Home Buying & Selling During The Holidays!

Home Buying in the Holiday SeasonAny time of the year, including the holiday season, properties do exchange hands. Just two years ago, I sold a house on Christmas day. My client and I weren’t in the same state. The offer was negotiated, accepted, and with the help of scanned documents, signed.  Associates of mine have stories of helping both buyers and sellers with real estate transactions on both the 4th of July, Thanksgiving and even on New Year’s Eve, moments before midnight.  We all understand that purchasing a home, for most, may be the largest financial decision you will ever make in your lifetime.  And yet, when the time is right, and the right house comes available at the right price, a person will take action.  If you find the property that fits your needs and at the price you can afford…the calendar date may not be important.

Home Sellers…

Sellers often think that putting their house on the market during the holiday season, typically between Thanksgiving and New Year’s is a waste of time – not so fast.  A seller in today’s market, characterized by low inventories and a healthy buyer’s pool, precipitated by increasing rents and low interest rates, actually has a distinct advantage.   While the Boston market and the surrounding communities remain at low inventory, buyers are driving up home values with multiple bids.  If you’ve considered selling your home, now may be the right time.

In the town of Arlington, in a year to date comparison with 2011,  34 more single family homes (232) have sold this year, 11 more multi-families (30) and the same number of  condo/townhouses ( 171).  A recent report from Reuters News, (10/2/12), tracking home values, stated that home values increased by nearly 5% from August 2011 to August 2012…  Additionally, home prices were up in September 2012, 6.3% from September 2011.  Who’s to say that buyer need will diminish as we approach the upcoming holidays.

Home Buyers…

In the Boston suburbs we often see homes sold in less than a week, many with multiple offers.  As for many home buyers, this is a tough bit of reality in today’s housing market.  Buyers can be forced into committing several hundred thousand dollars in a few short hours; it’s truly a frightening scenario, and yet, not uncommon. In the Arlington market, we routinely hear of homes receiving 5+ offers and in a recent case, exceeding the list price by $70,000.

When advising my clients in a multiple offer situation, I always suggest making the highest initial offer possible (within their own comfort zone).  In the case where several offers are being reviewed, buyers often do not get a second chance to increase their bid.  I advise buyers to really think hard about the offer they are going to submit, so they do not suffer any regrets — “Oh no, we should have gone that extra $5,000!”  Lastly, aside from the offer price, terms of the offer such as the down-payment and the closing date may influence a seller’s decision.

Markets do change with a host of variables including rates, the economy, inventory and even the weatherBut the same reality holds for sellers as well as buyers.  Homes get sold each and every day; your property won’t sell if it isn’t on the market.  Whether you’re a buyer or seller, you need an agent working on your behalf.  Every day in this country approximately 20,504 new cars are purchased (7.5 million/365). To me that sounds like an awful lot of cars.  In real estate, 13,205 houses are bought and sold each and every day as well.  Please keep that in mind in the coming months…

*Best Example… In 2011, total sales in first three quarters was $361,371,996 with total residential property units (Single Family, Condo/Townhouse & Multi-Family Homes) equaling 383.  In the same first three quarters of 2012, total sales are $427,751,252 with total residential property units equaling 438.  The difference from 2011 to 2012 is an increase of 18% in total dollars and an increase of 15% of residential units/properties.  In all likelihood we will exceed 2011 numbers substantially.

Arlington Home Sales 2012

Arlington total sales in 2011 were $476,588.201.  Of that, 24% or $115,186,205 in sales occurred in Q4 2011.  Additionally, There were 506 total properties sold (Single Family, Condo/Townhouses & Multi Family Homes) sold; 123 units or 24% were sold in the Q4 2011.  If housing sales continue the same in 2012, we will exceed last year’s total sales.

Arlington Home Sales in 2011


Written by Adam Rosenbaum, REALTOR® with Century 21 Adams KC

Contributions by James Trano, REALTOR® with Century 21 Adams KC

*Total sold dollars and total properties per MLSPIN

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