Should Sellers Pull Their Listings Off the Market This Winter?
The temperature isn’t the only thing that cools down during the winter — home sales activity usually slows during the latter months of the year, leaving sellers with cold feet about their decision to list. However, not all is lost. With some patience and strategic marketing, the perfect buyer could come down your client’s chimney just in time for Christmas. Here are some pros (and cons) to discuss with your seller before taking a listing off the market.
Don’t be discouraged by your sellers’ sudden lack of faith — there are plenty of other sellers who want to pull their homes off the market as well. Instead of allowing your seller to succumb to the trend, point out the opportunity in staying the course: less competition. “Come spring, other sellers will flood the market and your home will be just another fish in a great big pond,” read a blog by financial advisor Dave Ramsey. “But right now, you’ve got a limited number of sellers on the market.” “For perspective, 210,000 homes for sale dropped off the market from November to December in 2018,” Ramsey added. “If that pattern repeats this year, you’ll have 12 percent less competition on the market if you list your home during the winter.”
Pro: Wintertime buyers are usually more motivated to make a deal.
It’s easy to shop around when the weather is warm and pleasant, so it shows some serious grit when buyers are still hitting the pavement despite freezing temperatures. The people who are out there looking at homes during the holidays are serious buyers,” Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage managing broker TG Glazer told realtor.com in November. “And in areas where you have bad weather, these buyers are going to weather the storms—pun intended—to visit your property.” New York City-based Douglas Elliman broker Lindsay Barton Barrett echoed Glazer’s sentiments, saying she’s closed plenty of deals during the holidays for clients who have flown to the city specifically to buy a home for their child or for themselves, and Thanksgiving or Christmas is the only time to do it. “People make decisions in all different manners when they’re buying a home, but it is not infrequent to have family members involved in that process,” Barton Barrett said. “Because it’s the time that people are spending with family, it may be a time that people get focused on buying.”
The homebuying process is just as much an emotional decision as it is a practical one, and the holiday season offers a unique opportunity to help buyers imagine what their first holiday in your seller’s home could look like. Beyond the normal to-dos of staging, such as making sure everything is tidy and well-lit, make sure your sellers simmer spices on the stove, hang garlands and lights, leave some freshly baked cookies on the kitchen counter, or even offer hand warmers as a parting gift. “You want rooms to appear especially warm, cozy, and inviting,” Lyon Real Estate broker-associate Elizabeth Weintraub told The Balance. Make your living room romantic by placing two champagne glasses near a champagne bucket on the coffee table; toss afghans or throws across the arms of your sofa.” “Hot apple cider and cocoa make great beverage choices,” Weintraub added. “Creamy soups and stews are delicious on a cold day; to avoid dealing with utensils, serve them in shooter glasses or paper cups. Otherwise, stick to finger foods...”