Why the Holidays Are a Good Time to Sell a House

Low inventory and serious buyers are two reasons—and year-end issues

 By DONNA FUSCALDO Updated Dec 8, 2020TABLE OF CONTENTS

When it comes to real estate, the ideal time to sell your home often falls in the spring months. After all, many people hunker down during the winter months or are too busy with the holidays to think about purchasing a new home. And don’t forget, people like to start shopping in the spring to make sure they are settled in their homes before the start of a new school year.

But what if you can’t wait until the weather warms up to get your house on the market? Should you consider putting your house up for sale around the holidays?

It may not seem like the most ideal time, but the holiday season does have its benefits—provided you position your home in just the right way. You might not get in the middle of a bidding war, but you are going to deal with serious buyers who are ready to close a deal. Here are six reasons why the holidays are a good time to sell a house.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Inventory is low during the holidays so, while you may not end up in a bidding war, you may be able to command a higher price.
  • Buyers tend to be more serious during the holidays.
  • You can make your house comfy and homey during the holidays, creating an emotional connection for buyers.
  • The holidays may be a time for potential buyers to consider job transfers and end-of-year tax breaks.

1. There’s Less Housing Inventory During Winter

Conventional wisdom says people should wait until the spring to get the most from a home sale. After all, inventory normally picks up in the spring as the weather gets warmer. This often leads to price wars breaking out in coveted neighborhoods. A home in a great area with a lot of potential buyers can sit on the market for just a few weeks or, in some cases, even days.

But that doesn’t mean people don’t look—or buy—at other times of the year. In fact, there are plenty of homes listed around the holidays that may command more money, even if the inventory is limited. If you play your cards right, you may even be able to sell your home quicker than the ones listed in the spring.

One reason is the lack of competition during the holidays. Many sellers don’t want to list their houses just before or during the holidays—some don’t want people tracking in snow and dirt during each showing, while others just want to enjoy the holidays as family time.

Whatever the reason, don’t discount the holidays. Serious buyers won’t have an endless list of homes from which to choose, so there’s more time for them to focus on yours. Furthermore, the limited range of options available to buyers means you may be able to command a higher asking price for your property.

If you do your research, stage your home properly, and price it right, you could attract the perfect buyer and be on your way out the door into a brand new home.

2. Winter Buyers Are More Serious

Most open houses take place during the spring and early summer. It isn’t unusual to see people saunter into a property without a clear plan to buy. People often check out homes just for the sake of looking. After all, hitting open houses is a favorite pastime for many Americans.

But if your house is up for sale in the winter and someone is looking at it, chances are that person is serious and ready to buy. Anyone shopping for a new home between Thanksgiving and New Year’s is likely going to be a serious buyer—they aren’t going to spend their precious time around the holidays seeing how the other half lives. Putting your home on the market at this time of year and attracting a serious buyer can often result in a quicker sale.

3. That Warm and Cozy Feeling

The holidays are often a time when people gather around fireplaces, drink hot chocolate, and bake cakes and cookies. Homeowners who put their houses up for sale during the winter months can stage their house to give off the comfy and homey vibe that appeals to many buyers.

Some people may argue that showing a house in the winter is hard to do because there’s snow on the ground, the house is drafty, and the curb appeal is lacking. But turning the heat up, having a yummy treat in the oven, and keeping the sidewalk and driveway clear of snow and ice can boost a home’s appeal.

Not to mention that buyers tend to be more emotional during the holidays and may be more likely to make decisions based on the feeling a house conjures up. During the spring, there is a lot more foot traffic in homes that are up for sale. Some buyers may not be able to do a thorough walk-through with so many distractions.

Hiring a reliable real estate agent can help bring more serious buyers to the table during the holidays.

4. Festive Neighborhoods Are Inviting

One of the staples of the holiday months is that many people adorn their homes with festive lights and decorations. That is also true of local communities where lit-up snowflakes and wreaths can be found on lampposts up and down the main streets.

People purchasing a home during that time may see the neighborhood in a different light—more festive and cheerful—and may be more willing to consider an area that they may have been on the fence about.

Again, this is all about tugging on the heartstrings. People who buy during this time of year may be more prone to emotional purchases, so it bodes well if there are plenty of triggers that can reel them in from an emotional standpoint.

5. Year-End Job Transfers

Another good reason is timing. The end of the year is typically the time when people get notified they will be moving because of a job transfer, or perhaps an offer comes through from another company that’s just too good to pass up.

Those people are going to need a home sooner rather than later and, as a result, they’ll be hunting for a new home during the holidays. These buyers can’t wait for spring, which is one reason why listing during the holidays can get the home sold—and sold quickly.

6. End-of-Year Tax Breaks

Reducing the property tax bill may not be the main reason buyers purchase a new home, but it could be why serious buyers make a move during the holidays. That’s because buyers can deduct the mortgage interest, property taxes, and interest costs of the loan if a sale closes on or before December 31. New tax laws limit the deduction, of course, but the tax benefits could still prompt a buyer to move during the holidays instead of waiting until spring.

The Bottom Line

Nobody wants their home to languish on the market nor do they want to have to lower their asking price. And while many fear that reality if they list their home during the holidays, this often isn’t the case.

When you sell your home during the holidays, you will face less competition, find more serious buyers, and may even be up for a quicker sales process. It also presents a unique opportunity to create a warm and cozy environment that you can’t present during the spring and summer months.

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