Even though the temps should approach the 50s this weekend, it may be a great time to tap into the holiday market. Yes, there is a holiday market in the real estate world. It may not have the frenzied feel of Black Friday, but it can still be a great time to get a good value.
Right now in our area, the inventory levels are still showing a seller’s market. However, we have seen the numbers of contracts received on homes decline and those inventory numbers are up from just a few short months ago. On our own listings, we are seeing homes that would have sold day one with multiple offers in the summer now taking a week or so to sell. They are still selling for top dollar, however, buyers are now enjoying a more calm home buying environment where they can make a calculated decision instead of a rushed one.
So maybe it is time to call your favorite Realtor, run through the Starbucks line and hit the streets. Home prices have been on the rise for the last two years and affordability is slipping away, even with low interest rates. According to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity index (HOI) almost 62 percent of all homes sold last quarter could be afforded by a family earning the national median income. Just two years ago, when affordability was at its highest, 78 percent of homes could be afforded by these same families.
Clearly the message to potential home buyers is that you should add a home to your holiday list of things to get. Don’t mentally check out until spring. You don’t want to search for a home when you have a ton of competition (other buyers). You need to buy now. Additionally, and most importantly, interest rates will be higher next year. And not at the end of next year, at the beginning. I know, I know…I don’t have a real estate crystal ball. It is just inevitable with all of the other improved market conditions. You will just have to trust me on this one.
Sellers out there, if you were going to buy a lottery ticket to win $1 million, would you rather buy a ticket if your odds were one in a million or one in fifty? Of course, one in fifty right? Isn’t selling your home in the winter kind of like the one in fifty lottery ticket? As a seller today, you not only get to compete in the market with little competition, you also get to benefit from the fact that typically people don’t go look at houses when it is 20 degrees outside just for fun. They are out because they need or desire to buy a home. You see, mother nature filters out the looky loos for you in the winter. Therefore, if you are going to keep your home show ready for each and every buyer, wouldn’t you rather each and every buyer be highly motivated to buy? Of course you would.
I thought it might be valuable to offer some tips out there for you sellers during the holiday season. Here you go:
- 1. Make sure that your photos in MLS are shot on a sunny day. You want to be sure to show the full potential and beauty of the home and most of the other homes in MLS will look grey and gloomy. This will help you stand out on line.
- 2. Create a virtual video tour of the home. In areas where the weather can get be especially stormy, offering potential buyers the opportunity to first see the home from the comfort of their own computer is helpful.
- 3. Be sure to keep driveways, walkways, and sidewalks clean during inclimate weather. You don’t want any potential buyers to slip and fall on their way inside the home. And you want them to feel welcomed.
- 4. Keep the house warm. A warmer inside temperature will keep potential buyers inside longer and allow themselves to feel more at home.
- 5. Keep window curtains and blinds open to let in as much light as possible.
- 6. Create an atmosphere. Put on some holiday music. Leave out some sweet treats or even some warm apple cider. Pull out all the stops. Remember that a home purchase is very emotional for most people. Bring back some great holiday feelings for your potential buyer by creating a holiday setting and hopefully next holiday season they will be celebrating in your current home and you will be celebrating in your new home.
Photo Credit: Porsche Brosseau on flickr.com