It is common knowledge that the hottest time in the real estate market is just after the Super Bowl and through mid-June. Why?
Because towards the end of January is when the holiday hangover wears out and things start getting back to normal. And the first or second week of June is when graduations and vacations come into play and for a couple of months during summer there is a slowing of real estate activity.
What is also interesting, especially in a year when there is a flurry of activity and prices skyrocket, somewhere around mid to late May is when buyers throw in the towel for a while and get what I like to call “buyer fatigue.” That means buyers are tired of competing, many times getting blown out in multiple offer situations and they just quit for a while and push back when they know multiple offers are coming.
I see it all the time during hot markets and in the 35 years I have been practicing as a real estate agent it is as common as fall colors during the fall season.
But I have also seen some record-breaking prices take place in the middle of the holidays.
So, back to the question, should you list your home during the holiday season?
At the risk of sounding evasive, I will answer it by saying that it depends on what you are selling, the neighborhood, property condition, area and price point. And it depends on your strategy.
Certain homes in certain neighborhoods where not much comes on the market are going to do well regardless of the time of the season. And homes that have been updated, well taken care of and also in the more “affordable” price point will always be attractive to home buyers if there are still buyers out there.
Case in point: Right around Thanksgiving of last year I was called out to a property by the home sellers that were moving out of the area and they wanted some advice on how to proceed, if they should go forward with putting the home on the market during the holidays or wait until January.
How I sold a home in Skypark for record-breaking $1.4 million during the holidays, step-by-step – Click to read
When I met with them, I did a thorough walk-through and made some key observations such as:
The lot was a superior lot in that development and homes with a lot like that did not come along that often, as was the floor plan that was very desirable. In addition, they had some remodeling done to the kitchen and primary bath that was tremendous, very well done.
Because the price point was in the $1.2 million range which was the last comparable about a month or so prior, I knew that was a price point that was very popular and deemed “affordable” in terms of what many people were looking for.
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I analyzed the current market conditions along with inventory and saw that there was very little on the market at that time, especially in such an attractive price point and type of home. My suggestion was that we move swiftly to get the home ready so that when we thought the timing was right, we would go on the market. Between painting, decluttering, staging and then professional photos and video, within 2-3 weeks we were ready to act when we felt the time was right.
The sellers were amazing and followed my lead at every turn and the home shined and stood out above anything else on the market at the time and when we thought the time was right to act, we did and went on with a “coming soon” campaign followed by an extensive marketing and action plan. We went on the market for $1.2 million on December 12th, less than 2 weeks before Christmas, and sold in 6 days for $200k over asking at a price of $1.4 million. That price is still a record in Skypark almost a year later, although not too long ago I also sold a smaller model for the same price. But nobody has beat that price and yes, that home is a perfect example of getting a home ready and jumping in at the right time.
There are many examples of this, not just from me but everywhere when people ask if selling a home during the holidays is a good idea. It all comes down to preparation, market knowledge and and a good understanding of what the market is doing in addition to how your home compares to others and if there is a current need for a home like yours.
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It also many times has to do with what is going on in the market because there have been times throughout the years when the hottest quarter of the year was in fact the 4th quarter so regardless of it being during the holidays, the time was right at that time. There is also less homes on the market during the holidays typically so it could be a supply versus demand situation where buyers are out looking with not much to buy and you could strike gold.
The key is, as stated, that you analyze the market and existing need that exists to see if your home matches what many home buyers are looking for. But it must be followed by a powerful marketing and action plan because without it, it does not matter when you are selling or what your home looks like.
And then again, sometimes you have to go on the market during the holidays due to personal needs, a job transfer, etc., and that in itself will make the decision for you.
Just be smart, do your homework and align yourself with a local professional that knows and understands the local market trends, what buyers are looking for and can guide you in the right direction.
As always, happy selling and happy buying! And Happy Holidays!
ABOUT ROB: Robert Aldana is a 35+ year licensed real estate veteran with Keller Williams Realty, recognized as being in the top 1.5% of agents in the Nation and also a long-term resident and homeowner in Scotts Valley.
Robert is the agent chosen by more Scotts Valley area home sellers and buyers than any agent or team, and was awarded the Santa Cruz Sentinel Readers Choice Award as the Best REALTOR® in Scotts Valley for four straight years. Robert is also the ALL-TIME leading real estate agent in Scotts Valley sales, and most recommended agent in the NextDoor online community.