This time of year, if a seller has not sold their home, they will typically withdraw it from the market. Activity is often slower than normal between now and the first week of January. Many sellers also want a break from showings, the pressure of keeping their home clean, and feeling like they are always on.
But for the serious seller or buyer, deals still happen between now and early January. If you’re a seller who means business, know that buyers are out there through the holidays. If you’re a buyer on a mission, pound the pavement to find the most motivated sellers, and try to make a holiday miracle happen.
Tips for sellers
- Get your price in line with the market. If your home has been on the market for months without any offers, chances are your price is off. Once December rolls around, the competition (that is, other homes for sale) goes off the market, leaving you with potentially the only game in town. Now is the time to get serious. If you drop your home to the right price now, you have a captive audience, and you might even get more than one buyer. If you’re ready to move your home, this could be your chance to negotiate the best deal.
- Make your motivations known. If you want to take advantage of the holiday selling season, let agents and buyers know. In addition to dropping your price, you might want to offer an incentive to buyers, like a credit for closing costs or some furniture included, if they sign a contract before the end of the year. Or offer buyers’ agents a bonus if they make a deal happen. The point is, a motivated seller should take advantage of the timeframe, and that means making sure everyone knows you’re ready to bargain. Additionally, your agent should communicate to other agents, and the marketing remarks on your listing should demonstrate your motivations.
Best practices for buyers
- Don’t assume the market comes to a dead stop. Understand that some sellers have conversations with their agents about trying to make a deal during the holiday. These sellers are looking for you. Their list price might seem high, but they are probably willing to negotiate. Some sellers don’t want to advertise that they will take less, but once they get a buyer, they are ready to wheel and deal. Imagine yourself in the shoes of a seller who needs to unload their home. They may be willing to close even at the stroke of midnight on Christmas Eve. Deals happen if you put yourself out there. If you’re a serious buyer, leverage these last few weeks of the year to find a home.
- Do a once-over of all listings in and around your price point. Been ignoring a home or two because they seemed overpriced, or not as thoroughly renovated as you would like? Did you make an offer earlier in the year that wasn’t as great as it could have been? Circle back to every listing in and around your price point and target area that is currently on the market. Scour these listings, because they indicate motivated sellers. Go have a second look, and keep an open mind. An overlooked home can easily become your dream home at the right price.
Though conventional wisdom may state otherwise, market-ready buyers and sellers have consummated successful deals through the holidays. But don’t be a conventional buyer or seller. We live in an era of access anywhere and anytime. Information flows 24/7 and buyers, especially, use smartphones and tablets to stay connected to real estate listings at all times. Motivated buyers and sellers should open themselves to the possibilities this time of year.