Keep It On? Take It Off?
Don't let the holidays give you a reason for taking your house off the market.
By the time you read this, Hanukkah will be over and Christmas is just around the corner. It's a crazy, busy season – in addition to doing everything that you have to do for your life on a daily basis, add in some heavy doses of shopping, sending out holiday cards, cooking (or ordering), visiting friends, celebrating, traveling and spending time with family and putting your house is on the market.
It's 5 p.m., you are preparing dinner and on minute 15 of Rachael Ray's 5-minute fudge, the dry cleaner is at the door with your dry cleaning , your living room looks like you are selling wrapping paper on the side, your kids and their friends are "decorating" the house, and then your phone rings. It's your real estate agent letting you know that you have a request for a showing – tomorrow morning at 9. Yoga breaths. Wash the fudge off your hands, hang up the dry cleaning. You can do this.
Selling during the holiday season is never easy, but doing anything worthwhile rarely is. However, here is the deal: If your house is on the market, it means that you are interested in selling it; if buyers are interested in looking at your house, they are interested in buying it – or someone else's house.
Buyers are just as busy during the holiday season. Taking the time out to look at homes means that they are serious. Buyers looking for the hobby of looking are not making appointments with their agent to see your house after work. Serious buyers are not using their vacation days to see your house if they aren't thinking about buying it.
I appreciate how busy you are, so I'll make this fairly succinct. Unless you are hosting your extended family for two weeks and your three kids are home from college with their friends, you can keep your house on the market without temporarily losing your sanity.
Reasons why you should SELL during the holidays:
- The law of supply and demand – this absolutely pertains to the winter market in real estate. The supply decreases. Demand remains the same. This means there are fewer choices for the buyers.
- It is an absolute myth that buyers aren't looking to buy during the holidays. Real estate does not take a day off. Buyers looking to buy during the holidays are serious buyers.
- The dominoes. Your buyer's condo in the city falls into the same category. They just sold - they need to buy. They have been virtually imagining themselves in your house since the fall. Dream houses are on the market year-round.
- Buyers are typically more emotional during the holiday season. If your house feels festive and warm, it is easier for the buyers to imagine themselves living there.
- January is the busiest job-transfer month. Many companies need to use their relocation budget by the end of the year. December is notoriously busy with relocating buyers who need to buy. They don't have the luxury of waiting it out until their "dream" house is on the market.
- Some buyers need to buy by the end of the year for tax purposes.
- Selling your house now does not mean moving right now. If you have an offer this week – closing would be some time in January or February. You don't have to pack one box until AFTER the holidays.
- It is OK to tell a buyer that you can't show your house on the date requested and provide another option. They are understanding of this reasonable request during the holiday season.
- January is a very popular time for sellers to put their houses on the market. If you accept an offer on your house in December with an end of January or February closing, you will have until mid-January to find a new house.
- Your buyers are shoppers. You are selling what they want to buy. Don't close the store when your buyers are shopping.
Enjoy this time of year. Enjoy your family and your friends and think about all of the wonderful things in store for you and your new home in 2011.