Some sellers, who could do it now or do it later, are wondering if it is worth listing their homes in the Fall/Winter, or whether they should wait for Spring.
A few weeks ago an agent walked into a closing (his seller, my buyer) and, in lieu of “hello,” said to me, “PLEASE tell me you have something coming on the market soon in Blue Ash!” He explained he had a buyer who had been waiting for a house to match their family’s needs, and there was nothing currently available. Well, I did have a client getting ready to sell precisely the type of home they were looking for. And that buyer and seller are now also getting ready to head to a closing.
It is good these homeowners were selling in the Fall/Winter.
Market statistics tell us that there are generally fewer buyers out there in the Fall/Winter compared to the Spring/Summer. But there are also typically fewer homes for sale. So a seller isn’t “competing” against so many other homes for the buyer’s attention. But, still, sellers worry that if they put their house on the market, all the buyers will be busy at a million possible holiday events, and won’t come to take a look at their home for sale. Sellers worry the appeal of their shiny hardwood floors and just-remodeled master bath won’t have quite the same drawing power as a chance to perch the kids on Santa’s lap for a photos.
That concern is valid. But I think it really only applies to what I refer to as “Recreational Buyers.” Recreational Buyers maybe want to move. Maybe now, maybe after they finish their dissertations. Maybe now, or maybe sometime before the baby goes into kindergarten. Recreational Buyers like to look at houses, but are in no great rush to buy one. If they don’t have plans on a summertime Sunday, they might decide to go to some open houses. On a wintertime Sunday, it is true, they may be more likely to go put the kids on Santa’s lap. Or go holiday shopping. Or make 12 dozen cookies or 12 dozen latkes to share with friends. The time between Thanksgiving and the New Year can be very busy on many people’s schedules. And Recreational Buyers might not prioritize house hunting when their schedules are otherwise so full with office parties and choir concerts at the kids’ school. But that’s okay, because Recreational Buyers weren’t in a great rush to buy your house anyway.
But Genuine Winter Buyers are seeeerious. They are not choosing to look at houses now because they like your fenced yard better than egg nog. They are looking at houses now BECAUSE THEY ARE READY TO MOVE. Maybe their lease is up. Maybe they have sold their previous home and need to be out. Maybe they are moving here to start a new job on Jan 1st. Maybe they really, really want the kids to be in a different school district by the start of second semester. Maybe they believe interest rates are going up next year, and want to lock in a lower rate now. Genuine Winter Buyers are ready to make things happen.
Is it possible you might have fewer showings as a Fall/Winter seller? Maybe. But I’m pretty sure you’d rather vacuum your house to show it to seeeerious buyers, anyway. The buyers who are focused on their house hunt are still out there. And there are not as few as sellers might imagine! In recent weeks I had 40 groups go through one Open House, and 29 go through another. Those are HUGE, kind of astounding numbers! In any season! These were two very different houses, in very different parts of town, at very different prices. Also in recent weeks, 3 of my listings went under contract with buyers…all in less than 2 days! Again: different parts of town, different types of homes, different price points. The Genuine Winter Buyers are out there getting it done. And I’m seeing LOTS of them.
Will your house fly off the shelf if it is listed now? Perhaps. Perhaps not. But your agent should be able to give a very strong analysis of the market in your area, the demand for your type of home, and a good sense of what you should expect if you listed it now. For some homeowners, this might be a tougher time to sell, and your (honest) agent will let you know that. But some parts of town still have a VERY low inventory of homes for sale, and many buyers are setting their hopes on the next one to come available. Like the agent who walked into our closing looking for a Blue Ash home, I have a backlog of buyers waiting for particular communities and neighborhoods. These are the seeerious folks you are hoping for. Try not to worry…a chance to see your beautiful, updated kitchen is going to look way, way more enticing to them than a holiday party featuring Aunt Marge’s fruitcake! It is quite possible that both you and your buyer could be celebrating New Year’s Eve in a new house!
On Facebook: Laurie Simon Goldman, Sibcy Cline Realtors