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December: To Reduce or Not to Reduce

This week our listings saw an average of 1.7 showings each.   Considering that the past seven days included the weekend following Thanksgiving, the show traffic was higher than expected.   Perhaps this year, Black Friday sales included real estate!

2009 has certainly been a roller coaster ride for real estate.   It started off at the bottom of the worst recession in years and finished off showing strong signs of recovery.   Home sales have picked up tremendously during this second half of the year.   As a practicing Realtor, I’m both happy and surprised to say that my listings have been selling faster than I’ve been taking on new ones which is a sign that inventories may be starting to head in a better direction.   It also means I’m ready for more listings, hint, hint.   I digress.   🙂

This certainly does not mean the slow ecomony has completely recovered.   We have a lot of room to go.   And for those sellers who were hoping to find a sale before the end of the year, what should they do?  

If your home is currently listed and hasn’t sold, you might be thinking about a price reduction.   Especially if your home has been listed for 60-90 days or more without a price change.   Should you reduce your price in December?

The short answer is that it depends on how urgently you need to find a sale.   If you can afford to hang on for an extra month or two, then you are probably better off to wait until after the first of the year.   During the December holiday season, priorities shift and the buyer pool for real estate temporarily decreases.   If you’re not getting many showings or offers this month, it doesn’t necessarily mean your home is overpriced.   It could just be that your prospective buyer is waiting until after the holidays.

Seasonally, the lowest average home prices through the year occur in January and February and they start creeping back up again in March.   This means that buyers writing offers in December and January are getting the best prices.   The price increase in March is likely due to buyers being willing to pay more after a fresh start and a new year.   So if you can swing a couple extra mortgage payments, you might be better off to hang tight, enjoy the holidays and rest assured that the new year will bring ready, willing and able buyers.

Of course if you are pressed for time, can’t afford your payments, or under other extenuating circumstances, a price drop for a quick sale may be just what you need.   As with any sale, it is always  a balance between time on market and maximizing your sales price.   In the month of December, that balancing act just requires a bit more give or take.

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