strategies have changed over the last few years such that home sellers are confidently listing in the fall. Many also hold nothing back to sell during the winter months. But how about selling a home during the holiday season?
The holiday season is typically when the real estate industry slows to a crawl. But it does not mean that the housing market is closed! Consider that there were 658 Montgomery County MLS listed homes that went under contract since the beginning of November. This confirms that active home buyers are constantly searching for homes, and will certainly visit houses that are available during the holiday season. The only obstacle for home buyers (and your home sale) is severe weather.
If you have not yet listed your home for sale, you may consider waiting to list after Thanksgiving. Or you may just decide to wait until the new year. Your listing strategy should be based on your lifestyle. Although the holiday season is often synonymous with joy and good cheer, many experience increased stress during this time. If the holidays are a hectic time for you, the thought of the additional stress of selling your home may sway you to waiting the holidays out. Keep in mind that, like any other time of the year, you still have to prepare your home for sale (which includes decluttering, repairs and staging).
If your home is already listed for sale, you have some choices. It used to be the rule that if your home was still on the market approaching Thanksgiving that the listing would be pulled from the MLS until spring. And as of the Nov. 1, 181 county homes have been pulled off the MLS. You may decide to do the same.
But keeping your home on the market during the holiday season is no longer taboo. As I mentioned earlier, conventional wisdom is passé. Some home sellers see an opportunity to sell during the holiday season as many homes come of the market. Consider that since Nov. 1, there were 444 new MLS listings. There are also another 46 homes currently listed as “coming soon.”
Obviously, if your home is vacant it’s easy to show. However, you should still visit the home weekly to make sure it is clean and shows well. However, if you are selling the home where you reside during the holiday season, you may want to think about showings and staging. Talk to your agent about requiring home buyer appointments to view the home so you do not have inopportune surprise visitors. This will give you the flexibility and emotional space to have your home show its best while you enjoy the holidays.
What about holiday decorations? According to Melissa Dittmann Tracey, writing for the NAR blog (Should You Stage Homes for the Holidays?; nar.realtor; Dec. 19, 2011), most real estate professionals tell their clients to stage with “holiday-spirit and glow.” Although 28% of professionals indicated that they advised holiday staging without religious decorations, twenty-eight percent advised their clients to also include their religious decorations. Only 8% of professionals surveyed advised to do generic staging without any holiday decorations.
Dan Krell is a Realtor® with RE/MAX Platinum Realty in Bethesda, MD. You can access more information at www.DanKrell.com.