The weather is simply terrible right now. But, the market doesn't seem to have cooled off. January will be good for listing.
Inventory is a funny thing. You can have 200,000,000,000,000 homes listed for sale in a town, but if they aren't homes buyers want, inventory levels become mostly irrelevant (although there will always be a few buyers who will buy anything just to be in a neighborhood). My favorite listing near our wine country office is a beautiful estate home that comes with 80 acres of high quality vineyard. A little pricey at $18M, but it's been on the market for over 1,200 days. There are several listings like that one that make it look like we have lots of inventory, but they just aren't selling and average DOM is through the roof (that's a real estate pun).
I recently dropped letters in a small tract of eighty eight homes and received three responses. Two agents called me on behalf of their clients and one homeowner called me direct. All of homeowners planned to list after the first of the year.
If you decide to drop letters, make sure your clients are pre-approved for a loan or have cash if they're cash buyers. Describe your client's wants/needs and state that there's flexibility on some items if there is any.
Be authentic. Many liar Realtors without a real buyer have dropped letters in hopes of obtaining a listing and that has made people skeptical. When people call you, they will question you to make sure you're for real and have an actual buyer. Answer their questions fully and openly.
Have the seller sign a compensation agreement prior to showing and then go sell a house.
The bottom line is that homes that show well and are priced at market sell. It doesn't matter the time of year. I'm sure that there are people who have over priced their home and placed it on the market in November and then blame the holiday season for the failure to sell.
Then they relist in the spring..in April or early May and the home sells. In their mind and in the stories they tell to others afterwards, the problem was listing at the end of the year. The truth is that their home has increased in value for a full 6 months by the time it got an offer and it was no longer over-priced.
This creates a dilemma. You can always get more for your house if you wait a few more months and the market is increasing in value. But you are not getting from where you are now to where you want to be. Is it more important to sell your house for X dollars and stick around for a few years or is it more important to sell it for what it's worth and move to where one really wants to be and spend the next few years there.
The problem is that sellers often want BOTH. They want their home to be worth more than what it is becuase they want the perceived benefits of walking away from the closing table with more money and so they start telling themselves little lies about how THEIR house really IS worth more. They start listing all the reasons and convince themselves that if they list it for less then they are leaving money on the table. In most cases when this happens, they're just wrong and it's not going to sell without a price reduction.
Agents propogate this process by not holding out where price is concerned. Instead of talking to 5 agents all of whom say that the home is worth about X-dollars and refuse to take the listing if it isn't listed within 5% of that figure, they take the listing knowing it won't sell and use it as a lead generating mechanism. After all...if you can't sell the listing then maybe you can sell a different home to someone that calls ABOUT the listing. And there's always the chance that the seller will see reason and lower the price. Heck there's even that rare happening where a buyer just falls in love with the home and pays more for it than what anyone else would pay except them had they just so happened to drop into the market right at that moment (every overpriced seller's pipe dream) and the agent will get a commission that way.
Really, the only downside to taking overpriced listings is the awkward phone calls that follow. That and a damaged success record. How many agents lead off a listing presentation with, "90% of the homes I listed last year sold vs. X% for the market as a whole. My listings sold for 96% of the original list price while the typical agent's listings only sell for Y% of original list...even though they'll tell you different." Also, most agents don't spend money advertising these homes as the reason for taking overpriced homes under one's wing is to get as many buyer leads as possible without investing any money.