Should I Take My Home Off The Market or Avoid Listing My Home For The Holidays and Re-List Next Spring?

As we enter the winter months, many current or potential home Sellers ponder whether they should take their home listings off the market for the holidays or avoid listing their home then in favor of bringing their homes back to market in the Spring time.  The correct answer really depends on the Seller’s individual situation.  If you as a Seller simply don’t want to move during the winter, then by all means, take your home off the market.

Frankly, keeping a listing on the market through the holidays has many advantages that are easily overlooked.  Those who already have their home on the market and who have done their homework by getting their home properly staged with decluttering and making it as presentable as possible.  Those Sellers already have their heavy lifting done. No one knows what the future will bring.

Who knows if the market will be much different in the spring? There are three possibilities: Better, the same, or worse. If it’s worse, then you definitely want to try selling now. If it’s the same, you might as well try selling now. If next spring is better, then try selling now and if it doesn’t sell, then you’ll encounter a better market and more chances to sell in the spring.

If your home has been on the market for a while and has not sold, the holiday and winter season isn’t going to make the prospects of selling worse.  Holidays don’t make homes less appealing to Buyers – often they are MORE appealing since they give the sense of home and warmth being decorated and ready for your holiday celebrations with friends and family.  Your lack of success as a Seller may be pricing not being realistic.  What a home Seller needs to realize is lack of showings is often a reflection of a property being overpriced.  If your home has been listed for a while and you have had a lack of showings, ask your listing agent if other similar properties have sold in your area and at what price.

Some Sellers fear “days on market” and think that they can stack the cards in their favor and fetching a higher price by re-listing in the spring time.  Listings don’t get stale, only bread does.  Don’t kid yourself, any good Buyer’s agent will look at the property history for any home that their Buyers like and they will see your listing history and exactly what your prior listing prices were and when your listing was active or removed.  Buyers don’t buy a home because of low “days on market” count or price history; they buy because a property has availability and appeal to them at the then current asking price that’s affordable to them at the point in time they make an offer to you as a Seller.

If your home is already on the market and you as a Seller have a lot going on with children’s activities, shopping, parties and holiday guests, you may be feeling that removing the added pressure of having your home available in “show time condition” might just push you over the edge.  The emotions and pressure can become overwhelming, that’s a normal thought that enters many Seller’s minds.  Some Sellers have the added pressures of out-of-town guests coming and staying in their homes during the holidays and that adds weight to the scale in favor of pulling the home off the market.  These two thoughts are the primary reasons for taking a home off the market during the holidays and the winter.  It is understandable why you would be tempted to take your home off the market during the holidays and the list of justifications is long.

Before you extrapolate that thought and potential feeling of being overwhelmed to taking the step of removing your home from the market for the holidays, you might want to consider the following advantages that keeping the home on the market might bring to you.  Here are key reasons to that you might want to keep your home listed or to bring your home to market during the holidays and winter months:

  • The obvious but important first advantage (of listing during holidays and winter) is the reality that not doing so is actually a disadvantage. I found this best stated by Top-selling Realtor Jennie Ling.  She says taking your home off the market during the Christmas season is a mistake. As vice president of Virginia Cook REALTORS® in Texas and the number one sales person in her company for almost every one of her more than 35 years in the real estate business, Ling exclaims, “The house sure isn’t going to sell off the market! What is the advantage of that? So you’re busy. Let your Realtor do the work. You can leave in the morning, go to work, go shopping, and let your Realtor take care of things.”
  • Although Buyer activity may appear to slow down, the Buyers who are actively looking during the holidays are that much more serious. The home market is no more affected at Christmas than during other “busy” period. If that were so, the market would shut down throughout the year as families concentrate on spring weddings, June graduations, summer vacations, and autumn back-to-school activities.
  • Only the truly motivated home buyers and sellers are the ones who will be out there over the holiday season. While many Sellers close their doors just before Thanksgiving and don’t open them again until mid January, the folks that are willing to give of their time and perform the due diligence required during this period are really serious about buying or selling.
  • It’s good for you as a Seller if you keep or put your home on the market since there is less competition.
  • Buyers have more time to look at homes during holidays, especially during vacations.
  • One thing that you and your agent should try to do is get the best photos of your home.  If you have none before the leaves have fallen, then taking photos of the current conditions is appropriate.  Try to get photos of the outside of your home before the snow falls.  If your home is still available in the spring, you and your agent should up definitely update your photos when the foliage blooms.  I have to laugh when I see a home listing photo with snow covered yard in the spring or summer months.

How do you feel about listing your home during the holidays or winter months?  I’d love to hear your thoughts.