Considering buying or selling a home but hit the pause button because of the holidays? Think again. The holidays are historically a great time to buy or sell and our experts have some advice for making the most of the festive real estate season.
“Winter is an excellent time to buy or sell, and Idaho is the perfect place to do so during this beautiful time of the year,” said Garrett Stephenson, head of real estate for Homie Idaho. “It may not be the busiest real estate season, but there are nuances and season conditions that make it even more enticing to certain people in the market!”
According to Canyon and Ada counties MLS listings, 4,122 homes were sold between November 2020 and January 2021, meaning there is still plenty of market activity over this period.
To help you put your best foot forward during this busy season, follow tips for buying and selling during the holiday months:
- Keep it clean! Decorating for the holidays is the perfect time to help your buyers picture themselves in your home. However, not every surface needs to be covered in poinsettias or glitter. Keep your house neat and your decorations minimal.
- Showcase your outdoor spaces. The holidays bring in a lot of visitors to Idaho. Those extended family or friends can be your potential buyers, so make sure the outside of your house is snow shoveled, clean, and well lit. Adding some holiday lights is always a bonus to not only spread the holiday cheer but also to be a head-turner as people drive by your home.
- Find the right listing agent. The parties, gifts and get-togethers are always hard on your pocketbook, so do your homework and vet agents before you sell. Traditional agents can charge up to 3% of the sale price in commission. On average, for an Ada County home that is $533,950, that is roughly $16,000! Consider other options, such as a technology-based residential real estate transaction company that offers a flat fee to sell your home, but still provides a local agent and marketing you would with a traditional option. By going a non-traditional route, for the average-priced Ada County home, that is roughly $12,500* more profit you make on your home sale. That’s a lot of eggnog!
- Decide on your bidding strategy. As a buyer, the odds are in your favor over the holidays. Historically, inventory is lower in the winter months, which often means buyers wait until the warmer months to begin their home search, so they have more choice. If you are looking during this time, you will likely encounter less competition and are more likely to win a home buying bid. However, you should always discuss your bidding strategy with your buyer agent. Less competition doesn’t mean NO competition and you want to make sure you are still in with a chance!
- Speed up the process. With holidays and vacations on everyone’s minds, the closing process could be sped up (if that is what you want). However, this is also a time when key personnel overseeing due diligence — such as appraisers — could be hard to come by. As soon as you go under contract, think about the services you need and who you want to handle these.
- You can save money in all areas! From moving companies to commissions, buying your house during the winter is key to saving more. In warmer months, moving companies typically have waitlists. In the winter, you should have no problem finding movers to help you move (and can possibly secure a better deal). Selling with a low-fee brokerage will also save you thousands of dollars, so you will have more money to spend on loved ones or those in need and begin the new year off right!
Picturing yourself in your cozy new house during the festive season is the ultimate home buying motivator and covering everything required for a sale over quieter months is ideal. So — what are you waiting for?
**Based on the difference between the traditional 3% commission and Homie’s flat listing fee.
— Homie is a technology-based residential real estate transaction company.