Lessons Learned from Listing and Selling Homes During the Holidays

By
Real Estate Agent with Solutions Real Estate CA DRE #01490977

Lessons Learned from Home Sales in December

 

Holidays in CarlsbadWe all know one of the truisms in real estate is that selling your home during the holidays is a good thing, contrary to what some people believe.

 

Every year there are a number of posts about the reasons why you should list and sell during the holidays.

 

While all this is true, there are some important lessons to be learned from selling during the holidays. Here are some thoughts, for buyers, sellers AND agents.

 

1. Inventory is lower during the holidays. In looking at the market data for Carlsbad and other nearby communities for my monthly market reports I found that inventory dropped for most areas I service in November, and then again in December. Inventory increased well during 2018 and remains a seller’s market in many areas, but depending on what price range you were in, as a buyer you have less to consider, and sometimes scheduling showings is tougher. I certainly found that with several buyers.

 

money2. Because of less inventory sellers had less competition. That's a good thing for seller, but maybe not as much for buyers. But we still see properties with multiple offers, including the ones I got under contract in December. Buyers can't expect making offers will necessarily be easier, and you still have to put your very best foot foward and not play games with low ball or poorly-completed offers while thinking that no one else will be interested in the house that you are.

 

3. Dates are important in the contract – we all know that – and when selling during the holidays it’s essential to pay attention to the calendar and make sure those dates you chose for your offer for certain key activities…closing for example...aren’t a potential problem, occurring say the day after Thanksgiving, on Hanukkah, on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, or New Year’s Eve.

 

4. Be aware that some key players in the transaction may not be available around the holidays at times when you might need them, so plan accordingly. Lenders, title and escrow companies, insurance providers, and records offices, for example, are often closed early on the day before key holidays so you can lose important time you might be counting on.

 

Sorry we are closed signI advise checking with these key players when you are getting into a contract, or perhaps when preparing the offer, so you are aware of dates when things might not, or cannot, happen and you can allow for more time for the appraisal, loan approval, escrow paperwork to be prepared, or a title search.

 

One seller couldn't order the HOA documents in a timely manner for my buyers because the HOA office was closed...for days between Christmas and New Year's!

 

5. The first couple of weeks once you have acceptance can be critical, with a lot of due diligence to be done (e.g., home inspections, disclosures), and the holidays can cause some problems with scheduling. Inspectors may be out of town (yep, happened with me for 2 contracts this past December), or sellers may be entertaining and don’t want visitors on certain days (yep, another problem I encountered). Appraisers take time off, too!

 

emailing during the holidays6. Planful and frequent communication – emails, calls, text messages – is even more important during the holidays, when, quite frankly, some people just may not be as responsive due to holidays.

 

They are out shopping, at parties, or taking time off and not checking emails, answering their phones or even responding as diligently as they might normally. Sometimes you just have to be a bit of a nag and write or call again when important issues or questions come up.

 

We all observe and celebrate holidays differently…as do our buyers and sellers, and all our vendors.

 

Not everyone always has the same sense of urgency as we might hope for or need...this is true any time of the year but maybe even more so during the holidays. I think it’s important to be understanding of all that life becomes during holiday time, from Thanksgiving through New Year’s, and to prepare for possible delays and aggravations, and perhaps build in some extra time for those key contract dates and events.

 

Those who are buying and selling during the holidays are serious…we all know that…and want to accomplish their buying and selling goals plus move in or out. As in any real estate transaction sometime things do not go according to plan or design, and the holidays can through an extra crimp in there in a number of ways.

 

And despite selling or buying, you STILL want to be able to enjoy whatever holiday you celebrate, and spend time with friends and family.

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Kathy Schowe
California Lifestyle Realty - La Quinta, CA
La Quinta, California 760-333-8886

I closed on a home on December 27th... both buyers and sellers were happy to get it done prior to  year end!  Happy New Year!

Jan 07, 2019 06:29 PM #7
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Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Jeff all great points, I had situations over the years when Sellers and Buyers were in a rush to close for tax reasons... then I had situations when sellers pushed the closing to the New Year for tax reasons...Endre

Jan 07, 2019 10:43 PM #8
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Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Good morning Jeff - working around the holidays is really tricky when you have deadlines.

Jan 08, 2019 05:53 AM #9
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Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
DFW FINE PROPERTIES - Southlake, TX
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Good Morning Jeff Dowler, CRS - These are all worthy points to take into consideration, especially when Agents are writing up offers and consulting with their clients regarding timelines, needs, and realistic expectations.

