Nobody wants to sell their home during the holidays!
Whether you’ve been in real estate a few years or a few decades, you’ve surely had to contend with homeowners who push back on your prospecting efforts with this handy, little objection. Of course, the holiday season is unlike any other time of the year, which is why, historically volume is down during the final months of the year.
But the reality is, the holidays can be a great time to list a home, and to aggressively prospect for those potential listings. And this holiday season may be particularly fruitful because interest rates continue to hover at historic lows. Plus, seasonally-adjusted home sales in September were up 32% versus a year ago, suggesting a healthy 4th quarter in most areas.
High performing agents don’t let up during the holidays and, in many cases, actually turn up the volume on their prospecting efforts. They know intuitively that many of their competitors ease up as the year closes, thinking it’s not worth the time and energy to disrupt their holidays with prospecting they’ve deemed as probably futile. Which means, if you’re willing to put in the time, the holiday season can be quite bright and festive, from a revenue perspective.
If you normally dismiss the holiday season, perhaps this would be a good time to recalibrate your thinking. Here are a few reminders as to why the holidays can be a great time for homeowners, and their real estate professionals, to be active in the market:
- If someone is shopping in November and December, it’s safe to assume they are serious buyers, unlike the high volume period in spring which attracts its share of casual lookers. It helps to remind potential sellers that end-of-year buyers are likely in the market with a sense of urgency.
- Supply and demand works in favor of sellers during the holidays. Inventory is typically low as many potential sellers choose to get through the holidays before going through the process of listing and showing their home. Of course, this year is anything but typical, so inventory in certain areas might be even tighter, which drives prices even higher.
- Potential sellers need to be reminded that homes show better during the holidays. A tree, decorated next to a roaring fire (and maybe a batch of Christmas cookies out of the oven), contribute to making the space warm and inviting. It all tells a story for buyers, helping them to imagine what their life will look like in this home next season.
- Holiday cheer and the warmth of the holidays extend beyond a seller’s living room and into their neighborhood. Lights and yard decorations other homes in the area contribute greatly to making a prospective buyer feel good about the neighborhood.
- While holiday buyers may have some urgency, they are typically more relaxed than at other times of the year. More people take time off or use vacation time during these final months, all of which help them feel relaxed and more responsive to what they see while home shopping.
- Most people know about the financial advantages of selling or buying real estate at year’s end, but they bare repeating. The most obvious advantage is that buyers can deduct the mortgage interest, property taxes and interest if the sale closes on or before December 31st. Plus, certain tax deductions can be significant, which can prompt a buyer to move quickly and with more urgency than during other times of the year.
- With regard to urgency for year-end buyers, the most obvious driver is a change in employment status. This could include a transfer from another city, or even a major promotion. Whatever the reason, people may need to find a home sooner, instead of later.
- It’s possible that sellers may have more flexibility with year-end transactions. For example, if the buyer does not have a heightened urgency to move in quickly, the seller can negotiate a delayed closing or extended occupancy. This allows the seller to maximize profits without having to worry about moving during the busy holidays.
- Selling at a healthy profit at the end of the year, allows the seller to enter the new year as a highly-attractive, non-contingency buyer. With more inventory selling at lower prices, non-contingency buyers enter the market in a very strong negotiating position.
If you tend to pull-back during the final months of the year, maybe it’s time to reconsider. With lower rates and tight inventory, you might want to crank up Espresso Agent, put on your head-set and turn up the prospecting volume to make this season brighter, and more profitable.