Thanksgiving turkey

Why You Can Sell Your Home During the Winter

by Jay on November 23, 2009

Thanksgiving is often looked at in the industry as the end of the fall season for selling homes and the beginning of the “dead season” during the winter months.

It’s not true.

I’ve often wondered whether this myth was purposely advanced by successful agents so that they could either 1) Take a little break themselves for the holidays or 2) trick their competitors into taking off the holidays so they could have an advantage soliciting listings.  There also may be a bit of self-fulfilling prophecy here as agents advise potential sellers to “not risk looking stale in the spring by marketing a home during the winter.”  There are lots of other excuses…it gets dark too early for after work showings, the holidays are just too chaotic to schedule showings, there’s too much Christmas advertising going on to get noticed, yada, yada, yada.

In Durham the numbers do confirm that there is a sharp drop off during the colder months, on average for the last four years of about 40%.  But that means that there are still a number of homes sold during the winter months and the market is anything but dead. The average number of closings in Durham County during the last four years for the four nastiest months was 1053 compared to 1738 for the four nicest months of the year.  That four year period includes two pretty good years and the last two not-so-good years.

When is the best time to put your home on the market?

The conventional wisdom is that the buyers come out in the spring. But if so many people wait  for the buyers then it simply means there is more competition among sellers during the spring. The more you dwell on the pros on cons of the different seasons the more you conclude that there are more exceptions to the “rule” than situations that fit.

The best time to put a home on the market is when the seller needs or wants to and when the home is ready to be marketed.

Apple didn’t launch the IPhone before they had crossed all the t’s and dotted all the i’s in their product development cycle.  That included hardware (really cool), software (even cooler), distribution (AT&T -not so cool), pricing (make the early adopters pay heavily before lowering the price for the masses) and promotion (start a buzz at MacWorld with Steve Jobs’ presentation and let word-of-mouth take over.)

You shouldn’t put your home on the market until you do the same thing. It’s a little different when you are selling just one home but the process deserves the appropriate analysis, planning and preparation. This winter too there are significant buyer incentives available from the government for both first time homebuyers and those “moving up” after 5 years in their existing home.

Winter is not a dead time in real estate. It can be very lively for those sellers who have a tightly integrated marketing plan for their home.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Jay December 10, 2009 at 9:42 am

Hey, I’m not the only one who thinks that the so called dead season is a myth. An article by Beth Mergens of the Folsom California Telegraph also makes the case. She points out that January is the time of the highest business transfers which means a group of highly motivated buyers use the holidays to shop for a home. She also makes the point that I have made too about Christmas decorations. Unless you overdo it, a home decorated for Christmas may look and even smell better than it does any other time of the year. She also points out that many investors are anxious to complete purchases before the end of the year. Check out her article for some terrific insights.


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