Everyone who’s anyone in this industry is familiar with the term “spring selling season,” which defines the time of year when homes typically go on sale and buyers and sellers go to work. Sellers are busy cleaning and preparing their homes for open houses, viewings, pictures, and agents. Buyers are busy searching for the perfect house to fit their needs. Late fall and winter months are often considered the “off season,” when buyers and sellers are hibernating. If sellers didn’t sell in the spring and summer months, they tend to put the laborious task on hold until the following spring/summer and buyers stop looking because they know there is minimal supply.
The main question is: why? Why, in LA county alone, is there a 20% drop in selling from September to December? It’s not because properties go down in value in the winter months, it’s not because people suddenly don’t need or want to move. The number one reason for the massive drop is inconvenience. The late fall and winter months are holiday months. They are months when sellers don’t want the additional stress of setting up their house for viewings. They prefer to avoid strangers walking in and out of their home while hosting holiday parties, family from out of town, and decorating for the holiday season. The holidays already present so much stress— they tend to think, “Why add more to my already full plate?!”
Sellers need to start thinking about the level of competition in the spring and summer seasons. Though it seems demand is higher, the truth is your house could compete with 15-20 comparable homes in those warmer seasons, resulting in less foot traffic. Listing your home during that competitive market makes your home more susceptible, more likely to be passed over. Even worse, you may still have the same amount of stress, as you take pictures, set up your home for viewings, vacate your property for open houses and garner the same amount of foot traffic as other homes — but with less interest from potential buyers. The catch is, if you’re willing to step out of your comfort zone and endure temporary short-term stress you can reap the benefits. There is genuine potential for long term success while selling in the “off season.” Not only can you obtain more money for your property and increase interest in it, but selling your home unburdens you from impending stress months down the line. Plus, consider the benefits for the buyer, who can close on your home before the end of the tax year. Ultimately, it’s beneficial for you, as a seller, and your family.
Serious buyers are in the market this time of the year for two reasons. First (and most importantly), the fed cut interest rates another 1/4 percentage point last week. This significantly influences interest in acquiring new property. Given the uncertainty in the government right now (and the mere manifestation of uncertainty) buyers will want to jump on absorbing properties as soon as possible. Second, buyers can close and receive tax breaks before the end of the year, rather than putting that off until 2020. Food for thought: most buyers and sellers are slower towards the end of the year and have more time to move.
Speak to sellers currently on the fence about selling their homes and why it could be advantageous to sell NOW compared to later. Encourage them to think of the present and not 7-10 months in the future. Find out the advantages of current market and the rewards for both them and potential buyers. More often than not, these individuals would love nothing more than to secure the best price with a seamless transaction. If you encounter sellers with any of the hesitations mentioned above, remind them of these simple, important facts and reassure them that the winter selling season shouldn’t be overlooked. Remind them not to let inconvenience prevent them from making the most money possible from their property. They want to make the most money possible, and you, the agent, want that for them too. We want all our clients to have an individualized, pleasant, idyllic experience that leaves them happy and satisfied, and assure them that we are the only ones who can provide the experience they seek.
Our presence is not only to be felt during the “spring selling season,” but all year long, and our confidence in our abilities needs to supersede the comfort and complacency sellers may have that assumes that spring and summer months are the only times of the year to sell homes. We know better, we know the market, we keep tabs on the interest rates and know what’s happening in the economy that can, both imminently and futuristically, affect the market. We know what we’re talking about and we are confident we can deliver optimum service and results, no matter what time of year sellers want to sell their homes. Sellers simply need to give us the opportunity and we will deliver with confidence, ease and precision every time. So don’t let a “oh— this isn’t the right season. We should wait until the spring” attitude dissuade you from being enthusiastic with sellers about getting them in the market right now. Give them the information and have them make the best, most informed decision that works for them. You are capable of making this last push to the end of the year your best few months YET.