by Neil Jenman
READING TIME: 3.5 minutes apx
You hear it everywhere: December and January are quiet months in real estate. It’s holiday season. Some agents say you shouldn’t even bother trying to sell or buy from the end of November until February.
And those agents who push auctions (the worst way to sell any time!), may announce, “No more auctions until February.” The media then reports “the closing of the auction season”. It all seems so inevitable, so final.
Sure, things can be “quiet” in December and January. But not for reasons agents tell you; which is really no reason other than “that’s the way it is”; as if grass stops growing this time of the year. Well, grass stops growing any time you close off water. You should see our poor farm now.
That’s the same reason real estate is quiet now. Most agents are closed. Many agents shut a few days before Christmas and don’t open until mid-late January. Great, isn’t it? Tell customers you are going away because real estate is quiet, but the reason real estate is quiet is because you are going away.
Close off water off and grass dies. Close real estate offices and sales die.
But not all real estate offices are quiet in December and January. Some have worked out that this holiday season is a great time to make sales. They realise the secret is in the word “work”. If they open their doors and work hard when their competitors are on the beach, well, open agents can make December and January their best months. For sellers and buyers who find such agents, they too can get a great result in the holiday season. If buying, they can find a home they want and if selling they can get the price they want.
It’s mathematics. Let’s say, in an average month, there are a hundred sales in an area. Let’s say there are ten agents in an area. That’s an average of ten sales per agent per month.
Well, sure, in the holidays, the number of sales might drop to, say, 30 per month. And let’s say nine of the ten agents are closed. If there is only one open agent, that agent is going to make all 30 sales, three times as many sales as normal.
If there are two open agents in the holiday season, they will still average 15 sales per month each, which is 50 per cent more than normal.
And that’s it: Simple mathematics which some agents use to their advantage to make December and January their best months.
If you want to sell or buy in the holiday season, find an agent open in the holiday season. And that means seriously open. All ‘hands on deck’, everyone trying hard to make sales. Good, hardworking agents do exist. Rare, but they do exist.
But does selling or buying when there are only one or two open agents really help you as a seller or a buyer? Is it better than waiting until February when the tanned agents are back?
First, when it comes to buying. Sure, there are not so many open agents, but this means you also have less competition from other buyers. If you find the right home, the one you truly love, you won’t have to worry so much about other buyers pushing you out.
If you’re selling, well, the same applies for you – with less choice for buyers because most agents are not just closing their own doors, they’re closing the doors of the homes they have for sale, you are likely to make a sale to buyers who would have bought a home from one of the other agents – if those agents had been open.
So, with more agents closed, you have less homes competing with your home. Granted, the opposite can apply. With less buyers and less competition, it could mean you may not get as good an offer. But whatever you get, it’s got to be better than nothing, surely?
If your home is listed with an open agent in the holiday season, at least you will get the chance to consider an offer. You can then say yes or no. With most agents and most sellers, it’s going to be no, no, no because they are shut, shut, shut.
So, if you can find a good open agent during the holiday season, it can be an excellent time to buy or sell.
From a selling perspective, the odds do seem to favour selling in the holiday season. In February, with more homes on the market, buyers have more choice. With less choice buyers often have no choice other than to pay the price you want. So, now can be a great time to sell.
One thing’s for sure: Unless you try, you’ll never know what could have happened.
WARNING TO AUCTION SELLERS
For years I have been saying (and proving) that selling by auction is the worst way to sell. But if you combine the worse way with the worst time, you’d auction your home the last Saturday before the Christmas “shut-down”. This year, that means this coming Saturday, December 21.
As is well-known, if a home does not sell at auction, it becomes an “auction lemon” – the buyers wonder what’s wrong with it. If it doesn’t sell at auction or soon after the auction, things just get worse and worse for the poor sellers – who are literally getting financially poorer as each week goes on and the value of their home declines.
If you know someone who is auctioning their home this Saturday and if their home doesn’t sell and the agent closes for the holiday season, well, that’s almost guaranteeing that the sellers’ home becomes a “lemon”.
Those poor sellers who are auctioning on the last Saturday before Christmas will now be under extreme pressure to lower their reserve price and sell now. The agents will be saying, “If you don’t sell now, you won’t get another chance for weeks.” And that’s unfortunately true.
So, here’s the suggestion: If you know anyone who’s been persuaded to auction their home this coming Saturday, December 21, then, unless they have got a certain buyer who’s certain to pay the price they want, they should CANCEL THE AUCTION. Right now.
Far better to have a cancelled auction and keep control of the sale process than a failed auction, lose control and create an auction lemon.
If you need a hand to cancel an auction, please call Jenman Support on 1800 1800 18.
If you need a hand to find an open agent in the holidays, please call Jenman Support on 1800 1800 18.
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