Is It A Good Idea To Buy Or Sell A House During The Holidays

Dated: 12/06/2013

Views: 10566

One of the most popular questions I get at this time of the year is whether now is the right time to buy or sell real estate during the holiday season. Many real estate agents will tell you that it's a great time to buy and sell and for the most part I agree with the buying part of that equation but if I'm being completely honest, unless particular circumstances dictate otherwise, I've got a different opinion on the selling side. Hear me out!

Following the market
At this time of the year, inventory levels are typically at the lowest they will be until the Spring market. In our market in Atlanta, inventory levels have been low all year long. For example, at the time of this writing, there are approximately 20,000 homes (both single family and attached) for sale in the metro Atlanta market. Contrast that with a peak of approximately 40,000+ homes during the hot season and it gives you a good idea of just exactly how low inventory levels are. 
Buying a home during the holidays
When inventory levels are low it creates a competitive situation for buyers because there aren’t a lot of great choices to pick from which is why we’ll often see multiple offer scenarios in a hot market. At this time of the year, there aren’t quite as many buyers thinking about purchasing because they’ve got the holidays on their minds so it is a great time to purchase because there isn’t as much competition. It’s especially a great time to purchase because interest rates haven’t risen quite as high as we thought they were going to. On both conventional and FHA loans they are still under 4.5% for the most part.  Combine that with homes that have had a decrease in foot traffic and offers and it is possible seller motivation is higher than it normally would which creates a great buying environment. 
Selling a home during the holidays
So the reverse is true and it’s interesting to see just how many real estate agents proclaim it’s a great time to list and sell during the holidays. Unless I had a pressing reason or set of circumstances that dictated that selling as quickly as possible was my #1 goal then waiting until after the holidays to list and sell would be my choice were I selling my own home and here’s why. In metro Atlanta, the real estate “hot season” follows the Braves schedule. From March to August things are HOT HOT HOT. Before March and after August things cool down. A big reason why is because buyers for whom school choice as a criteria is important are out in droves during this time trying to buy a house before the start of the next school season. It’s a really large chunk of the market. 
We see more multiple offer situations on properties during this time because there are more buyers. The SAME argument is made that while there are more buyers that there is more inventory to choose from which is correct as inventory levels rise during this time as well. It seems to me at least that the ratio of buyers vs sellers favors sellers during this time even with the increase in inventory. Looking at my own personal experience in 2013, I received more multiple offers on properties during this period than outside of it on properties that I felt were priced right for the market. 
So unless you need to move by a certain date and listing right now is a pressing issue, then waiting until late-February to list is what I would do with my own house. With the additional time on your hands, do a home inspection and preemptively fix the issues you discover. That will help keep your maximum home value at the top of its potential. 
If you have any questions about buying or selling a home in metro Atlanta, don’t hesitate to comment below or reach out to our team directly. We’re here to help!
Blog author image

Terence Richardson

Founder/CEO of Terence Richardson Real Estate Group, powered by Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Sandy Springs, GA. ....

1 comments in this topic

  • Posted by Tashawn Howell
    12/09/2013
    Great article Terence!

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