One of the best examples of a self-fulfilling prophecy is in the seasonality of the Boston real estate market. Every year, as Thanksgiving approaches, home sellers ask me, “Does it make sense to put the home on market now? There are no buyers looking.”
From potential home buyers I hear, “ Should we wait until Spring to buy? There are no homes on the market now.”
Yet, despite the expectations for a quiet holiday season, almost every year I am on the phone putting together a deal while checking-up on my stuffed Tofurky. This year the real estate market seasonality will be less pronounced than ever.
Both buyers and sellers will find advantages of pursuing their real estate goals during the holiday season.
Home Seller Advantages to Holiday Home Selling
Low Competition: Inventory shortage is what characterized our Boston real estate market the past few months. Newton, Brookline, Cambridge, Arlington and Brighton have all had too few homes for sale to satisfy demand, leaving many buyers still looking.
My friend Marilyn Messenger wrote a great article, The 5 Reasons the Sell Your House Now! She outlines the benefits of selling your home during the holiday season. One of the top reasons is the lower competition as many home sellers decide to wait or take their home off market for the holidays.
Serious Buyers: Marilyn also reminds us the buyers coming through a home between Thanksgiving and New Years’ are serious. These are determined buyers, who are not going out in harsh weather during overscheduled holidays to look at a home for kicks.
This year, home sellers can expect buyers who are eager, ready to buy after losing out on multiple offer situations in September and October.
Holiday Home Buyer Advantages
Fewer Buyers Looking: The worry of fewer homes on market is balanced by many buyers exiting the market and new ones waiting until 2013. Fewer buyers translate into fewer multiple-offer situations, and home sellers who are more likely to entertain your offer and work with you.
Shorter Mortgage Queue: Underwriting mortgages is taking weeks if you get stuck with the wrong bank, and closing delays are common. Much of the refinancing business will waiting until January, leaving your attorney with more time to work for you.
Homes are Ready to Sell: There will be two types of properties on the market. First, the “leftovers” from the busy fall market. These homes haven’t sold because of poor marketing or they were overpriced at critical moments. Neither of these reasons reflects poorly on the houses, but gives you an opportunity to negotiate.
There will also be new listings. Savvy home sellers want to take advantage of the low inventory and serious buyers. It’s a perfect time to match home buyers and home sellers who are ready to move on.
My advice to my clients has been and always will be to first work around your own schedule. You never know if your ideal home buyer / home seller has plans matching yours. Real estate surprises us regularly, as not everyone conforms to the same self-fulfilling prophecy, and not everyone celebrates the same holiday season.
(Coming in July 2013, an article entitled, “Boston Realtors Gone to Cape. Please Resume Your Real Estate Activity After Labor Day.”)