Conventional wisdom says take your home off the market during the holidays when buyer traffic wanes and occupied homes tend to be messy and full of visitors. But this decision should be made on a case-by-case basis, taking local factors and the type of holiday into consideration.


There are plenty of good reasons to leave your home on the market during holidays:

  1. Your listing will be noticed due to reduced inventory;
  2. You've already invested in your listing. Perhaps you've already paid for staging and the extension cost is lower than re-staging again in a few months. Utility costs will should be carried through frigid DC winters to protect your home. Perhaps your overhead costs are high. Do the math with your agent, then decide;
  3. Your home may look more attractive during certain holiday seasons and seasonal amenities are especially appealing. Holidays tend to bring out the 'nesting urge' in buyers. During cold month holidays, a winter wonderland garden, crackling fireplace and/or 'snow globe' windows can inspire an offer. During spring months, gardens flourish, amenities like patios and charming outdoor space beckon. Summertime amenities like decks, barbecues, pools and party spaces are catnip to buyers. Why waste any of this special sparkle? Keep your home on the market;
  4. Holiday buyers are usually serious buyers. If a buyer is giving up some or all of their holiday time to find a new home, chances are they're ready to make an immediate decision. Don't miss out on that opportunity;
  5. Holidays are a great time for people relocating to DC to schedule a visit without disrupting their work schedules. If they're not able to tour your home during their trip, there's a good chance you won't get a second chance.

‘Long weekend’ holidays such as Labor Day, Fourth of July and Memorial Day are those you may spend out of town yourself, so keeping your listing on the market will not be a personal hardship. If you’re staying in town to catch up on some much-needed rest and relaxation, discuss ‘appointment only’ showings for that holiday weekend with your agent, specifying a certain amount of notice. But extended holiday periods like those in late November and December should be managed differently:

  1. Long holidays require discipline if you're living in the home. Listed homes must be maintained in good showing order, meaning no clutter, clean, well presented and available to show without owners or guests present. If that seems unlikely or impossible, take the temporary break;
  2. If you're a holiday lover with a desperate need to display your collection of 100 singing, light-up reindeer, maybe it's not the best time for showings. Buyers are looking for a home that fits their personality and lifestyle, not yours, so less is more if your home is on the market. Remember, when you list your home, it becomes a product. Selling that product at the highest possible price to an enthused buyer is your goal;
  3. If your home has languished on the market and you're thinking about ending the listing, waiting the 90 day period required to reset the DOM, and re-listing at a peak time of year, the November/December holidays may be a perfect time to do that. Discuss all aspects of this decision with your agent before making a decision.

Conventional wisdom in real estate is based on statistics and norms. Data shows that homes sit on market longer in winter and summer and sell more quickly in spring. This may have more to do with weather and seasonal behaviors such as summer vacationing than holidays, but a marked increase in DOM from November to December, when the weather in DC tends to be fairly constant, can be attributed to holidays. There are fewer new listings in December, so competition is lower. Remember that Closed Sales reflect contracts written 20 to 60 days prior, on average. The year's highest Sold prices were achieved in December, April, May, June and October. Again, these reflect contracts written in prior months.

  • If your home is so fabulous and so well priced that you have no doubt it will sell in hours or days, by all means list it.
  • If you're relocating and have no other option, list it.
  • If you're set on buying a new home and you'll lose that special property you've had your eye on if you don't make an offer now, list it.
  • If there's a financial hardship or some other emergency, list it.

Of course there are caveats to all of these scenarios. Discuss them with your DC real estate agent and create a strategy that accomplishes your goals.


If your home hasn't sold in the weeks or months leading up to a holiday, it's likely that no amount of seasonal embellishment or timing is going to make the difference. It's important to review your listing with your agent. Is your price too high? Condition in need of improvement? Does the home need staging or a parking solution? Each home has unique attributes and drawbacks. Assess yours and address them.

  • Review comps for your latest home value. Discuss pricing with your agent
  • Visit new listings that will compete with yours to see what buyers are seeing
  • Address issues with condition and presentation
  • Discuss creative solutions for drawbacks
  • Create proof sources for drawback solutions
  • Review marketing and discuss ways you and your agent can "refresh" your listing
  • Make showings as easy as possible for buyers and their agents.

Featured image courtesy of ModCloth