Selling your home during the holidays can seem daunting, a move most people would feel disinclined to make. However, standard trends, spanning possibly all of U.S. history, show that the spring and summer are typical for going on the market. Backed up by many credible reasons, it’s understandable why people have felt compelled to decide for decades.
This hasn’t stopped many brave hearts from setting up shop during winter. They would be leveraging the benefits of selling a house during the holidays. While it may be true that you won’t find your property at the center of a bidding war, you will be negotiating with more serious buyers.
If you haven’t got the patience to wait days or even months (and we don’t blame you for it) for the perfect moment to go on the market, then try selling your house for cash immediately.
1. Why Holidays Are the Best Time to Sell a House?
Holidays are the best time to sell a house because of less competition in the market, an influx of serious buyers, and, ultimately, a quicker sales process (from listing to closing). Plus, it serves as an excuse to adorn with more festive decor, an opportunity you wouldn’t have during spring and summertime.
Here are five reasons why the holidays are a good time to sell.
- Buyers are Serious
- Housing Inventory is Low
- End-of-Year Tax Breaks
- More Attention from Realtors
- Festive Time of Year
2. Pros and Cons of Selling Your Home During the Holidays
Like with all things in life, selling your property during the holidays comes with a good and bad side. While it is greatly reputed as a challenge to get a house sold during the holidays, an observer with a more optimistic lens might discover opportunity in the darkness of the winter months.
Lack of Competition
Limited Buyers in the Market
Additional Time for Showings
House Maintenance is Harder
A Readily available Real Estate Agent
Neighborhoods become more Enticing
Harder to Come by Real Estate Agents
– Lack of competition:
Many sellers believe that spring is the best time of year to go on the market. This leads to a lack of inventory during the winter months. Thus, serious buyers won’t have an endless list to choose from during these times, so they’ll likely focus on your offer. The limited options available would also allow you to demand a higher asking price for your house.
– Serious Buyers:
Most people buying during the holidays would have likely been forced to by their standing predicaments (i.e., a job change). These buyers would probably have little to no interest in the usual nitty-gritty of house hunting and would mainly be focused on closing a deal as soon as possible. This would help you get a quicker sale and enjoy the rest of your holidays.
– Additional time for showings:
Many people try to work their vacation days around Thanksgiving and Christmas to get more time in with their families and for other activities. This could work well for you if you utilize the time to maintain and stage the property more festively. It would also allow buyers to come for showings beyond the usual viewing times, as everyone’s got time to spare.
– A readily available real estate agent:
While it is true that there would be fewer of them working, the lack of inventory would mean that if you happen to find one, the agent would have more time to focus on your property and help you to get the best deal.
– Neighborhoods become more enticing:
The festive decor that the holiday season brings can shine your community in a new light for potential buyers who may have been on the fence about it. Due to the emotional reaction that the cheerful decoration can give off, they may decide to buy your house because of it, something that wouldn’t have happened during the summer.
– Limited buyers in the market:
Since more people eat turkey or spend time with loved ones, there won’t be as big of an audience for your home. This makes it all the more difficult as, chances are, your house will only meet the needs of some of the already few people in the market.
– Sub-par offers:
The offers you get will also differ from what you’re looking for. Most buyers during this season would be first-timers who need to learn more about the market. These people would likely try to lowball you for your house. Unlike the springtime, you won’t be able to pit multiple bids against each other to inflate the overall selling price.
– House maintenance is harder:
Not everyone is ready for a showing during the holidays at a moment’s notice. With all the other festivities to take care of, it’s hard to keep a house in tip-top shape at all times. Curb appeal, too, gets harder as it’s difficult to show off a home’s exterior during the dark winter months. Add to that the fact that home flaws become more apparent during winters, such as leaks or dark spaces, and you’ve got a tough sell on your hands.
– Finance delays:
Due to the way people schedule their vacation days and bank holidays, it takes more work for prospective buyers to get their loans and mortgages finalized during this time.
– Harder to come by real estate agents:
Seeing as this is the holiday season, a lot of the agents on the market would be, well, on holiday. Much like the sellers during this period, the real estate agents also kick back and relax as the market moves to its annual slowdown. Along with them, other real estate professionals would also be harder to connect with.
3. House Market Trends During The Holidays
As per Fred Economic Data, the annual occurrence anyone who looks at their graph can see is that during the winter, home sales decline. It checks out, considering that many people are busy traveling home to their families and getting ready for the holidays during these later months. As the day progress, priorities shift, and no one actively looks for a house to buy. Inevitably, sales decline.
A lot of the real estate agents, undoubtedly aware of the trend, can either decide to move with the flow of the market or work against its currents. It should be noted that, generally, most agents choose to simmer down with the market.
