The holiday sales slump is well known in real estate. People get busy with shopping, parties, and festivities, and put off their home-buying decisions so they won’t have to move in this busy season.
For hard-working Realtors, this lag time can be frustrating (plus it hits the pocketbook!). But could our remarkably robust market and unprecedented low inventory offset the traditional sales lag this year?
We talked to some seasoned real estate professionals to get their take on the market, and what they do to boost sales from November to January.
“This year, I am actually putting five new listings on this month, which is very odd for this time of year,” said Britt Lopez, a Realtor with Dallas City Center Realtors. “We see many investor buyers this time of year—I think because they are trying to get their money into a project before the end of the year for tax purposes.”
Lindsay Thomas, an agent with Russell Trenary, Realtors, said she’s watching the market with curiosity to see how the unusual demand will affect sales.
“It will be interesting to see if there truly is a big lag this holiday season since inventory is still so low,” she said. “But yes, typically during the holidays, real estate transactions slow down a bit and therefore it’s extremely important to market your properties. However, the same marketing tactics used during slow times should be used year round. I think you should always put forth the max effort with every client at every time of the year.”
Mark Manley, an agent with Virginia Cook Realtors, said he’s having a different experience this year.
“Sales do tend to slow down—thankfully, I haven’t had that experience so far at the end of this year,” Manley said. “I do several things that I think help me—first and foremost, I answer my phone when it rings and I have had agents actually say they were shocked someone answered…It’s not customer service if you don’t answer the phone. I also call people back almost immediately when possible but always within 24 hours, or sooner.”
All the agents we spoke with said they are employing techniques to enhance their sales to guard against a slump.
“A compelling price is the best strategy! There are many end of the year buyers who are looking to spend their money and close by year’s end,” said Joan Eleazer, Executive Vice President at Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty. “If a home has a compelling price they won’t wait—but be sure your home is in tip top condition [with a] pretty yard, clean windows. There’s competition out there!”
Lopez said social media and direct mail campaigns are a useful tool for for getting the word out.
“We use tag lines such as ‘A new home for the holidays,’ ‘We have your Santa list covered,’ and things like that,” she said, noting that Facebook and pages where Realtors share hip pocket listings are also a good resource.
“We also send out emails to about 500 agents in my database that work the East Dallas area to let them know of our upcoming and hip pocket inventory,” she said. “Plus, I have another database which I call my ‘sphere of influence’ that I email to. This generally gets the momentum of showings going. We can also try to entice people to close before the end of the year so that they get the homestead exemption in their name as of January 1.”
Manley shared another solid tip for increasing traffic to available properties.
“Often, I reach out to the agents that have either listed a property or brought a buyer for a listing in the general area of my clients listing…it has produced results for me,” he said. “I also make it a point to call agents that have showed my listings in the past just to say hi and remind them about my listing, especially if they didn’t bring an offer. I think we all can get busy and can forget about properties we have seen and may have forgot about.”
Do you think our red hot market will offset the traditional holiday sales slump this year? What are you doing to boost sales in general?