How many Realtors had to work this past Fourth of July? Given your profession, it’s safe to assume that many Realtors had to tend to at least some business on the most patriotic of holidays. Although not officially in the job description (if there even is one), working holidays is part of being a Realtor; and although the cons are obvious—not getting a day off, missing out on family events—working holidays as a Realtor does have its pros.
First, let’s take a look at exactly why Realtors have to work on holidays and weekends. Buyers want to see houses when they’re not at work. In other words, they can only see homes when they’re off work: meaning evenings, weekends and holidays. Furthermore, when do sellers expect to host an open house? The open house will most likely be on a weekend: on a Saturday, Sunday, and maybe even both (not including the broker preview).
Now let’s take a look at why working holidays as a Realtor can be beneficial:
- People looking at homes during the holidays are serious buyers.
- January is the biggest transfer month, so those getting transferred house hunt during the end of the calendar year (aka the holidays).
- There are fewer homes on the market during the holiday season (typically November through early January), meaning less competition and more money for the sellers (and the Realtor)!
- Homes show well when they’re decorated for the holidays, whatever holiday it may be!
- Some people have to buy before the end of the calendar year for tax purposes.
- Showings are fewer and less intrusive but more likely to be successful due to the buyers’ level of motivation.
- If need be, you can still have a house on the market but restrict or delay showings for a few days while your clients celebrate the holiday(s).
- Investors normally want to close escrow by the end of the calendar year for tax purposes.
- Sellers have an advantage, as there will be more homes on the market and these houses will be selling for less come the following months (less demand=less money).
- Lenders aren’t as busy during the holiday season and can process loans faster.
- Sellers can sell during the end of the calendar year for more money and delay closing so as to extend occupancy until the beginning of the following year.
- Buyers will have more time to look at houses and can go to showings during weekdays.
- Services, including appliance installation and remodeling work, are more available and at less of a premium during the holiday season.
- Buyers tend to be more emotional and spend more money—meaning the seller will most likely get an offer at or above asking price.
Realtor Experience and Advice
Will Webber is an agent with Keller Williams in Delaware and incredibly familiar with working holidays as a Realtor. On his blog, he writes:
I expect with my 600-plus transactions over the course of 25 years, I have sold homes on every day of the year. I collected final signatures for a transaction on Mother’s Day. I sold two homes during one single Thanksgiving weekend. One year I was showing homes on Christmas Eve and we closed the deal on Christmas day. I sold two homes by noon on Easter Sunday. I have an open house scheduled for Labor Day Sunday, and I am working on Monday because most people are off.
In an article for Realtor.com, Linda Kemp, a Realtor in Illinois, states:
“It’s my experience, both personal and professional, that buyers who are looking at homes during this time of year are serious buyers indeed,” she said. “I have watched homes sell right before Christmas. In fact, a few years back, one of my clients sold their home on New Year’s Eve with the buyers signing a contract right there on the spot.”
In this same post, Los Angeles Realtor Lee Dworshak continues:
“Experience tells us that only the truly motivated home buyers and sellers are the ones who will be out there over the holiday season. While most folks close their doors just before Thanksgiving and don’t open them again until mid January, the folks that are willing to give of their time and perform the due diligence required during this period are really serious about buying or selling.”
If you do find yourself working holidays as a Realtor, make sure you’re not wasting your time. Ensure that the buyers you’re taking around to showings have been pre-approved and that sellers are willing to cooperate with showing times. Taking the holidays off may sound tempting, but it could lose you a grip of money in commission. Therefore, always consider the pros and cons of every transaction that may coincide with a holiday thoroughly before coming to a conclusion.