When the end of the year rolls around, people’s minds tend to shift to gift giving, holiday parties and good food. Real estate? Not so much. But for buyers, this could be one of the best times of the year to get a good deal. Here’s what you need to know if you’re considering buying and/or selling during the holidays.
Selling During the Holidays: Pros and Cons
For the most part, real estate agents recommend against selling your home during the holidays, and for one very good reason – demand is low. People are often traveling or spending time with loved ones, and not thinking about moving.
Selling during the holidays can also be a big inconvenience from a showing standpoint. As we know from staging experience, buyers prefer homes that are tidy and neutral. That means your usual holiday decorations will have to stay in their boxes, and you should avoid having visitors stay in your guest rooms. For those who go all out for the holidays, home tours and open houses can be an unwelcomed disruption. If you’re in a pinch and absolutely have to sell before the end of the year, we recommend listing either a few weeks before Thanksgiving , or in between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
The upside of selling during the holidays is that seller competition is very low, meaning your home will be competing with a lot fewer homes. If there are buyers looking for homes in your neighborhood, the demand with low competition will likely mean more interest in your home, which can equate to a higher sales price. Another upside is that the buyers looking for homes during the holidays are often more motivated, more likely to buy and looking to move through the process quickly. (Learn 19 tips to selling your home during the holidays.)
Buying During the Holidays: Pros and Cons
On the flip side, the holidays can be a great time for buyers to look for homes. Buyer’s agents typically advise clients to look between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. There are fewer buyers looking, so you don’t have to worry about as many competing bids, and the lack of demand will drive prices down.
People who sell their homes during the holidays tend to be in a pinch. There’s a reason they’re trying to get their home sold quickly – whether it’s a job relocation, tax purposes, etc. Because they have incentive to sell quickly and there is less demand, you’re likely to get a better deal.
Also, if you’re OK with buying a foreclosed home, the holidays are a great time to start looking, as banks are often trying to get those homes off their books before the end of the year.
On the cons side, there is very limited selection during the holidays, because there just aren’t many people selling. You may have a hard time finding a home with everything that you want. Additionally, it can take a little longer to close during the holidays, because mortgage lenders, inspectors, etc. are more likely to be on vacation or working lighter hours. Lastly, if you’re looking in an area with snow, you may not be able to get a good look at the landscaping and exterior of the home, so flaws may go unnoticed.
Have more questions about buying and selling a home during the holidays? Contact a Redfin Agent near you who can help you through the process.