No Holiday Breather for the Local Real Estate Market

The holiday season is not distracting determined buyers from finding their new homes. Pending sales of homes hit an all-time high for the month of November, according to the latest statistics from Northwest Multiple Listing Service. But while buyers are persisting, sellers are staying on the sidelines. November’s report, which covers 23 counties around Washington state, also shows the number of new listings plunged to the lowest level in 11 months, with King County having the overall lowest inventory level at 0.96 months.

Why are so many would-be sellers missing a key opportunity to get top dollar for their homes? Many have the misperception that the holiday months are a bad time to list a home. On the contrary, this time of year can be an excellent time to sell. Here are 3 reasons why:

1.  Holiday Buyers Are Highly Motivated—While the number looking may be lighter, those who are out there are serious. This time of year, nobody has the spare time to be out browsing, especially when it’s dark and soggy by 4:30pm. If they’re looking, chances are they are intent on purchasing.

2.  Homes Typically Show Better—Creating that warm, cozy feeling to help buyers fall in love goes hand-in-hand with the holidays. Between the decorations, the smell of holiday baking, and roaring fire, your house likely feels most like a home during this festive time of year.

3.  Fewer Homes Mean Less Competition—Most sellers don’t want to hassle with their home being on the market during an already busy time of year. But for those who can manage it, less competition means greater opportunity for receiving a strong, solid offer.

While a typical market might warrant waiting until spring, our market here is anything but typical. Seattle and the Eastside continue to defy all forecasts, with little indication of home prices or activity leveling off soon. Even with the inevitable rate increases, we expect 2017 to be another banner year for real estate.

Another though there may be a perception that a hot market means a home practically sells itself, now more than ever it is critical to be working with an experienced, full-service broker. A highly competitive market often means more challenges and potential pitfalls for both buyers and sellers. In order to fetch top dollar with a solid buyer, a listing requires thoughtful preparation, sophisticated marketing, and strategic negotiation. While a listing may generate multiple offers, at the end of the day, it only matters if it makes it to closing.