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Sandy Balzer Tobin's Blog

By Sandy Balzer Tobin | Agent in Needham, MA

Should you take your Needham home off the market for the holidays?

A reader asked me last week to write a post about the housing market during the holidays. Specifically, should you take your house off the market in the weeks between Thanksgiving and New Years? It’s an appropriate topic this week and although buyer traffic usually starts to quiet down about this time of year, yesterday’s open houses in Needham were buzzing with buyers. I had 27 groups of people go through my open house and I spoke with another broker who had close to 50. He had five offers in hand by the end of the day. Clearly things don’t seem to be slowing down in certain price ranges despite the fact Thanksgiving is just days away.

I get this question a lot from my clients and my response is always: “I can’t sell it if it’s not on the market.” On the surface, it would appear to be a good idea. Take the house off the market and give it a rest. Buyer traffic is definitely slower during these weeks. However, it only takes one buyer to sell a house. This is another one of those clichés that has more than a grain of truth to it. You’d be surprised how many people are buying houses around the holidays. One year I put two houses on the market on the same day just two weeks prior to Christmas. I thought for sure they would get very light traffic. But both houses were under agreement in less than a week, one with multiple offers. If your listing is sitting unsold during the holidays, it makes more sense to look at your pricing rather than your timing.

Some will argue that this is a good time to take the house off the market in order to re-set the dreaded “days on market” statistic. But in reality, in order to re-set the days on market to zero, the house has to be off the market for at least three months. That would mean keeping it off the market  until at least the end of February. But if we don’t have a terrific amount of snowy and icy weather, our spring market in this area can begin as early as mid-January, right after we have wrapped up the holidays. Do you want to miss out on those buyers?

I’ll give you one more anecdote to consider. I had a beautiful listing that had been on the market for several months during the lowest point in the market a few years back. The sellers asked if we should take it off the market until March in order to re-set the days on market. I was leaning toward agreeing with them because traffic had been light. But in the end I said to them I couldn’t sell it if it wasn’t on the market. They agreed to keep it active and we had it under agreement on Dec. 26. A nice post-holiday present.

On a personal note, I’d like to wish a very Happy Thanksgiving to you all.


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