The time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s can be busy.  Between dinners, cooking, decorating and shopping, many buyers and sellers decide to put real estate concerns on the back burner, which can make for a slower market.  However, the holiday season can be a jolly time for buyers and sellers looking for opportunities.

Buyers who are willing to trade some gift shopping for house hunting will enjoy a greater selection and fewer competing offers.  They’ll also have an easier time scheduling showings, arranging meetings with home inspectors and securing appraisals.  In addition, sellers with homes still on the market during the holidays may become more motivated, so bargains abound.  Lastly, buyers who purchase homes during the last few months of the year are able to take advantage of tax benefits and attractive interest rates.

 If you are thinking of selling your home in a time of turkeys and tinsel, the holidays can be a joyful time for you, too.  While a home for sale during the holidays is likely to have fewer showings, visits from prospective buyers may be fruitful with motivated, qualified buyers.  During the holidays there is also ample vacation time, providing buyers more time to look for a home than other months.

Many sellers may use holiday decorations to add appeal to their home.  This can be a good idea, but be sure not to go overboard.  Just like any other time of the year, you want to make a good first impression and highlight the selling features of your home.  While inflatable snowmen and Santa collections are fun, too much holiday décor can be seen as clutter and potentially distract eyes from great selling features, such as a nice front door or lovely view from the living room windows.

Also, remember that some home buyers who visit your home may not share the same religious beliefs that you do.  That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t celebrate your holiday, but keep it simple and strive for neutrality.

As always, if your house in on the market, you should keep it presentable and ready for sale, regardless of the season, weather or holiday.  You never know who will be buying your home and celebrating the holidays in it next year!

By: John Horton, Chairman, Austin Board of REALTORS®