Sunday, December 21, 2014 / by Vanessa Saunders
Changing trends mean sellers should stay listed during the holidays.
Ahh, December. The time when no buyer schedules viewings and no seller wants them to. "Take my house off the market 'til after the holidays" has been the prevailing Grinchy attitude for decades among home sellers during the holidays. But it can't be anymore. Things have changed, and the Grinch's way of dealing with the holidays by taking his home off the market no longer works. Here's why.
Like it or not, many home buyers these days are from overseas. These buyers don't necessarily share American's holiday traditions, and they are house shopping even in late November and December when American sellers aren't used to selling real estate. International buyers shop for American real estate for a number of reasons. Some want second or vacation homes, and see real estate in the United States as a particular bargain right now. They can visit in the comfort of their own surroundings whenever the urge strikes. Others come as part of a corporate relocation and choose to buy instead of rent. In years to come, they expect to sell their American homes at a profit. Until then, they can and work and live here. Some global buyers are taking advantage of the American EB-5 visa program which rewards business start-ups buying property with no-waiting, free "green card" visas. The normal requirement for getting a U.S. green card based on investment in a U.S. business is $1 million. However, the dollar amount of the investment may be reduced to $500,000 under certain circumstances, namely if the business is located in a rural area or in an urban area with a high unemployment rate. Areas such as in up-state New York's Hudson Valley fit this bill nicely, offering plenty of well educated potential workers desperate for jobs. Some buyers come here just for a place to park their cash. Consider the downfall of the Russian Ruble recently. The value of a Ruble has fallen 23 percent against the Euro and 30 percent against the dollar this year. Wealthy Russians with cash and property lost trillions if they kept their investments in Russia. The smart money got out, literally stashing away their wealth, some by buying Manhattan apartments with cash, apartments they never intended to visit. We recently sold a small plot of undeveloped land to a Chinese investor who wanted to own a piece of America. His reason? "Just in case."
American Homeowners are More Mobile!
Americans move far more frequently than they used to. Promotions, relocations, changes in technology can feed buyers into any area. And when the boss says, "We need you in Poukeepsie," you go. Employers often compensate employees being relocated with a juicy relocation package to sell their home and buy another. It doesn't matter if it's Thanksgiving, Christmas or Highway Safety Week. These buyers need a place to live, and often decide quickly. If you're not on the market when they're looking, you're not going to be considered.
It's The Internet...again!
Once again, changing trends of internet use figure in selling real estate. Internet searches for homes surge during the holidays as house hunters take advantage of time at home. It's easier to house-shop from the comfort of a cozy home office instead of seeing properties in person in cold weather. Buyers making short lists of what's available from listings available online makes website traffic jump at the local real estate sites. Sellers not listed will miss these potential buyers, who are being treated to the many real estate sites' visual tours, videos and information from a plethora of options provided by the search engines.
Some things never change.
Some of the reasons to stay the course during the holidays are still with us. Lower seller competition from those sellers who leave the market during the holidays gives those who stay a better chance of being seen and sold. And anyone shopping during the holidays is certainly more motivated as a buyer than the casual lookie-loos in springtime. So don't market your home like a Grinch during the holidays. Embrace the season for what it has become: prime time for many buyers.