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PostHeaderIcon The Holiday Market: To List Or Not To List?

This article was recently posted by Viennapatch .com:

There are two schools of thought when it comes to listing homes for sale over the holiday season. They are a bit esoteric in nature, so bear with me.

One school: do it. The other, don’t.

How’s that for clarity on the matter?

Personally, I don’t believe there is a cookie cutter answer to the question, but here are the core perspectives.

Why You SHOULD List During the Holidays:
I don’t think anyone would really tell you that you should target the holiday season to list and sell your home. However, some would tell you not to worry about avoiding it. The idea here is that there would be less competition from other sellers, and the buyers who are looking during the holidays tend to be more serious.

There is some validity here since buyers who are actively searching during this time are typically relocating to the area and need to find housing pretty quickly. If you can list and stand out as the best option in your price range you may be able to sell in a reasonable amount of time. Being the best in your opinion, and being the best in the buyer’s opinion, however, are potentially two very different things.

Why You Should NOT List:
This mindset does not stop at avoiding the listing of a property, but also says you should de-list your property for the holidays if it is already on the market. This idea is based on a few factors: One, there is less competition from other sellers, but the reduction in buyer activity balances that out from a supply and demand perspective. The buyers who remain are deal hunting.  Two, it can send the wrong message about your situation as an owner, primarily that you are desperate to sell. Why would you list during this time of year otherwise? The result is a low offer, in the event that you do receive one. Third, do you really want traffic coming through your home during the holidays if you don’t actually NEED to sell during that time?

What’s Right For Me?
As mentioned above, I don’t believe there is a cookie cutter answer to this as every seller’s situation is unique. However, I will say that my advice to go ahead and list during the holiday season would most likely be based on “need-to-sell” criteria. Be it a job relocation, the need to get out from under a mortgage, a person’s new home of choice being available now, or anything else that may be forcing an owner’s hand. Which, in all likelihood brings us back to the “should not list” point of view for anyone else.

At the end of the day it is just more difficult to get full value for your home during this time of year. Some market conditions during any given year may impact this historical reality, such as the low interest rates combined with the first time home buyer tax credit in place during the winter of 2009, but that was a perfect storm conjured by policy. Assuming business as usual, the holidays are typically going to be a “need-to-sell” not a “want-to-sell” real estate environment.

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