Before we start on today’s topic, I want to emphasize something that I talk about with my own clients: It’s very hard to time the market perfectly. The best strategy is to do what works for you in your specific situation. If you need to sell your home by early next year, then that’s what you need to do, instead of trying to perfectly time that decision with the market.

For those who have some flexibility or want to know what’s going on, I want to shed some light on the market.

It’s still a very strong seller’s market, the inventory of homes is still very low, and homes are still selling pretty quickly. In fact, I put a home on the market in November, and within six days, we got 12 offers, and the home sold for $25,000 above asking price. The interesting fact is that it sold for $21,000 higher than the most recent sale in that neighborhood. Some of that may have been timing, our marketing strategy, our pricing strategy, and other factors that we put a lot time and effort into, but the bottom line is that the activity we saw was unusual, and that’s a theme we’re seeing.

For sellers, it’s important to know that inventory is usually very low during the holidays, so if you’re listing your home, you’ll have a lot less competition. The buyers during this time are also more motivated, so you may see buyers submitting higher offers on your particular property.

However, you don’t want to list your home too close to the holidays, when many people, regardless of motivation, are going to be exiting the market. Listing your home anytime after the weekend of December 9 or 10 is probably the latest you want to go unless you have a serious need to sell. It’s also important to know that if you’re planning on listing your home in the new year, generally inventory will rise starting in mid-February, so you’ve still got some time to take advantage of that low inventory market.

I sometimes get a little bit of pushback from sellers who want to list in mid to late January so they can enjoy their holidays. The reason why I’d rather meet with someone sooner than later is that sometimes it takes time to prepare a home for sale. The best-case scenario is one or two weeks, and the worst is four, five, or six weeks, depending on what needs to be done. If you’re thinking of selling during that time period, it’s a good idea to meet with a Realtor earlier so you have time to prepare your home for maximum sale price. In my experience, we actually spend more time preparing the home than the home is on the market.

“There’s no one-size-fits-all strategy.”

For buyers, again, your plan needs to make sense for your situation. Figure out why it is you’re moving and what makes the most sense to achieve that end. There’s no one-size-fits-all strategy.

I can say this: inventory will grow in the new year. However, prices will probably rise by then as well. It’s kind of a give-and-take situation—you’ll have more options as a buyer, but prices and interest rates may go up.

If you or anyone you know is looking to buy or sell a property in the Orange County area or if you’re just looking to pick our brains about what makes the most sense moving forward, always feel free to reach out to me or my team. Also, if you have any video ideas you’d like to see me talk about in the future, please send them my way. 

Until then, happy selling!