buying a house

Selling Over the Holiday Season

Historically, December is a better month to sell than the rest of the Fall or Winter, which is generally considered part of the "slower" season in real estate. There are a few reasons why this is the case and why it might be a good time to consider selling your house around the holidays. We also have a few tips and answer some often asked questions that you should need to know about if you are planning of selling during this time. And be sure to check out Patrick on Fox 7 below as he shares his tips for selling during the holidays.

Serious Buyers Only

This is one of the best parts about selling in the "slower" season - you're really only going to attract serious buyers. While this can seem like a bad thing it is far from it. This means that the buyers you get are extremely motivated to move on a house and they aren't as finicky and flaky as some spring buyers can be. Beyond this there are some specifics that make December a great time to sell if you are willing to play it right. 

December Buyers are usually some combination of this:

  • People that are relocating for jobs. There are lots of people that are relocating around this time of year and have a strong need to buy. They are usually under a time constraint and are looking to buy fast. 
  • People with a little extra cash to spend. This is the time of the holiday bonus; large cash bonuses get paid out when companies do well and this usually happens around the holidays. This means that there is a good chance that buyers have a little extra cash to use for that downpayment. 
  • People with time off. In December you have 2 weeks of downtime that you just don’t get any other time of the year. That means people who are looking to buy have a larger window of time to look and want to visit and see more houses.

Low Supply 

December is historically one of the months with the lowest number of houses on the market. In December of 2015 there were just under 8,000 active listings on the market in Austin. For the months of May through September there was over 11,000 listings. That is 3000 less homes available to buyers in December than in the Spring. What this means is that there isn't a lot of competition from other sellers. Additionally as we detailed above the buyers are more motivated during this time of year, this can lead to low supply and high demand - which is always beneficial to the seller. 

The Election

Now these reasons are general to most Decembers, however its important to remember that some effects are specific to certain years. For this December we just went through a very contentious election that had a lot of people on either side concerned. And traditionally when people are concerned about jobs or the future they are less likely to spend money, especially when it comes to something like a house. Now that the election is over we can expect a bit of a bounce back and some people who were thinking about buying in November but didn't, start their search up again. 

 

Best practices for marketing/selling:

  • Should I/should I not put up holiday decorations?

    • Yes, but keep it tasteful, don’t go overboard. It can create an emotional connection for the buyer as well. Still want to declutter/depersonalize.

  •  What do I do if someone wants to see my house on Christmas?

    • Yes. Only a very motivated buyer wants to see homes on a National holiday.  

  • Pictures of the home during winter should be done sooner than later before the leaves change and before decorations go up. 

Why You Should Buy In The Fall

It's no secret that Austin is considered by just about every metric to be a strong seller's market right now. In our most recent market report we shared that for August there were 2.8 months of inventory within Austin and balanced market is considered to be 6.5 months of inventory. This just further confirms what we all know - it's great to be selling your home but it can be difficult if you are looking to buy. However if you are looking to buy hope is not lost, we've got a few tips that can help you get the house that you want for the price that you're looking for.  

Currently there 2,519 homes on the Market in Austin, with another 4,874 are listed for sale in the surrounding areas. That is 5% more homes on the market than there were last year. And 958 of them are new construction homes.  Within the last week, of those homes on the market, 404 have lowered their price, 49 homes fell out of contract and came back on the market and about 90 homes came off the market (either withdrawn or expired). This creates an environment that can benefit a smart buyer. 

Here are four reasons it can be better for you to be buying in the fall:

 

Less Competition

Most homes sell in the spring and summer months. Everyone clamors when new houses come on the market during those months and all that competition can make it harder get an offer accepted, or even submit an offer in the first place. This past spring we saw it was quite common that buyers had to submit an offer immediately after the house when to market if they wanted a realistic shot of getting the house. With less buyers crowding the playing feel you've got opportunity to really search for the home of your dreams without worrying it will get snatched up immediately.

 

Serious Sellers

There are generally two types of sellers in the Fall, those who's homes went to market in the spring and summer and then sat until the fall or those who have to move out immediately, either because of jobs or family or something similar. This means that most sellers are seriously movtivated to sell. They aren't just testing the market or seeing what's out there, they need to sell and this is to the buyers advantage. 

 

Negotiating can be a little easier

Now can be a good time to make lower offers to see if the seller will accept them. The average sale in Austin goes for 98% of the asking price. Based on a median sales price of $289,990, that’s an average of about $6,000 of the seller’s asking price.If you can negotiate the seller’s another 1-2% off of that, that translates into a savings of about another $3,000 to $6,000.

Sellers who have been on the market for awhile are more ready to deal    

Of the 2600+ homes in Austin currently on the market, the average days they’ve been on the market is 88. This is double the normal average days on market of 40.  It’s a great time to negotiate for that dream home or that smart investment property purchase.

 

We hope this post has shed some light on some of the advantages that buyer's have in the fall. Be sure let us know if we can help you out with your home search or if you want to talk about any of the topics we've talked about in this blog.