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Listing your home during the holidays

By: Viola Pruss

  |  Posted: Saturday, Dec 21, 2013 06:00 am

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Christmas season usually doesn’t come to mind as a busy time for the local housing market.

And it isn’t – but that doesn’t make it a bad time to put your home on the market, said local realtor Ron Wetsch with Royal LePage Premier Real Estate.

“People at this time of the year think nobody is buying and nobody is selling. And it is quiet,” he said. “But there are a bunch of reasons why now is a really good time and not to wait another month when there are more listers to compete with.”

Traditionally, December is the slowest month of the year for real estate sales, said Jon Hall with the Realtors Association of Edmonton. Prices dip and many realtors use this time to take a break from a busy year, he said.

Based on statistics from the realtors association, 79 sales took place in the region in 2012. In 2011 there were 86 sales, and 93 sales in 2010. Most of the sales were split between two-thirds single-family homes and one-third condominium sales, he said.

This year, Hall expects between 70 and 80 sales will take place in the Edmonton region between Christmas and the new year.

“When you consider that we are a multi-cultural society – just because Dec. 25 is a holiday for Christians, it may not be as special a day for somebody who is following a different religious tradition,” he said. “They are normal market days, they are just a little slower.”

Wetsch added that most houses go on the market in February and March, when the first snow has thawed and people start thinking about moving in the summer.

If you wait until then, you have another 10 or 12 houses to compete with, he said, and more buyers who go house hunting for fun. But nobody wants to trudge through the snow or go out in minus 20 degrees if they aren’t serious about buying, he said.

“Those that are looking now will be buying and there are less choices available,” he said. “There are usually only two or three people in your category that you are competing with.”

Listing your home in December also gives the seller an opportunity to buy a new home in the spring, when more houses are available, he said. And you may receive more money for your home now due to fewer competitors on the market, he said.

Yet winter time also brings along difficulties, such as icy walkways and grey weather. While winter buyers may be serious, some preparation is still involved in selling a home in the winter, said Hall.

“I’d want to make sure that the walks are shoveled and the lights are on and maybe put a light in the tree out front to overcome the darkness of winter,” he said. “There may be some staging things you want to do to enhance the curb appeal.”


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