Is the Holiday Season a Good Time to List Your Flip?
The holiday season is coming, and as people plan their schedules and look for presents, real estate flippers have an important decision in front of them. Timing can make a big difference in your property’s selling price, and some property flippers dread selling in winter.
Markets with fewer buyers put sellers in a tough spot.
Many flippers hold off and remove their property listings during the winter, but this trend hasn’t always worked for investors. Some investors generate outsized gains by going against trends and selling during the holiday season, but this goes against the status quo. We will discuss the pros and cons of flipping your investment property during the holidays.
|Fewer sellers during the holidays.
|Less demand during the holidays.
|The buyers are more serious.
|Macroeconomic concerns loom large as families spend money on holiday shopping.
|Interest rates are usually lower during the holiday season.
|Real estate and banking professionals may not be available, causing delays.
|Holiday decor can make your home feel welcoming.
|Extra stress during the holiday season.
|You can get out of your mortgage sooner.
Con: Demand Dries Up in the Winter
The clearest disadvantage of selling in the winter is the lack of demand. You won’t have as many interested buyers during the cold months as you would get in the spring and summer. People have less time on their hands as they prepare for their holidays, buy gifts, decorate, and aim to meet deadlines at work. Increased consumer spending also leaves less money in prospects’ pockets, creating an uphill battle for flippers in the winter.
Markets with fewer buyers put sellers in a tough spot. The remaining buyers may have the flexibility to request lower prices. Sellers don’t want to feel shortchanged, but buyer’s markets give them less flexibility to negotiate.
Buyers and sellers want to close quickly during the holiday season, a dynamic that can accelerate negotiations and get your listing off the market sooner.
Pro: The Supply Side Also Dries Up
It’s no secret that fewer people look for homes in the winter. Many sellers know about this cycle and retreat in the winter. They wait until the spring to re-list their investment properties when buyer demand is at its peak. While you’ll have fewer buyers arriving at your property, buyers will also have fewer choices.
A declining home supply in the winter can offset reduced buyer demand. You’ll have less competition, and if buyers exceed the number of available homes, you can even charge more during the winter months.
Pro: You’ll Also Get More Serious Buyers During the Holidays
The holiday season gets busy in a hurry, which largely explains why the real estate market has less demand in the winter months. We shared all the reasons buyers don’t search for homes in the winter, but some people still show up. Despite the holiday spending and festivities, some buyers find the time to look at multiple homes.
These are serious buyers who want a deal as soon as possible. They will drive through cold weather and schedule visits to multiple properties while juggling increasingly busy schedules. Some of these buyers may want to close on a property before the end of the year to start the New Year right.
The lower interest rates reduce a buyer’s monthly payments and give property sellers more flexibility with their pricing.
You will get more people at your open house during the spring and summer, but not as many of them will be serious buyers. When the weather is warmer and people are less busy, they can do window shopping without the intent on purchasing a home. Buyers and sellers want to close quickly during the holiday season, a dynamic that can accelerate negotiations and get your listing off the market sooner.
Mixed: Interest Rates Are Rising, But Winter Shopping Reduces the Burden
Rising interest rates have made mortgages less affordable and have decreased the demand for homes. The macroeconomic conditions are currently unfavorable, but flippers will have to navigate the current economy this winter or the following spring.
However, winter shopping rewards buyers with lower interest rates, and that also helps sellers. The demand for housing influences lenders’ interest rates. During economic cycles with less demand, lenders will reduce rates to attract more borrowers, especially in the winter. Lenders don’t have to lower interest rates in the busier spring and summer seasons since more borrowers submit loan applications. The lower interest rates reduce a buyer’s monthly payments and give property sellers more flexibility with their pricing.
Real estate can be demanding at any time of the year. House tours, calls with realtors, and negotiations with potential buyers add up. Combine that with preparing for the holidays, and it can get quite stressful.
Con: The Key People May Not Be Available
Real estate is a people-oriented business, and even if you find a buyer, the other parties may be on vacation. Your realtor may take a few days off and miss calls from potential buyers. A good realtor will respond to follow-up requests and attract leads, but the holiday season will give them less time to focus on selling your property.
Your realtor probably will not be the only person less available during the holiday season. Home sales require several groups, such as lenders, title agents, and bankers. If anyone goes on vacation or doesn’t check their email as often during the holiday season, the sale can get delayed. It will also take more time to assemble the required documents to finalize the deal.
While holiday vacations can prolong the process longer than buyers or sellers would like, you can still find a committed buyer who will wait with you. You may experience a delay, but the transaction will eventually get completed if the buyer likes the property.
Pro: Holiday Decor Can Make Your Home Feel Welcoming
Many people put up holiday decorations every year, and seeing these decorations in your investment property can make potential buyers feel at home. This emotional impact can make your investment property more appealing.
It’s worth noting that holiday decorating can have some disadvantages. Selling in the winter commits you to holiday decorations because your home will feel out of touch without them. You’ll have to invest in holiday decorations if you don’t have them already, but you shouldn’t overdo it either.
Investors benefit from a flip after the sale. Until then, these investors must keep up with mortgage payments.
Con: Extra Stress During the Holiday Season
Real estate can be demanding at any time of the year. House tours, calls with realtors, and negotiations with potential buyers add up. Combine that with preparing for the holidays, and it can get quite stressful. You’ll have to shop for gifts, meet with family and friends, and partake in numerous festivities. Can you also market an investment property knowing there’s less demand? Some investors find the time to sell their listings during the holidays and capitalize on less supply, but this is not for everyone. You can plan out your schedule and allocate time each day for your investment property, but some elements of real estate investing happen spontaneously and become urgent.
Pro: You Get Out of Your Mortgage Sooner
Real estate investors use leverage to acquire properties, and it can get expensive to hold onto your properties. The common rule of thumb is to have a monthly mortgage payment below 28% of your pretax income. Investors with multiple properties may have more difficulty abiding by the 28% rule. While rental properties can provide cash flow, you don’t have cash flow from a fixer-upper.
Investors benefit from a flip after the sale. Until then, these investors must keep up with mortgage payments. Paying multiple mortgages can create financial strain and hurt your ability to keep up with other expenses. You’ll receive the payoff after you sell your property, but some people can’t wait until the spring.
Selling your property during the holidays frees you from monthly mortgage payments sooner. You can go into the New Year without worrying about the mortgage or having a clear end in sight. After the transaction, you can then shift your focus to another investment opportunity or hold onto the cash.
It’s Possible to Sell Your Property During the Holidays
Selling during the holidays has pros and cons, but it is possible. You’ll have fewer buyers, but the buyers will also have fewer choices. Selling your property in the winter can also provide lower interest rates for buyers and allows you to move on to the next adventure in the spring.