The holidays can still be a great time to sell a home, but too often sellers may unintentionally sabotage an offer. The National Association of Exclusive Buyer Agents recently surveyed its members to find out the biggest home buyer challenges they see during the holidays. Some of the biggest obstacles they reported include:
Limited showings. The biggest challenge is getting an appointment to view the home, according to survey respondents. “Many sellers have limited showing times during the holidays, particularly on weekends,” one respondent wrote in the survey. The homeowners may host visitors or be entertaining and may be more reluctant to take on showings. Survey respondents said getting the listing agent to even return their calls in a timely manner can be a struggle.
Lack of inventory. Some sellers take their home off the market for a few weeks leading up to and following the holidays. As such, inventory levels tend to drop drastically during the holiday season. But for buyers who hang in there, it can be a great time to get a deal on a home. “A home on the market in November through February or mid-March indicates a motivated seller,” wrote one survey respondent. “Add to this the fact that sales are at the bottom between Thanksgiving week and about a week after the Super Bowl.” Read more: Don’t Let Sellers Discount the Winter Months
Too many decorations. Holiday decorations may cover flaws or make a room look smaller than it really is. Some buyers struggle to look past all the decorations and the smells of the season. Check out these tips: 10 Staging Tips for Tasteful Holiday Décor
Delays. Meeting deadlines can be a challenge, buyer agents say, since financial institutions or other offices are closed or industry personnel (like the loan officer or inspector) are off around the holidays. Some sellers may be out of town too. Make sure your buyers do as much up front with their home search as possible, like getting prequalified and getting their documents in order, so they’ll be able to move faster when offices do reopen.
Snowy and icy walks. In colder climates, homeowners need to make sure they clear snowy or icy sidewalks and steps. Buyer agents surveyed say that too often sellers forget, leaving a dangerous and slippery front walk, steps, and porch. Also, one buyer agent says sellers need to make sure to keep the heat on inside, too, so the home isn’t uncomfortably cold when a buyer walks in.
Darker days. Buyer agents also say their buyers face the challenge of seeing a home in the daylight since it gets darker earlier this time of year. Keep the home lit during the nighttime and even consider a twilight open house.
Source: “Home Buyer Challenges During the Holiday Season,” National Association of Exclusive Buyer Agents (December 2016)