Sunday, November 2, 2014

Rules of Real Estate: Timing matters. Midwest Seasonal Slowdown Advice for Sellers and Buyers.

Farewell to jack-o'lanterns and spooky stuff...

November has arrived and the holiday countdown has begun!  In the Midwest, not only does our weather have four distinct seasons... so does our real estate market.  To achieve your individual real estate goals, timing matters a lot.

While the phenomena varies dramatically across the different regions of our country, seasonal slowdown in the real estate market is pronounced here in the Midwest! During the 4th quarter(Oct/Nov/Dec), here in the middle of the country, homeowner focus and finances are traditionally spent "decking the halls" and being merry! 

We in the Midwest tend to covet our holiday season.

For this very reason, 9x out of 10, I advise my SELLER clients to avoid listing during this period and/or pull their listing off the market if it hasn't yet sold by the time that late October rolls around. As an average transaction is anywhere from 5-7 weeks from contract to close, an October contract puts a Buyer and Seller move smack in the middle of the holidays. In the Midwest, most clients prefer to avoid that scenario. As a general rule here in St. Louis, a Seller who remains listed during the 4th quarter is either especially motivated or has received not-so-great real estate advice, in my opinion.  

Midwest Sellers: if your goal is to maximize your profitability, in my 12+ years of local residential experience, I urge you to avoid listing in the 4th quarter of the year. Most of my clients will attest that this is almost ALWAYS my recommendation. During the 4th quarter, Midwest Sellers tend rack up unnecessary days on market and battle winter weather and an unusually small Buyer pool that results in numerous price reductions and inevitably a lower sales price.

For that very reason, however, 4th quarter is a FABULOUS time for Buyers! FABULOUS. While there is less inventory to choose from, deals are a plenty! There is less competition, far less rush, and far more Seller desperation. If my Buyer clients are willing to remain focused on the process during the holiday season, I STRONGLY urge them to work the 4th quarter for all it is worth! Buyers are in control during the Midwest 4th Quarter. It is an AWESOME time to buy.

As a general rule during 4th quarter in St. Louis:  

Sellers- hold off until after the New Year to list in order to be on a more even playing field.  
Buyers- frivolously scour the current inventory to see if you can find a match, as you OWN this market!

A HUGE misconception in the Midwest is that a Seller and Buyer must hold off until late March/April/May in order to benefit from the strong Spring market.  Not true.  The fact is, once the clock strikes Midnight and the New Year turns, our local real estate market is back in full force unless the weather is especially treacherous! 

1st quarter is an excellent time for both Buyers and Sellers, as it is more of an even playing field.  Sellers have a plentiful Buyer pool eager to spend their money and welcome Spring in their new home.  Buyers have a LOT of fresh inventory to choose from, but not the competition and pressure that is generally encountered during the 2nd quarter of our real estate market.  In addition, tax time often puts a little more money in a Buyer's pocket, to aid in the closing process.  1st Quarter deals tend to be more amicable and pleasant deals for all parties involved.

The 1st quarter tends to be my favorite part of my professional year.  As the days grow longer and the weather warms, clients are renewed from the holidays and excited for the process.  Their energy is contagious... I thrive on it!  If you are contemplating a late 2014 or an early 2015 move (particularly in the 1st quarter), the time to contact a Realtor is NOW!  Knowledge is power in this process, and planning and preparation is KEY to a stress-free and profitable transaction.  I have been meeting with my 2015 Sellers all month and providing them with a healthy to-do list for the cold winter months.  They will be let out of the gate and prepared to list MILES ahead of their competition as a result!

Looking for advice or an agent to work with in the St. Louis area?  I am always looking for new clients and would love to chat with you!  I have numerous references both online and upon request.  Visit my website at to learn more about me and see what my clients have to say.