Holiday Real Estate Trends: Do They Matter?
Selling homes around the holidays is generally regarded as a bad idea. It’s a time when buyers prefer to already be settled into their home, and sellers typically don’t feel like they want strangers walking through their house. The fact that most buyers and sellers are very busy during this time and often have family coming over or staying with them doesn’t help the situation either.
For this reason, the last two months of the year have traditionally been mostly regarded as a downtime for buying or selling a home. If you couldn’t get it done before November, then it’s best to wait until after the New Year. That’s been the conventional wisdom, at least. And there is some truth to it.
Holiday Real Estate Trends
In most American real estate markets, demand follows a somewhat predictable pattern. There are typically fewer houses on the market, fewer buyers, and generally less demand during the holidays themselves. However, immediately following them, there is usually a large upsurge in demand. According to Realtor.com, the Sunday right after Christmas has been historically one of the busiest days for real estate agents, despite the fact that Christmas Eve has been one of the slowest.
The other factor that is affected by the holidays is buyer motivation. The nature of homebuyers during the holiday season may be different than your typical clientele as they’ll focus more on researching houses on the internet (as cold weather might keep them inside) and be more adverse to other real estate competition that they might’ve seen in the warmer months.
Make Sure Your Seller Leads Know the Advantages of Selling in Winter
Typical trends aside, there are some clear advantages to selling during every season of the year. The simple fact of the matter is that some people are looking to or have to buy or sell homes no matter which season it is. The real estate market doesn’t just stand still during holidays.
Your first job as a real estate inside sales agent or outside agent is to understand what your potential client is seeking to accomplish, and how they think they are going to accomplish it. Next, your job is to determine whether their outcome will better or more easily accomplished if they list their home now (in the winter) rather than waiting four months until spring arrives.
To do this, you have to let the lead know that there are also clear advantages to listing their home in the winter that may be beneficial to them in light of their goals. Here are four reasons for sellers to list their homes in the winter:
- Less Competition – Because most sellers wait until the spring to list their homes, there are fewer homes on the market, which means less competition from other sellers. Additionally, the low inventory can create increase competition among buyers, which generally result in higher sale prices.
- Winter Brings Serious Buyers – Similar to why there is less competition in winter, this season draws out the serious buyers because most buyers think it is best to wait until spring to check out the market. The ones who do come out do so because they are serious and cannot wait until spring to purchase a home. These are not window shoppers, but motivated buyers who want to take advantage of the less competitive market and get their hands on their ideal home.
- You Can Highlight the Winter Side of Your Home – Show off your home’s winter-readiness. Have the fire going, showcase the hot tub, highlight the design and features that will make their life easier during winter, like an easy-to-shovel driveway, new roof and furnace, south-facing windows, and well-insulated pipes, among other things. These features, however simple, will show that your home can handle the harsh elements.
- Building a Connection Is Key – Critical to finding the right buyer when selling your home is having potential buyers develop a connection to your house. And the holidays can often make this easier to do. When people enter homes during the holiday season they can’t help but imagine their own decorations, tree, and their entire family all together.
Perception Is Everything
At the end of the day, the biggest thing you’ll have to overcome as a real estate inside sales agent or outside agent is the perception that people have that they can only buy and sell homes during the spring and summer.
You are inevitably going to hear objections ranging from “I don’t want people trudging through my house during the holidays”, “I’m too busy with family coming in for the holidays”, “I’m just going to wait until spring because there will be more buyers”, “My husband and I want to wait until spring to buy a house because there will be more inventory”, and so on and so forth.
The key to overcoming these objections is essentially the same as overcoming any other objection. You just have to understand the lead’s perspective, process, and outcome. Next, you have to recognize the five aspects of dealing with an objection once they tell you it:
- Acknowledge – Listen to what they say and let them know that you understand it.
- Paraphrase – Restate what they said without leading and without interpretation.
- Inquire into their perspective, process, and outcome – This is where you dig into their thought process how they see it. Get them to walk you through their knowledge, plan, and the unique thing they hope to accomplish. These are the three things you need to know in order to counter their objection, so ask questions that get you the answers.
- Determine the unique benefit or result they hope to achieve – this is their sought after outcome.
- Close if appropriate – Close if the lead does not bring up another objection as a result of the PPO process or if it becomes obvious that meeting is the next logical step in your conversation.
The most important thing to remember is that you are working with the lead to find a solution to their problem. If you both determine together that it is in their best interest to buy or sell their home before and directly after the holidays, given their unique situation, then you just need to convince them that you’re the agent or team that can get it done.
There’s no denying that there are some certain seasonal trends, but none of them should prevent someone from buying or selling if they actually really want to get in or out of a house now. There are advantages to selling and buying houses during both the winter and holidays.