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AU To sell or not to sell during the Christmas holiday season

Property Here - Wednesday, December 25, 2013

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News Corporation real estate journalist Andrew Winter.

News Corporation real estate journalist Andrew Winter. Source: News Limited

HERE we are at the time of year that has eagerly been awaited by children, and let's be honest, many adults, including me.

It is the season of great anticipation and it also tinged with a little anxiousness.

It is no different for the housing market.

So many sellers and would-be vendors share similar fears this holiday period, asking themselves if they should take the home off the market until mid January, or wait to list until after the holidays.

They also wonder if people buy during the holidays.

There are a number of issues to consider that are completely outside your control.

You need to establish if your local real estate agents are actually open and ready to trade over the holiday period.

Also lawyers and conveyancers need to be around or transactions go on hold mode.

The legal profession having its doors closed could be argued as the best reason alone to avoid trying to sell at this time. Even if you can attract a potential buyer and drag your agent away from the each/boat/pub/family (in no particular order) to secure them, you may find yourselves waiting for contracts, documents and answers to questions whatever state you reside in.

The reason a buyer chooses your home can be complex and the more time and thought that goes into the process the more likely the buyer may start to fall out of love.

Waiting time created by seasonal shutdowns is never good for real estate sales.

If however, it does appear both professions may be taking only short breaks, or even opening with minimal teams, and you need to sell, then postponement may not be necessary or desirable.

My many years of experience have taught me that buyers seeking new homes at this particular time of the year are the serious ones.

Demand however, can vary from area to area.

Inner city and urban areas may close down as residents disappear to the coast. But coastal areas, the country, even the outer 'burbs can shine during this festive season as numbers swell with visitors who can be tempted by the dream of a lifestyle change.

If your home is in one of these areas and is not listed, or actively marketed at this time, you could miss out.

The reality is wherever you are, there will be some really hardcore buyers still out there so not listing, or deciding to come off the market can ensure you miss out.

We sold our last family home with a deal that was concluded on Christmas Eve.

My advice is to consider your situation carefully; just adding days to your listing time is pointless and can have a negative impact on buyer's perception of your home if the area shuts down.

There's also school holiday syndrome when the kids want to turn the living room into a massive sleep out zone and the detritus of Christmas wrapping makes your home look like Myer at the end of a sale.

If you need to sell, remember that home listings generally diminish at this time.

That reduced listings volume can actually create a mini sellers market.

So if you are serious about selling and can put up with the inconvenience, any of these reasons could be the motivation you need.

Andrew Winter is the host of Selling Houses Australia on Lifestyle.