NYC agents including our own Julianne Bond weigh in on whether sellers should take their properties off the market during the holiday season in the following article reprinted from the website Brick Underground.
Should you take your home off the market for the holidays?
By Lucy Cohen Blatter
With thoughts of sugarplums and Amazon wish lists dancing in your head, showing your apartment may be the last thing on your mind this holiday season. Now, considering that the end of December to the beginning of January are traditionally slower weeks for the real estate market, should you save yourself the work (and potential mid-holiday prep open houses), and take your home off the market altogether until January? Well, it depends on whom you ask.
According to data compiled for us by StreetEasy, the number of sales searches last year decreased by 22.4 percent from December 23rd to January 1st when compared to the 10-day period prior to that. But that may not be enough of a reason to take a break from listing. Like most things in real estate (and life), the decision isn’t exactly black and white.
It depends on the kind of apartment you’re selling
There’s no one-size-fits all answer, explains Mindy Diane Feldman of Halstead, a sentiment that all the broker we spoke to echoed. There are some luxury condos, for instance, that she’d “almost never recommend taking off the market over the holidays, because there are so many out-of-towners and overseas buyers here for the holidays” who might be interested in those properties.
On the other hand, co-ops, which she describes as “the submarket that’s more oriented toward New Yorkers,” might see less interest over the holidays. “If you’re not going to be marketing heavily or seeing inquiries in traffic, you don’t want to burn up the time [on market] gratuitously,” she says.
Jay Glazer of Compass tells us he’s planning to take one of his larger, pricier condos off the market for the holidays in an attempt to avoid this “wasted time.” Of course, buyers’ brokers can also usually reach out and get in touch with the seller’s broker even if the apartment is temporarily off the market.
“I just think people are not seriously looking for apartments during the holidays,” says Glazer. “In seven years, I think we had one client who wanted to look between Christmas and New Years.” Of course, you also have to take into account demand for the apartment, says Glazer. “If people are knocking down your door to see it, don’t take it off now.”
It depends on the market
“If the market is skyrocketing (like it was in 2006), there are open houses the day after Christmas and the day after New Years,” says Feldman. Back then, she adds, “people were hanging from the rafters.”
But even when the market isn’t red hot—it isn’t now, by any stretch of the imagination—you don’t necessarily want to remove your apartment from the listing right this very moment, Feldman says. “I don’t think there’s been a Christmas-time since I’ve been in the business where I haven’t had a deal on my desk at some pont. There’s also always a surprise.” Also, she says, “there tend to be moments right before Christmas where there’s a flurry of activity.”
Why there could be more sales opportunity around the holidays
Corcoran agent Heather McMaster, who specializes in Brooklyn sales, says she never tells anyone to take their apartment off the market. Her reason: “There are always people who are going to be looking. People tend to relax more, and buyers may have more time to peruse. Why would you take it off the market? Why not keep it in front of people’s eyes?”
Plus, McMaster points out, even if you pause for a month or so, an apartment doesn’t show up as a new listing on aggregate sites like StreetEasy. “If you take it off, you’re just cutting down the number of eyeballs who see it.” In fact, StreetEasy confirmed that homes have to be truly off the market or completely “delisted” for 90 days to be considered a “new” listing.
“Another good reason to show an apartment during the holidays: “There’s less competition from other apartments,” says Julianne Bond of Engel & Völkers NYC. Inventory is down, so it can be good for a serious seller.” Bond says sometimes she’ll reach out to buyers around the holidays to check in and let them know she and her clients are still on the market.
“People ask the same question about whether they should take their home off the market in August, and my theory then, too, is to keep it on,” adds McMaster. After the holidays, she says can also be a fine time to refresh the listing, perhaps with new photos and maybe even a small price drop. Wait until people get out of their post-holiday work bubble, she says, but the second week or so in January is aperfect for a refresh.
How the internet has changed things
Bond says she used to take apartments off the market before the explosion of real estate listing sites. “Because of the internet and the expansion to international buyers, home-buying season really is year-round. Serious buyers are tracking the market all year long, and we don’t want to miss them.”
Darren Sukenik of Douglas Elliman agrees that the market has become year-long. And while there are slower parts of the year—namely the first and second week of August, and, yes, the last week of December, first week of January—it’s never completely quiet. “We’ve added some strong demographics to the buying pool in the last few years, namely families that in the past would like have moved to the suburbs but are staying in the city, and empty-nesters,” he says. ”Not everyone’s in St. Bart’s. And even so, people are looking at StreetEasy all the time, wherever they are.”