It is 3PM on the day before Thanksgiving, and strangely I continue to receive new home listings for my home buyers. Maybe these sellers or their agents aren’t paying attention, or maybe they are desperate to get the home sold, but listing a home for sale immediately before a holiday is a terrible strategy.
Selling a home is a numbers game. You need your online listing to look attractive to buyers and their agents. If they like your online listing, chances are they are going to tour the home in person. Once they are inside the home, they figure out if they really like it. To successfully sell a home, you want to maximize the number of people who see it online and see it in person, which will eventually lead to an offer. (Of course the price needs to be within striking distance as well.)
There are certain days of the year when people are travelling or otherwise disengaged from the home buying process. Certainly the Wednesday before Thanksgiving is one of the biggest travel days of the year, but there are plenty of other times like July 4, Christmas and New Year’s Day that are equally bad. Web traffic to real estate sites can decline 30%-40% on days like this, so less people are seeing the new listing. Even if they are surfing the listings over the holiday, loads of people are out of town and not available to tour the home. I would contend that at least 50%, probably much more, of your home buying audience is not available to look at the home on a day like today. Why bother listing when no one is around?
New home listings get the most attention in the first days they are listed. You have a greater chance of an offer when more people see a listing, and you have a greater chance of a strong offer if it comes in within days of being put on the market. The more time that passes, the more buyers will want to negotiate on your price.
We are in a period of low inventory and some sellers out there may feel emboldened. They know they are likely to get multiple offers anyway, so who cares which day they put it on the market? The math here is simple. If you want to maximize the competition for a home, thus maximizing the offer price, you want more offers. Would you rather have 15 showings and 2 competing bids, or 40 showings and 10 competing bids? If you list your home when buyers and their agents are around, you have a better chance of more money.
Don’t let your anxiety about getting a home sold get in the way of this important selling strategy. Also, don’t let your real estate agent get antsy and list sooner than you need to. If you want to get the best offers, list your home when potential buyers are around to see it.