You may think trying to sell a home in December is a lost cause.
After all, people are busy preparing for the holidays, spending money on gifts, food and beverages, and of course sometimes dealing with some nasty weather that we can experience at this time of the year.
But veteran realtors will tell you that people do buy and sell homes in December and the real estate industry doesn’t shut down to accommodate all the festive activities.
So is selling a home in December a lost cause?
“No, no. Far from it,” says Jon Dick, a realtor with RE/MAX Real Estate (Central). “The supply in a more normal environment tends to reduce through the early winter and midwinter times of the year and actually can swing in favour of the seller from a supply and demand perspective.
“There’s certainly fewer buyers around but often there are even fewer sellers around. So the buyers who are around have less choice often in the weaker parts of the market. I’ve actually always had lots of success in November and December and January and February because of that.”
Dick, who has been a realtor for 32 years, says the fundamentals of real estate don’t really change that much at this time of the year.
“You have to be patient. Notwithstanding the environment that we’re in right now you have to be even more patient. There’s just so few buyers and it often takes us longer to find someone for the house. But it’s the same gig. If it’s priced competitively and it’s staged and it has great presentation which is really, really important in the market that we’re in and during the slower times of the year because you’ve got to move them from the computer or the couch to the front and you do that through the online presentation,” says Dick.
“If all those things are correctly done, we still sell them. I’ve sold them on Christmas Eve. I’m sold them on New Year’s Day. I’ve sold three this week. You can’t give up. Sometimes people take their hook out of the water right before the fish swims by.”
If you have your home listed for sale during the Christmas season, Dick says it’s a good idea to have the home decorated in the holiday spirit.
“It’s the season. People are into the season. Christmas makes everybody feel good so having your house decorated for Christmas and having those images online is not a bad thing. It would be a good thing,” says Dick.
Some people might think the weather in December may play a role in dissuading potential homebuyers from getting out and about to view listings.
But Dick says for people who need to buy a new home for whatever reason it doesn’t matter what the weather is doing – they are going to be motivated to go out and find something.
Horace Rowe, who has been a realtor for more than 40 years, says many people might not want to put their house on the market from late November to early in the New Year. But he says his experience says people should put their house on the market so it’s available.
“I’ve sold homes on Christmas Day. I’ve sold homes on Boxing Day. I’ve sold homes on New Year’s Day,” says Rowe, who is with RE/MAX Real Estate (Central). “People that have to buy are going to buy what’s available. They want availability.”
“I tell people don’t be bothered about saying like ‘oh you know we’ve got Christmas trees up and presents all over’. It’s a home. People actually gravitate towards that. You buy homes on feelings. I always tell buyers that the home that you’ll buy will speak to you. I won’t really have to say much at all because the house basically says ‘please buy me’,” says Rowe.
“So I would say just basically get your home prepared. Have it feeling like a home and make it available. Don’t wait until January because what happens that first week of January all those people who would ordinarily have put their homes on the market between late November and the end of the year they all come on in January and all of a sudden now you’ve got this mad influx and you can get lost in the stampede.”