If you choose to sell in the winter months, know that you will undoubtedly face a buyer’s market. A buyer’s market occurs when there are more homes for sale than buyers in the area. This means you must remember that you will be getting fewer offers on your home than at other times of the year. The offers may also be lower than what you’d expect.
Another thing worth pointing out is that the U.S. is a very diverse place with a whole range of people who follow different religions and races. As such, while it is true that Christmas is the most largely celebrated winter holiday, there are numerous others you need to be wary of when decorating. To be a considerate and respectful seller when engaging buyers, learn about the different holidays and traditions. It’ll help you decorate more appropriately and be more mindful when conversing.
4. Staging Tips For Selling Your Home During The Holidays
If you’re all decided on selling your house during the holidays, then, as per usual, the staging process can begin. The holidays are a tricky time for staging. Some would suggest going all out on the festive décor, while others advise against using any. Each side has its reasons, but to be sure not to ward off potential buyers, most experts recommend a stage set somewhere in the middle.
You would want to stay moderate with the Christmas lights as you’d like to help the prospective buyer envision the house with their furniture and belongings in it. Overly adorning the house can make it distracting and difficult for buyers to picture themselves moving in. However, on the other hand, you want to avoid ending up not using any of your Christmas lights. The Christmas spirit can create a sense of belonging, making the buyer feel welcomed. If nothing else, the emotions will sell the house for you.
So what can you do to stage your home, more fittingly, during the holidays?
As with any other time of year, your go-to should be to start by decluttering. You may be one of those people who keeps their house in tip-top shape at all times, and you would still need to declutter. While your home may be perfectly set up for everyday life, it must be adapted for the market. You should start your reduction process by clearing things on ground level, such as moving furniture that may be blocking foot traffic.
Thin out bookshelves, remove all personal photos and clear up any signs of pets. You’ll also want to make necessary repairs during this step, along with adding a fresh coat of paint to the walls. Remember, decluttering aims to make the viewer feel welcomed and help them easily picture themselves moving in.
Complement the Color Palette
If you’re done neutralizing your home’s color palette during the decluttering stage, move on to add a bit of flair with some slight accents.
If your chosen color doesn’t match the festive colors of red and green, don’t force it to. Don’t add red and green decor just to make it feel Christmas-y. Instead, go for other ornaments that match your chosen accent color. Or you can ditch that for some neutral decor colors, such as white or gold.
Don’t Get Too Creative
Plain and simple would always be the way to go when staging a house for buyers, and the holidays are no exception. While the festive decor might make you all cheery inside, within the comfort of your own home, it’s best not to think of it in that light when the property is on the market. Look at it more as a product you are prepping up for sale.
Avoid prepping the house with any religious affiliated decor that could upset specific customers. Instead, opt for elegant decor that’s easy on the eyes and has an unpronounced presence.
Emphasize the Positives
Like you’d do any other time of year, use your decor to emphasize the highlights of your house. However, during these times, you can also add a bit of Christmas flair to it. If you have a fireplace, hang some stockings off the mantle. If your living space has a high ceiling, make use of it by placing a taller tree in there. Accentuate the front of your house by bringing attention to the landscaping.
Once again, it’s important to remember to not go overboard with any decorations but to keep it light and simple. You could add a wreath to your front door, some garland on your mailbox, and maybe use a few festive lights to make it brighter on dark winter nights.
5. Is Christmas a Good Time To Sell Your House?
There are a number of positives to listing your house during Christmas time. As we’ve previously discussed, the number of houses for sale significantly declined during this period. This does wonders for your property, as you face less competition while increasing it among potential buyers. If you happen to live in a more coveted neighborhood with more competition, you could get buyers who might offer you a larger sum than your original asking price.
Another benefit to selling your home during the holidays is that you know that the buyers you do get are serious about buying and closing on your property, granted the shoe fits their needs. You could be looking at a faster sale than you’d get during other times of the year. Most buyers during this period will solemnly admit they are trying to close before the new year begins for reasons ranging from year-end job transfers to End-of-year tax breaks. Whatever their motives, you could be looking at a quick and seamless cash grab.
It’s not all rainbows and sunshine, however. During Christmas time, many people tend to go on holiday to spend time with their family. As a result, you may be less likely to get as many buyers as you would during other times of the year. Factoring into the ‘people going on holiday is that it includes real estate agents. This means finding a quality agent who could sell your house for a good profit would be harder to come across.
Tips For Selling Your Home During Christmas
No one wants to be a scrooge, but if you want to sell a home during the holidays, you have to be careful about spreading holiday cheer throughout the house. This is not to say you absolutely cannot decorate for Christmas; lights and merry colors can make a home feel warm and inviting to buyers. However, too much mirth can crowd and even disorient buyers when they try to imagine themselves in the house.
Here are some ways you can decorate your home for the holidays without jeopardizing your chances of selling.
