Activity over Christmas certainly dies down, but it’s not dead. I have sold homes during the Christmas holidays in the last several years; in fact, the last two years in a row, my last deal of the year went firm on Christmas Eve.
The only time of year I haven’t sold anything is January: it’s been a complete shutout every year for me since I started in this business. Which is odd, when you think about it — you’d think people in the market would be looking for a new start in the New Year but it seems that between the cold weather and the Christmas bills piling up, home hunting hits the back burner.
If you have to sell, you should list whenever you can get your property ready and not worry too much about timing. But if you have any control over timing, you’ll get a better price in early spring than you will in late fall or early winter. Kent Browne, our broker, has suggested the differential can be as high as 5% and in the winter, people hunt for bargains.
That said, the upside of selling in December is that there is less active inventory and your property is more likely to stand out as a new listing than it might later on in the spring. In the spring, there are more buyers but also hundreds more listings.
So, should you list before Christmas? It’s your call. I remain of the view that a well-presented, well-priced property will sell; the key is to price it aggressively and not too high, or you will be guaranteed a stale-dated listing.
If you’re living in the property, also bear in mind that coordinating showings around your Christmas plans could be difficult. Christmas can often feel overwhelming at the best of times, even without a house sale to worry about. You want to list when you can arrange for buyers to get in easily; showings can be difficult if you have lots of activities planned at your home or house guests.
As in all things, do what is right for you, but be sure to talk to your realtor to get their advice. If yours is the only property of its type in a popular and high-demand area, for example, listing it in December could be the right decision. In those circumstances, while you don’t want to discourage showings, your realtor can discuss with you how you can put some restrictions on them, by asking for ample notice, or declining showings altogether on the days when it’s not convenient.