Buying and Selling Real Estate During the Holidays

Unlike spring, which is prime time real estate transactions, buying and selling real estate during the holidays presents a unique challenge. Sellers have fewer prospective buyers viewing their property, and buyers have limited inventory from which to make their selection.

You may have heard horror stories from people who were forced to lower their asking price on a home that lingered several months or from buyers who simply could not find a house that suited them among a bargain basement selection of unwanted homes.

It’s really not that bad. In fact, there are distinct advantages to completing a real estate transaction during the holidays.

For the buyer, advantages include the ability to deduct expenses related to the sale on this year’s taxes and, historically, a slightly lower interest rate due to the increased competition among lenders for fewer customers.

The seller, on the other hand, can take advantage of these buyer advantages to push through a quick closing and have cash in hand for the new purchase.

Buyers: Think Streamlined, Not Slim Pickings

There is less inventory during the winter months, but there are also fewer buyers on the market competing for homes. That gives you leverage with the seller that can translate into a better price at listing.

Nor should buyers think that the inventory is made up of houses “left over” from the busy season. Sellers, like buyers, often need to relocate and are forced to list their house quickly in order to buy in the new area. Highly motivated sellers means a simpler negotiation process and one that could potentially favor the buyer.

Sellers: Get in the Holiday Spirit

According to Redfin, spring is the best time to list your property — but only barely. Winter properties move almost as fast, and 17.5 percent of homes sold above the list price in 2016, as compared with 18.7 in the spring. The number of homes sold before the 30-day threshold for both seasons is almost identical as well.

Although the article concedes that holidays can be a difficult time to schedule a closing, a look at the statistics challenges that conventional wisdom, at least in select markets. In Los Angeles, houses move at a fairly constant rate all year long, with only slight dips in the summer and fall.

Moreover, the holiday season gives sellers one big psychological advantage over those who list at any other time of the year. What better props for staging the interior and exterior of a home than festive holiday decorations? The warmth of a lit tree, candles at the windows, and gingerbread baking in the oven creates a welcoming tableau for families and instantly allows buyers to envision themselves in the home.

Your Plan of Action Awaits

CENTURY 21 Peak has the can-do spirit, great customer service, and local market expertise buyers need to conquer the Los Angeles real estate market during any season. Along with the resources of CENTURY 21, a real estate powerhouse of nearly 7,000 independent brokers worldwide, CENTURY 21 Peak offers a customized approach to the search and negotiation process.