Why is Now a Bad Time to Sell?

The leaves have finally all fallen, but it hardly feels like winter is upon us. This unseasonably warm weather is a drastic change from seasons past, however, I’m certainly not complaining! With that being said, to much of everyone’s dismay, winter is imminent. And while this is undeniably an exciting and frenzied time of year, with holiday gatherings and the New Year approaching, real estate is often the furthest thing from people’s minds. From November 15th to January 15th, the market slows down significantly – some might even say that it comes to a screeching halt. Properties on the market for sale during this time are usually sold somewhere between 3% and 4% below what they would have sold for during a better time of the year.  (The other brief respite is typically between July 15th and Labor Day. However, during this period of time, there is generally not a concomitant decrease in the value of homes.)

So why is now a bad time to sell your home? The overriding sentiment has to do with the fact that the holidays are a busy time to celebrate with family and friends. The months of November and December are not thought of as a time to engage in commerce (unless, of course, you’re a large retailer). As a result, if a buyer stumbles upon a property for sale on Thanksgiving Day or Christmas Eve, they make the assumption that there is some imperative as to why it is that the homeowner has their house on the market for sale. Perhaps it’s illness or death or divorce or a mandated job transfer. Whatever the reason, very often, they will try and take advantage of whatever situation is confronting the seller and they do so by writing a more aggressive offer. For these very reasons, and because it is in their best interest to do so, we traditionally advise sellers to take their home off of the market for this two month period of time.

After all of the holiday parties have subsided and the New Year has officially commenced, the market reawakens! On or about January 10th or 15th, my team and I begin calling our sellers to ascertain whether this is the right time to list their home for sale. Remarkably, the past few years have proven to be a great time to list. Despite the fact that temperatures may be hovering in the teens (or perhaps the 50s...), those few buyers who are looking in the middle of January are very serious in their intent. Although a contrarian view on our part, it’s remarkable how many bidding wars we’ve experienced in the past few years due to low inventory. Because of the high temperatures that we've been afforded as of late, it is our prediction that January will be an exceptionally strong month for real estate, even more so than we've enjoyed in previous years.

All in all, the moral of the story is to enjoy your festive cocktail and holiday cheer for a few more weeks. There will be plenty of time sell your home, after January 15th!