Have a great day. 

Jan 09, 2019 03:25 AM #10
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Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

Jeff, it definitely can be a challenge getting a transaction processed during the Holidays, and especially when the Holiday is on a Tuesday. 

Jan 09, 2019 07:37 AM #11
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Lottie Kendall
Compass - San Francisco, CA
Helping make your real estate dreams a reality

You make excellent points, Jeff. One agent brought in an offer on a listing of mine saying escrow would close in 25 days -- which brought us to 12/24, when the title company was closed. Luckily I had prepared my sellers for such an eventuality when they reviewed the offer so they weren't frustrated or concerned.

Jan 09, 2019 06:26 PM #12
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Gayle Rich-Boxman Fishhawk Lake Real Estate
John L Scott Market Center - Birkenfeld, OR
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Wise words from the master! Maybe resurrect this one just before the holidays this coming year! 

Life is very stressful for many during the holidays and trying to buy/sell can certainly escalate it in a big way. Being patient, mindful and respecting others' time elements are key. 

Jan 09, 2019 07:06 PM #13
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Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
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Kathy Schowe 

So nice to see you, and congratulations! I have had that happen in past years as well, in part due to taxes.

Jeff

Jan 09, 2019 07:46 PM #14
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Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
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Hi Endre Barath, Jr. 

I have had both situations as well. EIther way one has to plan around the holidays and when people may not be available as often as they might normally!

Jeff

Jan 09, 2019 07:48 PM #15
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Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
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Hi Grant Schneider 

It's certainly true in many businesses - you have to consider when others might not be available. I try to remember to ask if people I know I will need are not going to be around, either due to holidays or vacations!

Jeff

Jan 09, 2019 07:49 PM #16
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Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
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Hi Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP 

Well I know it was my concern with several transactions I had, and even then we were surprised in a couple of situations that people were not going to be available. People, and companies, do not just take off the holidays themselves.

Jeff

Jan 09, 2019 07:51 PM #17
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David Smith
Brokers Guild Classic - Lakewood, CO
Residential and Commercial Broker

Jeff, as you mention, contract dates are always important and should be carefully considered, twice as much so during the end of year/Holiday period.  Congrats on your recent Holidays sales Success! 

Jan 09, 2019 08:15 PM #18
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Anne Corbin
Long and Foster - Lake Anna - Spotsylvania, VA
Serving Lake Anna & Central Virginia

It was actually busy during the holidays. I had a ratified contract on December 22 and had to move a deal set to close on December 28 because of a title defect. People were looking at properties, too. I had a couple showings in December.

Jan 10, 2019 06:33 AM #19
Anonymous
Ivy Evans-Sledge

I couldn’t agree more. This December was busy for me but frustrating as most of the vendors ( inspectors, appraisers, closing attorney, etc) were closed or not available on many days throughout the holidays.

Jan 10, 2019 07:50 AM #20
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Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
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Hi Joan Cox 

It was a little odd with the Tuesday holidays with only a partial day of work for many after the weekend before another day offer. Some places were closed Christmas and New Year's Eve as well!

Jeff

Jan 10, 2019 08:03 AM #21
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Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

That was smart planning and counsel on your part Lottie Kendall . Sometimes you HAVE to look at the calendar to see what those time frames might actually mean. And NOT make assumptions about what is open or closed around holiday time.

Jeff

Jan 10, 2019 08:04 AM #22
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Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Thanks for the wise words Gayle Rich-Boxman Fishhawk Lake Real Estate  It occurred to me, too late, that this would have been good before the holidays. But then I hadn't yet had all the "fun" with places being closed. Good suggestion for next year!!

Jeff

Jan 10, 2019 08:06 AM #23
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Chris Lima
Atlantic Shores Realty Expertise - Port St Lucie, FL
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Great info @jdowler. This post is certainly a reminder to watch those dates and consider that holiday schedules may differ. A bit of forethought can go a long way in ensuring a smooth transaction.

Jan 10, 2019 09:26 AM #24
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Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
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Hi David Smith 

Thanks, and that's an excellent point. It was a very busy December, which means a very busy January!! The holidays would have kept me busy enough!!

Jeff

Jan 10, 2019 11:36 AM #25
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Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

Very smart advice for anyone looking to buy or sell during any holiday, but specifically between Christmas and New Years.  Moving to Phoenix, I sold my house the day after Thanksgiving in St. Louis!  I was on a scramble after that!

Jan 14, 2019 06:03 PM #26
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