How many people have you talked to recently who said, “I don’t know if I want to sell now; I think I might just want to wait until after the holidays.” A lot, right?
I get it, and you probably do too, however, it’s our job as professionals to coach sellers on what waiting could mean for them and help them to understand all the advantages there are in hopping off that fence to sell before the new year rolls in.
Here are 10 solid arguments for making this holiday season the season to sell.
1. People who are looking to buy during the holidays are more serious about buying
The buyers who are searching for properties during the holidays are serious buyers. Think about it — they are so committed to buying that they are going over all obstacles to do it.
They are out looking at homes between their kids’ Christmas concerts, winter weather in some places, before work gatherings, and while organizing all their own holiday season plans with family and friends.
This is the time of year that has the most and best excuses NOT to house hunt, and yet they are committed to doing it because they really want to buy a house sooner rather than later.
2. Sellers have less competition, which means they usually sell faster and for more money
With less inventory on the market, buyers don’t have many houses to choose from, and less competition means all good things for sellers — more money, and a faster sale. It’s true that property values have gone up, and inventory has been low for a long time, but it’s about to get even lower.
There is a principle called “supply and demand” and right now, there is very little supply and very high demand.
Let’s look at this way: Let’s say you are talking to a seller who wants to wait, and you explain that their neighbors are also thinking about selling, but they also decided to wait until after the holidays.
Then spring rolls around and now your seller and the neighbors plus anyone else who wanted to wait for spring jump into the market because that is one of the busiest times to sell. Now instead of being one of the only listings on the market, they’ve got a lot of competition.
Higher supply — and we won’t be sure yet what the demand will be. We do know what it is now, making it a good time to sell.
3. Encourage ‘waiting’ sellers to at least start doing the prep work if they want to sell
You don’t have to wait to coach homeowners of all the “steps in the process” for listing and getting a home sold.
There is a lot of prep work that needs to be done — determining price, preparing the property, staging the home, verifying all the information, taking the photos, preparing the marketing campaigns, social media strategies and listing launch dates.
Even if they want to wait until after the holidays, you can help them pick a target date and get all the details ironed out in the interim.
4. Houses show better during the holidays
Imagine walking into a home during any other time of year. It’s nice, hopefully clean, and it looks very normal.
Now, imagine walking into a home with a lovely Christmas tree, decorations and the warm lights filling the home with a soft, cozy glow. Maybe you catch the scent of pine or spruce in the air, and some jazzy Christmas tunes play quietly from the stereo.
Which one makes you feel more at home? It makes buyers start thinking about raising their families there so they can recapture this beautiful holiday moment.
5. Buyers are more connected to their emotions and homeownership during the holidays
Remember that cozy feeling you got from the above point? Well, the reason homes show better during the holidays is based in science. Buyers are more connected to their emotions and homeownership during the holidays.
I wrote a book called How to Design a Life Worth Smiling About that talks about the power of smiling and how it benefits human beings. This book looks at the different chemicals in the brain and how they affect us — dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin and endorphins.
I’m not going to dive too deeply into this, because that’s a whole new article, but essentially, endorphins are nature’s mood lifter, and even help with pain management. Oxytocin is the love chemical, so when you see (or even think about) someone that you love or care about (even your pets) your brain releases oxytocin. It’s also called the “trust” chemical.
When these happy hormones are high, people will literally spend more money (and technically feel good doing it). There is research that proves this.
Now, when people are looking for a house during the holidays, and that oxytocin and endorphins are running high, they are more inclined to purchase, and spend more money to do it.
6. Some buyers want to buy before the end of the year because of the tax advantages
For the savvy buyer who is knowledgeable about taxes, they may be looking to purchase a home before the end of the year because of the tax advantages they will be able to claim.
By getting into contract and closing before the end of the year, they can write off the mortgage points on their taxes, as well as the real estate taxes (by paying six months in advance) and the mortgage interest (again, some of that gets paid off months in advance).
Check with your CPA for more tax advantages you can share with clients
7. Buyers who are getting transferred to another city for work usually get notice at this time of year
People who are transferring locations for their jobs usually get notice of the transfer around this time of year.
One thing to keep in mind about relocating buyers is that their commitment is heavily based on time, not price. They have a timeframe for their work, so finding something quickly is key, even if that means paying more.
8. During the holidays, it’s acceptable to restrict showing times
Any other time of the year, a homeowner is expected to keep their schedule wide open to ensure the home can be shown. However, during the holidays, it becomes more acceptable to restrict showings to only evenings or weekends, or certain days of the week.
It can be preferred for the homeowner, though this is the one time of year it won’t negatively impact the sale of the home
9. By selling now, you can be a non-contingent buyer after the holidays when more houses come into the market
Those homeowners who get a jump on getting their home sold can take advantage of the flood of homes on the market post-holiday as a buyer and be able to buy without contingencies because their house will already be in contract.
With more choices because of more inventory, they might even pay less and move their offer to the top of the list because of their lack of contingencies.
10. The real estate agents who are working at this time of year have the same commitment level as serious buyers during the holidays
I have found that among real estate agents, there is such a thing as good, better and best. Good agents work hard, and they do a pretty good job. Other agents work hard, but they manage to have that extra industry savvy that puts them above average.
However, once the end of the year approaches, these good and better agents often shift into “holiday mode.” They aren’t working as hard because they are becoming more focused on enjoying their holidays and time with family.
It’s the best agents who keep pushing and working hard through the holidays — because they know this is one of the best times of the year for a homeowner to sell their home. And they are committed to helping clients understand that — because it’s in the homeowners’ best interests.
A homeowner who chooses to hire an agent that is so committed to helping the them that they work through the holidays is a gift — as is what you do for them. When you are coaching them through their options, you can point to some of the reasons we’ve outlined in this article to find the ones that most resonate with them. Some will fit their situation better than others, so those are the ones you should focus on.
Be that “best” agent who is committed to the homeowners’ best interests, and if selling during the holidays is truly what is best for them, then they need to understand why. Good luck, and remember to serve, not sell and coach, not close.