The holidays are a time that calls for great sensitivity on the part of agents. For many sellers, even if they are under great pressure to sell, the last Christmas in the old house might be bittersweet. Maybe they know that at the next major holiday, they will be in another city or maybe they know their family will no longer be together. They know that they may occasionally see their current neighbors even if they've moved across town, but it won't the same.
The desire to have one last holiday in the old place may push some sellers to take the home off the market during the holidays. If they have had the home on the market for any length of time, they are already sick of keeping the place in great shape so strangers can drop in at any time. During the holidays when there's baking and preparation to be done, there are holiday visits planned, and the kids are home and enjoying their new toys, the seller might want to drop the pressure of keeping it neat. They may ask you to put them under the radar till the new year.
So do you react to a request to take the home off the market? Here are a few tips you might use that may motivate sellers to leave their listings undisturbed:
• This year there is new interest in homes created by the tax credit, home prices, and interest rates, so sellers have an increased chance of moving their property, either now or early next year.
• Buyers are busy too, so those who house hunt during this time are seriously looking for a place.
• Some sellers do withdraw their listings, so those that are available might see more traffic.
• To respect the seller's holiday plans, showings can be arranged only with notice and only if it convenient for the seller.
• They can still decorate for the holiday, but should just keep things more low key so that the features of the house stand out.
If you present the scenario clearly, most sellers will stay in place. I'm betting that if a seller get an offer, this would be a great holiday gift!
P.S. This article was written with Christmas as the example. Be sure to know the demographics of your area and of your sellers. Some families celebrate different holidays. For example, Jewish clients who are celebrating Hanukkah now may be vacationing or available later in the month.