Should you pull your Silicon Valley home off the market? A different way to do home Sales During the HolidaysAre  you thinking it’s time to pull your home off the market?

  • many sellers in late fall decide to withdraw unsold properties from the active real estate market
  • winter can be a good time to sell as the competition shrinks, and some homes look wonderful in their holiday finery
  • rather than pull your home off the market, you might consider keeping it on, but marketing it differently
  • we’ll suggest some strategies for holiday home marketing below

If you’ve been trying to sell your home in Silicon Valley but haven’t received an offer yet, don’t despair!  With our mild winters, you really can sell real estate any time of year, especially now, when inventory is so low.

When most sellers exit the market after Halloween, we typically see a higher absorption rate as serious buyers will be buying from the available inventory. That means your odds of success are higher!

Should you pull your home off the market? We think not, but don’t keep trying to sell it the same way!

Before you decide to pull your home off the market, it’s wise to evaluate the situation to learn what the feedback has been, what is fixable by you or your agent, and assess if selling it differently during winter might be your best bet.

First, the home selling basics

But before I tell you how to do it differently, it’s important to address a few key things and to make sure that all of the fundamentals are correct.

Pricing errors are often the #1 obstacle sand the main reason why you might feel the need to pull your home off the market.

  • Positioning in the market: how is the pricing compared to the competition? (only the most attractive home for the money will be selling in any market)
  • Comps: are you using recently sold or pending sale information in making your list price decision? The last 30 days is best, pending info, if you can get it, is ideal. Older comps will get you in trouble and reduce the odds that your home will sell.
  • What are the current market conditions? It’s not the same as last Spring.

All the marketing in the world won’t help if the buyers believe your house is priced too high for the current market. If you are getting no offers or only low offers, there’s probably a 90% chance or higher than the problem is over pricing.

Sometimes it’s not the price. When that’s the case, the next step is to understand why buyers are rejecting the property and to learn what can be done to mitigate those problems, whether now or in the future (if you do now pull your home off the market) . Often, these are fixable flaws!

  • What is the home’s condition compared to the competition?
  • How is the privacy?
  • Is the yard attractive?
  • Is it well staged and easy to see?
  • Are there odors?
  • Are buyers and their agents able to see the home without the listing agent or sellers present?
  • Is the home in a natural hazard zone that is spooking buyers, such as a landslide zone, 100 year flood plain, or a Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone? If yes, that will impact your sale price, so it’s important to not use ‘comps’ that are not in those zones if possible.

If it is not the price, it could be a few other things, or a combination of things. Perhaps the home or yard need tidying, staging or being deodorized.  Aggressive or smelly pets can hamper a home sale. Perhaps you are there during showings – sorry, but that is creepy to buyers!

Check out a list of potential selling issues here.

Once in awhile the “fixable flaw” is poor marketing. We sometimes see listings with no descriptions, lousy photos, no effort at staging inside or out, and so on. These can be improved, but most sellers would rather tidy their home and ask the agent for better photos than to take a price reduction!

Lastly, we have to consider that the home isn’t selling due to issues that are beyond your property line. These are really location issues.

  • If it’s something in the neighborhood, such as a neighbor’s junky cars or unkempt yard that’s putting buyers off, you won’t be able to do much about that. It will  hurt your home’s market value and the only remedy will be a price reduction.

But if your home is priced well, shows nicely, and it’s a mystery to your agent and to you as to why it hasn’t sold, then read on. Time may be on your side!

When it’s a buyer’s market, or when it is a declining market headed in that direction, it’s really a procrastinator’s market – buyers believe that if they wait, homes will be cheaper in the future. For people who want to buy now, the selection is lessening by the minute. So if you are patient, assuming your home is not overpriced or has some other “issue”, your chances of selling are improving by the moment.

Recently I wrote an article and did a 5 minute video embedded there on the Biggest Home Seller Mistakes – take a look at our Live in Los Gatos blog article for more info.

Implement a “Holiday Marketing” plan to sell real estate during the holidays

To make life easier for the next 4-6 weeks, I suggest implementing a Holiday Marketing Program. Showings will be fewer, but the buyers more serious. Here are my suggestions:

Homes often look their best during the holidays, and many buyers write serious offers during this time. If your Silicon Valley home is well positioned in the market and has had good feedback, hang in there! Take it a little easier the next two weeks but don’t give up. Your odds are improving!

Thinking of putting your home on the market during the holiday season?

You can begin marketing your home during this time with a “low risk” and low exposure plan for now, with the same plan as above but without having your house, condo or townhouse listed on the MLS.

It may be possible to sell your home “off market” via a quieter “Members Only: Show” MLS listing (on the MLS but not syndicated to sites like, likely with a more limited number of showings or more limited available dates to show the home.  Although normally I do not recommend this approach (because more traffic is usually ideal), in the middle of the holiday season it can work well for you.  One reason is simply that the home shows well and buyers who DO get in to see your home realize that they are fortunate to get a “jump” on the market.

If your home does not sell in December, you can then get the property the full exposure in the new year. Please note that days on market do accrue with the “Members Only: Show” listing status.  Talk to your trusted agent about this.  Or, if you are looking to hire a top Silicon Valley Realtor, please contact us today! Best first contact is via email, 

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