We’re quickly moving into the heart of the holiday season. It’s always an interesting time for real estate pros. Many ascribe to the mantra that “nobody wants to sell their home during the holidays.”
But many agents see gold in the myth that “nobody wants to sell their home during the holidays.” These agents know that there can be huge upside to prospecting during November, and even December. They know that many of their competitors dismiss holiday-season prospecting as a waste of time, or something that might annoy the prospects on the other end of the phone.
Of course, in the year of Covid, things are even more interesting. With interest rates at historic lows, it will be hard to predict what level of activity we might see to close the year. But if September is any indication (Seasonally-adjusted home sales +32% vs. YAG), we could be in for a very strong market during the holidays.
Still, many of the “not-during-the-holiday” beliefs might persist. So, in this post, we’re going to review the compelling reasons why the holiday season may be a great time for homeowners to list-and an ideal time for you to fire up Vulcan 7 to get your holiday prospecting game in gear.
- Serious buyers: while spring is usually “the season” for real estate, it’s also a time that attracts a lot of casual lookers/buyers and would-be sellers. But during the holidays, if someone is taking the time and energy to look for a home, it’s a safe bet they are serious, and have a sense of urgency.
- Higher prices: under normal circumstances, inventory is generally low during this time of year, as many potential sellers choose to focus on the holidays. Again, we aren’t under normal circumstances this year, so holiday inventory might be tighter, especially in certain areas. Tighter inventory, of course, yields more competition and higher asking prices for sellers.
- Deck the halls: Decorate the tree, light the fireplace, bake a batch of sugar cookies-houses show better during the holidays. They feel warmer, and more inviting, allowing buyers to imagine themselves in front of that same fire next Christmas.
- Holiday curb appeal: Before a buyer steps through the front door they’ll likely drive the neighborhood. The lights, and decorations will go a long way toward making a prospective buyer feel good about the neighborhood.
- Relaxation: In general, buyers have more flexibility to look for a new home during the holidays. Which means, they’ll be more relaxed, and likely more responsive to what they see.
- Economics: Buyers can deduct the mortgage interest, property taxes, and interest if the sale closes on or before December 31st. In some cases, the tax deductions can be significant-prompting a buyer to move early, and with some urgency.
- Career mobility: End of year is often when people learn about a job transfer or make the decision to change jobs. Either way, those people will need to a home, sooner instead of later. Those potential buyers come into the process with a heightened sense of urgency, which puts the seller in a much stronger negotiating place.
- Flexibility: Unless a buyer has true urgency to move in immediately, sellers may enjoy the flexibility to sell at a higher price this year, but negotiate a delayed closing, or extended occupancy to next year. Which means, of course, they don’t have to worry about the hassle of moving during the holidays.
- Sell high, buy low: By selling now, a homeowner may have the opportunity to enter the new year as a highly attractive, non-contingency buyer. With more inventory selling for less, non-contingency buyers come into the markets with a strong negotiating position.
Again, if you’ve typically laid low during the holiday season, you may want to reconsider in 2020. Less competition and lower interest rates make this the ideal time to turn up the volume on your prospecting efforts.