Many homeowners and real estate agents believe the best time to sell real estate is in the spring. After all, many people hunker down during the winter or are too busy with the holidays to think about buying a new home. Buyers often 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 the winter holiday season does have its benefits for home selling as well. So if you can't wait until the weather warms up to get your house on the market, you can take advantage of some of winter's unique upsides. Here are six reasons why the holidays are indeed a good time to sell a house.
- Buyer traffic is lower during the holidays so you are less likely to see bidding wars.
- Buyers tend to be more serious during the holidays.
- You can make your house festive and inviting during the holidays, which can create an emotional connection for buyers.
- The holidays may be a time potential buyers consider job transfers and end-of-year tax breaks.
1. Lower Housing Inventory
Conventional wisdom says you should wait until the spring to get the most from a home sale. After all, there are generally more buyers in the spring with warmer weather. More competition can lead to price wars, and homes can sell faster and for higher prices than during the winter.
Buyers are still shopping at other times of the year. In fact, the supply of homes listed around the holidays tends to be lower, meaning sellers have less competition.
Many sellers don't want to list their houses just before or during the holidays. Some do not want the added stress of home selling as they enjoy the holidays with family. Others don't want people tracking in snow or dirt during showings.
As a result, serious buyers won't have as many 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 price.
2. More Serious Buyers
Most open houses take place during the spring and early summer. Many people saunter into a property without a clear plan to buy. People often check out homes just for the sake of looking as a pastime.
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. 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 take advantage of these traditions as they stage their house. You can leverage holiday decorations for both curb appeal and to create a cozy interior.
Some people may argue that showing a house in the winter is difficult because of dreary weather. 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.
Buyers also tend to be more emotional during the holidays and may be more likely to make decisions based on the feeling.
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 lights, wreaths, and other holiday decorations can add charm.
People purchasing a home during that time may see the neighborhood as festive and cheerful. So they may be more willing to consider an area that they would want to live.
5. Year-End Job Transfers
The end of the year is typically the time when people get notified they will be moving because of a job transfer. 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 more 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 Dec. 31.
Recent tax laws limit the deduction, but the tax benefits could still prompt a buyer to move during the holidays instead of waiting until spring.
Is December a Good Time to Put Your House on the Market?
December is generally considered one of the slowest months for home selling, but it does offer some advantages. Even though there are fewer buyers, the buyers shopping during the holidays tend to be more serious buyers.
Is Thanksgiving a Good Time to Sell a House?
Thanksgiving may be a good time to sell your home to more serious winter buyers. If a buyer is looking for a home during this season, they may want to be settled in before December holidays.
What Is the Best Month to Sell Your Home?
The best time to list your home is mid-April, according to the National Association of Realtors. May, June, and July are commonly considered the best months to sell your home faster and for the highest price. The spring and early summer tend to draw out more buyers, many of whom want to be settled in a home before the school year begins in the fall.
The Bottom Line
Many sellers fear that if they list their home during the holidays, their properties will languish on the market or get a lower sales price, but this often isn’t the case. When you sell your home during the holidays, you have a number of advantages. You will face less competition and find more serious buyers. You can also take advantage of a unique opportunity to create a warm and cozy environment with holiday decor to create positive feelings in buyers.