BURR Chicago, it’s getting COLD outside! Stores are bustling with shoppers, twinkling lights adorn Michigan Avenue, and I do believe I hear the faint crooning of Bing Crosby in the background. Then my phone rings....... and the person on the other end is inquiring about selling their home. Now. UGH. Some would argue that if I were a smart Realtor, I would smile, thank them and list that house immediately. But there must be something wrong with me, because my reply instead was “How do you feel about February?”
Greater Chicago is an extremely seasonal real estate market. As a collective population, we tend to stay put in winter. Nobody in greater Chicago tends to move to a new home by choice this time of year; typically doing so is a matter of necessity. Buyers here are keenly aware of this fact, so in my book that is reason alone to wait until after the New Year to sell if flexibility will allow. Listings that come on market in late November and December here are stigmatized, projecting seller desperation regardless of actual circumstance. That’s not a good position to start from. By the time the holidays pass and the market turns a corner, homes listed months before now have long market time. Long market time is another signal buyers to make a low ball offer. It’s a slippery slope. So NO, I do not want to list your house for sale right now, but thank you.
By April (widely considered start of the “selling season” in greater Chicago) there are a lot of buyers in the market. And with them a lot of of competing sellers, too. An interesting phenomena occurred in 2015, a seasonal anomaly. Buyers started coming out early, in January. JANUARY! While most sellers were waiting for Spring to list, the general inventory shortage that resulted or “early sellers market” was all the talk among Realtors around the proverbial water cooler. Will an early “market” repeat in 2016? It is impossible to know for sure but I can tell you this. Waiting to list until after the New Year will serve sellers well in any case, provided you enjoy the flexibility to wait just a few more weeks to maximize your return. What? You HAVE to sell right away? While you have guessed by now our timing isn’t optimum, there are indeed some strategies we can employ to ease the pain and position your property properly for sale in the holiday season. Sellers listing their home over the holiday season face a special set of road blocks to contract, and as with any listing challenge my advice is to acknowledge and address the situation head on.
Ho Ho How to Sell Your Home Over The Holiday’s - Debbie’s Do and Don’t List
Let’s talk holiday decorations for a minute. I’d like to keep your exterior and curb appeal as neutral as possible please. I personally have two, nine foot candy canes at my front door right now, along with life size elves, snowmen and a 3D virtual Santa walking around on my second floor. My neighbors across the street bought black out blinds in response to my several thousand exterior lights. Yes, I am that neighbor. While I cannot imagine a holiday season without every last ornament proudly displayed, I am not selling my house. When you are selling a home you need to mentally move yourself out of it per se, and try to imagine; and stage it, as the new buyers home instead. Potential buyers that come to see the property need to envision themselves in the house, not you. Do they celebrate a holiday and if yes, which one? We do not know. This makes the holidays the most difficult time of year to achieve this neutrality goal. My intention is not to strip away anyone’s seasonal festivities. A simple wreath in the door would be lovely, and please do display whatever else will bring you joy. But if you have twenty boxes of it, please keep some of it packed this year. Or bring it to my house.
DO celebrate your holiday with decorating that will bring you joy.
DON’T decorate to any degree that your home looks messy, or might serve to alienate potential buyers that might not even celebrate your holiday.
Let’s talk SNOW. I love and hate it at the same time. Winter property photographs are usually terrible, no green grass, no leaves. On photography day, I love snow. Snow is our friend. A nice clean blanket of white is most welcome and I’d love some glistening ice covered branches too, please! These magical mornings are brilliant to be sure, but they are exception. After the lovely photograph is captured, snow can quickly become our enemy; because, it has to be shoveled. Daily. If we are welcoming future buyers into their new home they should be able to easily get into it.
DO be happy while you are shoveling your front walk that mother nature has brought us a beautiful white canvas to enhance your showings.
DON’T forget to shovel that snow so buyers can make their way readily to your entry.
Let’s talk PRICE. The most important consideration to selling your home in any season is determining the best listing price relative to how quickly you would like to, or need, to sell. If you are listing your home in November or December, it is because you need to, so we shall assume for sake of argument you also need to sell it quickly. Lest, you would be waiting until after the New Year to list as your expert Realtor has already advised. We will begin by determining what the most likely sale price would be for your home in the spring. Next, we will run a report to determine the historical valuation impact seasonality has on your area. Armed with information, we can understand what the difference is, and price your home accordingly to sell quickly.
DO understand that your home will likely sell for less listing in December.
DON’T despair, you are doing this for a reason and it can indeed be done!
And as always having impressive, effective marketing materials on the ready to maximize our first week on market will be in place to Key 2 Chicago standard, featuring architectural level photography, custom floor plan renderings and an immersive 3D tour!
DO call Key 2 Chicago if you are interested in listing your home for sale or making a purchase during this hot market season for buyers. At your service!