Should I list my home over the Christmas period?

Heather Chilvers from Coldwell Banker Bermuda Realty explores the reasons why putting your property on the market over the Christmas period might just bring you some festive cheer and may not be as stressful as you think if you work closely with your realtor…

Internet Searches During the Holidays Surge Many home buyers devote a larger portion of their house hunting time during the holidays to searching online. The added convenience of whittling down a list of preferred homes from the warmth of the buyer’s home, whilst on vacation or during bad weather makes real estate website traffic kick up significantly. To have your home discovered during this timeframe, it must be on the market. Homes advertised correctly online during this time, get significantly more exposure than the average home. Those sellers that are taking a break from being on the market are as good as non-existent to the online buyer. (propertyskipper editor: Traffic on propertyskipper.com last Christmas was indeed very strong – particularly on the days between Christmas and New Year and the week following the first Monday back to work after the New Year).                              

Decorate! Go all out! Most home buyers enjoy the holidays, and love to see a home well decorated for Christmas, it adds warmth and friendliness. If you can constrain yourself a bit and keep your Christmas tree from looking like a spinning Wal-Mart rack, you’ll certainly impress your home buyers a bit more. But, if you really feel the need, just do it. Home buyers like the idea of a home looking like it fits into a neighborhood and a little bit of personality is nothing to be afraid of. The smell of home cooking or fresh coffee all spells ‘home’ in a buyers mind.

Motivated Buyers are still looking over the holidays The home buyer who isn’t relocating, would just like to buy a home in the neighbourhood they like. They aren’t particularly motivated by time and will often take a break from searching during the holidays and start again in the spring. But those home buyers who remain active in their searches, however, are the extremely motivated buyers. They’re willing to alter their holiday schedules and brave bad weather to get into a home. These are the kinds of buyers that home sellers dream about. They want to move right away and are willing to spend sensible money to relieve their anxiousness about getting on with the home buying process as quickly as possible.

Seller Competition Is Lighter During the Holidays Some home sellers are still reluctant to list their homes during the holidays. Due to guests and hectic holiday schedules and children home etc. This creates a shortage of inventory and a strong seller’s market in many cases. The home seller who is on the market in an area with very few comparable homes can often stick strongly to the price they’re hoping to get. Without a reasonable number of similar, competitive listings for buyers to visit, the seller is in a unique position of power because of the scarcity of comparable homes at that time.

You are in control of the communications time frame Who says a home seller has to receive calls 24/7? Every Realtor/client relationship is different. You, as the client, can manage how you communicate together. If you’d like to only receive showing requests via email or text, so be it. If you want your Realtor to only call between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m., he or she can do that. As long as you are reasonable about having a regular communication check-in with your Realtor, the way you communicate can be as unique as you’d like.

You Can Have a Daily Showing Schedule Showings don’t have to happen at all hours of the day. While the more your home is available, the better it is for buyers, it’s also understandable to have a limited schedule during the holidays. If every day between noon and 6:30 p.m. is the only time you’d like buyers to come through the home, that can be arranged. If yoga class on Tuesday makes it a difficult day, make that part of the official showing schedule, and have your Realtor put it into the listing. It will help buyers’ schedule showings and keep you focused on enjoying your own personal schedule.

You Can Create Blackout Dates When your in-laws are coming to visit for a week, let your Realtor know that the entire week is off-limits. Unless a buyer has come in and set a large envelope of cash on their desk, they need to schedule all showings the prior week or the week afterward. The bonus with this strategy is that your home is still on the internet and still being advertised online. While it might not be available to see in person that particular week, those holiday home buyers will still see the listing and be aware that it will be available soon. Meanwhile, your family is relaxing at home as if it were just a regular holiday season.

International Buyers These buyers don’t always observe the same calendar of events as we do. However, many of them take advantage of our nice weather and are in Bermuda over the holidays. We’ve seen significant upticks in buyer showings and home sales around holiday periods that traditionally were unofficial vacation periods for the real estate industry. When the foreign buyer comes to house hunt, it pays to make your house available for viewing.

Be Proactive – Take Control of Your Holiday Home Listing Selling your home during the holidays can actually be a well-managed, stress-free experience. If you take the time to set ground rules and boundaries, you’ll find that both you and your Realtor will benefit from the understanding during the process.

Heather Chilvers is amongst Coldwell Banker Bermuda Realty’s Leading Sales Representatives. She has been working in Real Estate for 25 years. If you have a question for Heather, please contact her at hchilvers@brcl.bm or 332 1793. All questions will be treated confidentially.

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