– Keep it secular
You can have the manger scene, a menorah, or kinara out for personal celebrations, but be aware that a buyer may have different beliefs. For this reason, we recommend you put such symbols away during showings. We understand that it can be sensitive for you as well, and the choice to put these decorations out of sight is optional; however, consider the urgency to sell your home when making your decision.
– Depersonalize decorations
To help buyers envision themselves in your home, avoid putting out greeting cards, family photos, and family-sentiment items like “Best Grandma” tree ornaments. Your home will soon be someone else’s home, and putting out these personal tokens can upstage the buyer’s vision of them living there.
– Appreciate classic decorations
A simply decorated Christmas tree, a holly wreath on the front door, or a mantelpiece with ivy and candles are all elegant accents that pleasantly warm the home atmosphere but do not distract or overwhelm buyers.
– Avoid too many lights
Opt-out of colorful, flashing lights on the front lawn, and nix the inflatable Santa, snowmen, and reindeer. Too much merry can be tacky when selling a home. Instead, simple white string lighting can highlight the home’s architecture and draw eyes to attractive greenery.
– Match the colors
Make sure your decorations match the color scheme of your rooms. If the living room walls are a soothing blue, choose snowflakes and silver accents over clashing reds. If the dining room has an earthy tone, put out forest greens and golds. Contrasting colors disorient and put off the buyer’s mind.
– Clear the stage
Staging a home is a delicate practice, and if rooms are already cluttered, adding Christmas ornaments will not improve the look and feel of a space. Look at showcase examples, model home photos, and clean up your home. Once the room is clear of distractions, you can add delightful holiday accents to cheer up these spaces.
6. Is Thanksgiving a Good Time To Sell Your House?
Thanksgiving time has numerous benefits for those looking to sell their property. The very first thing you’d start to notice when you put your house up on the market during Thanksgiving time is that the buyers are highly motivated to get a house.
They don’t come with the same reasons that springtime buyers have to buy houses, like wanting to move in before the start of a school year. Their needs are more urgent, along the lines of a job change or anything else that comes with time constraints. They wouldn’t mind the barriers of house hunting during the winter months and would be more focused on finding something that works and sealing the deal. If you find the right buyer, you could end up closing in a matter of days, leaving you with more time to enjoy turkey with the family.
Another benefit to reap during thanksgiving time is that, because most people take their house off the market towards the end of the year, there’s less competition. The serious buyers we mentioned earlier have a limited pool of options to go to, meaning there’s a high chance your house might just be the one. If that happens, you could be looking at a good offer with a quick overall sale.
Tips For Selling Your Home During Thanksgiving
Here is what you can do to improve your chances of selling around Turkey Day.
– Avoid Clutter and Keep the House Clean
When buyers visit, they want to picture themselves living in the house. Too many belongings disrupt their vision and limit the perceived size of rooms and the house overall.
Family visiting during Thanksgiving can add to the clutter. Encourage your relatives to keep spaces clean, and consider hiring professional cleaning services to tidy up before showings. You can also move your own belongings (that you can spare) into storage.
– Price Property to Sell
The right price makes buyers merry, or in this case thankful. Your real estate agent should recommend a good price, based on your property’s current condition, age, issues, and comps in the area.
If you do not have a realtor, you can still price the property yourself by:
- Pulling comparable listings;
- Researching the market; and
- Getting an inspection and deducting repairs
If you need to sell fast, lowering your price may be necessary.
– Spruce Up House Listing
More people are searching for houses online, so make your listing attractive and word it properly. Any photos you show should be during the warmer seasons, when curb appeal is at its best. Be sure to also stage the interior for photos.
– Do Not Go Overboard on Decorations
While it’s fine to get in the spirit of the holiday, you never want to over decorate. Decorations are distracting and can clutter spaces. Focus instead on creating a warm atmosphere that encourages buyers to envision themselves celebrating the holidays in the house.
– Send Family Out During Showings
There’s nothing more distracting than a bunch of bodies, making noise and being disruptive. The best thing you can do is let your realtor handle showings, while you and your family go out.
Should you not have a realtor, though, you can show the house yourself. Treat your family to tickets to a museum, movie, or something else entertaining, while you host an open house.
If it’s easier, consider putting your family up in a hotel, so the house is free of bodies and messes at all times.
– Enjoy Your Thanksgiving
Do not stress out about selling your house on Thanksgiving Day. Buyers will not be shopping then, nor is it likely that they’ll be searching on Black Friday. So enjoy your Turkey Day with your family.
The holiday is also a good time to relax and recover before you start hosting open houses again or continue with buyer negotiations.
7. Final Thoughts
If you are short on time and want to enjoy the holidays, consider selling your home for cash to an investor. Most investors will make a cash offer on a property as-is, be it old, outdated, or a fixer-upper. This saves you the hassle of buyer negotiations, home repairs, and uncertain financing, and instead, you enjoy a sure deal backed by a quick closing. Cheers to you!