Listing Your House at the Holidays? Why You May Have the Upper Hand

By Emily McCrary-Ruiz-Esparza

For those looking to list their homes, it may be worth it to preempt the summer rush, when the market is flooded with eager buyers and sellers alike. Inventory is high, yes, but depending on your market, you could actually be competing with an abundance of sellers for the best buyers.

Real estate agents Kari McGee and Erika George of Portland, Oregon’s, Living Room Realty weigh in on the surprisingly ripe sweet spots for sellers.

“There is this perception that May, June, and July are the strongest and the most ideal times to list, but we find that the sweet spot is actually quite a bit earlier than that,” says McGee.

McGee and George say that they find a sweet spot between late March and early June, after the Super Bowl, but before the weather heats up.

“The reason we love that February to March time frame is that we’ve seen those houses do really well,” says McGee. “The buyers looking at that time of year are serious and educated. Because there’s not a lot of inventory, they are excited and ready to pay. And we do actually see high prices in March. June and early July sale prices definitely tend to be high, but March is the surprise high.”

These off-peak seasons aren’t necessarily the buyer who hopes to incite a bidding war (though banking on a price hike from a bidding war is generally a gamble depending on your area). In fact, a more evenly spread market can mean that sellers have more leverage when it comes to the work buyers may expect on a house before the transaction.

“You have an excited buyer who wants to get a jump on things, and you don’t have a lot of inventory, so a seller has a lot of opportunity to say no. You can really weight buyer interest at that time of year, maybe giving a little less away.”

The advantage of listing during the holidays

If you’re not in the position to wait until the new year to list, George points out that sellers also find a favorable market around the winter holidays.

“March to February is our favorite sweet spot, but the other time we find listing to do really well, surprisingly, is November and December. With family in town, people are excited to go out shopping for houses,” says George.  

And just like very early spring, late-year buyers are serious shoppers, many of them eager to close before the holidays so they can be in their homes on Christmas day, and those in the investor category rushing to close before December 31. “That’s just one more reason there are definitely buyers out there,” George says.

If cooperation is what you’re after in a real estate transaction, November–December may be your time. “There is a lot of interest in getting things done quickly,” says McGee. “So even though there may be fewer buyers, the quality and seriousness of the buyers is usually higher and both sides are quite invested in making it work.”

But for those hoping to take their time, the holidays are hardly ideal. “Closing dates are a little more stressful at that time of year,” McGee says. “Lots of people want to be in their homes before Christmas or even before New Year’s. We have had many a frantic December 24 trying to get people into their homes.”

When it comes to the availability of agents at this time of year, sole proprietors may have a harder time covering their bases. McGee and George feel that their ability to tag team gives them a business advantage when other agents may have to sacrifice family time to show a property or close a deal.

“Kari and I are cousins, and we used to go on vacation together. Now our families go without us. I’ll for the first half of the week and then Kari will go for the second.”

“But that’s how we make it work,” she says.

More Like This


How to Win in the Most Competitive Summer Real Estate Markets

We talk to Raleigh, NC, real estate agent Corey Short about how buyers and sellers alike can gain advantages in 2018's hottest real estate markets.

Read More

Are You Ready to Buy a House?

Thinking of making the leap from renting to buying? Here are five questions that will help you determine if you’re ready to buy a house, plus tips from the pros.

Read More

The Best New York City Neighborhoods for Real Estate Investment

In certain New York City neighborhoods, purchasing real estate can be a seriously smart investment. We talked to NYC real estate investment pro Seth Levin about the neighborhoods in Manhattan, Queens, and Brooklyn that are ripe for real estate investment right now.

Read More

How to Choose the Right Real Estate Agent in 9 Steps

Every home buying and selling experience is unique. The market will change, as will your needs, your budget, time frame, tastes, and the length and depth of your search. Here’s how you can find the right real estate agent to guide you through the home buying or selling process.

Read More

It May Be Easier to Save Money in Manhattan Than in Memphis

A recent study shows that while some homeowners are able to put away a healthy share of income each month, others incur a deficit of hundreds, and renters in the same cities may be stacking a debt not easily overcome.

Read More

Why Mortgage Applications Are Denied—And What You Can Do About It

Buying a home can be as nerve-wracking as it is thrilling, and applying for a mortgage is often the most stressful part of the process. Here’s what you need to know about the top factors that can lead to a mortgage application denial—and what you can do about them.

Read More

15- vs. 30-Year Mortgage: Which Is Best?

Real estate season is on its way. We weigh the pros and cons of mortgage types examine which option will save you the most money.

Read More

By continuing to browse or by clicking “OK” you agree to the storing of first- and third-party cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts. Privacy Policy.