As the holidays approach, home sellers are often tempted to take their homes off the market until spring-or even wait until spring to list. After all, buyers are too busy now to search for houses, right? In a word, no. As a rule, you should list your home when you want to sell it, not when you think it will sell, because no one can predict with any certainty when the right buyer might show up at your door. In fact, canceling or postponing your listing may actually prove counterproductive. Here are three reasons why:
1. Motivated Buyers
Buyers who take time from their holiday preparations-and their holiday time off work-to house-hunt tend to be serious buyers who are ready to move. Although some buyers prefer to move in warmer weather, those who are relocating or who are purchasing upon expiration of their leases don't have a choice. Furthermore, buyers who have no children, and buyers already living in your school district, may not have a seasonal preference.
2. Less Competition
Winter inventories tend to decline, so the homes that are listed during the holiday months have less competition. And, as buyers hold off for lower prices and sellers hold off for higher ones, pent-up demand creates an urgency that can benefit holiday sellers.
3. Your Home is Already Staged
Despite temporary disarray when you're in the process of decorating for the holidays, your home looks more inviting than ever after the work is finished. The warm, festive atmosphere encourages prospective buyers to linger, as they imagine celebrating their own holidays there. If you're worried that showing requests might catch you off-guard, have a five-minute family clean-up each morning to prepare your home for the day. You also may alter your showing instructions to accommodate changes in your routine. Beyond that, leave the details to your agent as you enjoy the season and look forward to a successful sale.