Should You Try to Sell Your Home During the Holidays?
Whether you're facing a winter PCS move, military retirement, or simply need to sell your home during the "off season," one common question for military home sellers during the winter is: Should I take my house off the market during the holidays?
If this isn’t your first PCS rodeo, you already know the usual schtick about listing during the winter months: no one visits homes when it’s cold outside, everyone is way too busy spending their cash at the mall (and by “the mall,” I mean online—who has time to go to the mall?), and no one moves during the winter anyway, right?
Well, it's mostly wrong. If you’re part of the select few who are fortunate enough to miss having your precious items travel cross country in melting 100-degree-plus weather (I’m still touchy about the state in which my household goods arrived this summer, in case you can’t tell), you’ve got more than ideal household goods transportation temperatures to look forward to during a cold weather PCS.
I know this decision isn’t easy. Perhaps you're considering delaying your move or accepting temporary renters to wait out the chilly months and then listing your property during the traditional spring and summer moving season.
Just because waiting out the cold is the right decision for other people doesn’t mean it’s necessarily suitable for your military family. To help you make that decision, I’ve included a pros and cons list to help you start.
Of course, these pros and cons may not apply to your move or your particular duty station as you determine whether to take your home off the market during the holidays.
The Pros of Selling Your Home During the Holidays
- There are fewer homes on the market, which can mean less competition for your property.
- The “best” real estate professionals who are booked nine months or more in advance are more likely to have the time to take on your last-minute home sale during the winter.
- Some areas don’t experience a dip in home sale action because they have a lot of foreign investment or regular military PCS families, such as Canadian and British homebuyers near MacDill Air Force Base or Mexican homebuyers near Joint Base San Antonio.
- Home buyers searching in an off-season market want to buy quickly. If they’re moving during the winter, it’s likely for work, so they will want to get in, get settled, and get on with their new job.
- You’re less likely to encounter nosy browsers. Those with nothing better to do aren’t interested in braving the cold to tour your home because they’re bored or have a mild interest in entering the home-buying market. Those folks are curled up inside by the fire, sipping hot cocoa and thanking their lucky stars that they don't have to go out in dreary weather.
- You can take advantage of the positive reception that most home shoppers have to a festive home during the holidays by sprucing things up with a seasonal wreath, scented plug-ins or candle warmers, and some greenery. Don’t overdo the décor; too much can easily have the opposite effect and strongly detract potential buyers.
Learn more about staging your home during the holiday season.
Photo from Shutterstock
The Cons of Selling Your Home During the Holidays
- You must keep your home ready to show during the holiday season— as if you didn’t already have enough to do at this time of year.
- You can’t have guests visit during the holidays. Well, you could, but you’ll really need to have a good action plan for cleaning up after your brother-in-law or your sister’s kids if your listing agent calls with a hot lead who wants to see the house today!
- Your home sale might take longer than usual to close because everyone is on vacation. It isn’t just that your real estate agent may take some vacation time, but the seller’s agent, each of their assistants, their transaction agents, the inspector, the appraiser, your lender, his assistant, the underwriter... You may have the stomach to wait this out, but what if your buyer doesn’t and then backs out?
- If you have a VA home loan buyer, you may not receive the earnest money deposit for all the hassle if the buyer backs out at the last minute, and then you have to start over in January.
Once you’ve considered these factors, research local data to weigh the pros and cons of listing in your particular market. Find out specific market analytics for your area for the past three winters to learn whether homes at your price point sell well during those months.
If you decide to list your home this holiday season, make sure to include a virtual video tour in your online marketing. Place pointer signs on major streets leading to your home for your open house. You want to make it easy for home buyers to find your home intentionally and unintentionally.
Now that you know the pros and cons of selling your home over the holidays, what do you think? Is it a good option for your situation? Only you can decide, but now you know what factors to consider. Good luck!