Emanuele recently held an open house for an investment apartment she and her husband own. They bought it two years ago and with its dramatic increase in value, they decided to sell it themselves.
So she scheduled her first open house on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend. A classic for sale by owner (FSBO) mistake? Apparently not. More than 10 buyers showed up, and two have already called back to schedule second showings. Emanuele is hopeful she’ll soon receive an offer.
Times have really changed. Holiday weekends like Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter were once considered off-limits for home buyers and sellers. It was difficult to find agents who were willing to work on those days, since they were convinced that home buyers were busy celebrating with friends and family.
Today, there are few days off in the real estate business. In fact, holidays are now considered the true test of serious interest. As some agents now say, if buyers will come out on a holiday weekend, they’re probably pretty serious about buying that home.
Rick Druker, a managing broker for Coldwell Banker based in Chicago, says he had brokers working full steam through the Memorial Day weekend.
“We didn’t advertise, but my brokers were working with buyers. I think it’s partly because the stock market has rebounded and partly because of interest rates and partly because people were off,” he said.
A former sales agent, Druker said he was usually busy with clients right up through Christmas Eve and then all the way through New Year’s Eve.
“I think there are still sacred days when nobody buys or sells real estate and no one works,” he said. “But oddly enough, Memorial Day just seemed to creep up on everyone. I didn’t even realize it was the holiday until someone asked me about working that Monday and I realized I wasn’t coming in.”
As for FSBOs, Druker said many homeowners are still successfully selling their own homes, but typically, they’re holding more than one open house to do it.
“Those days are gone,” he said. “And, many more homeowners are offering a 3 percent commission to the buyer brokers. My own brother-in-law just sold his own home and paid a half commission to the buyer broker.”
One agent said while she’s profited from the hot seller’s market of the past few years, she regrets not having as much time off as she might otherwise have had. By working on weekends that were traditionally slow, like Memorial Day, Labor Day, Easter Sunday and even Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, you make the full-time job of real estate agent almost 24/7/365.
“Buyers don’t like to be told that you’re not available to show them a particular property, and they don’t like to be told that the seller isn’t available either,” said the agent who asked not to be named. “So now if I want some time off, I just tell them I’m already booked for the day.”
“The next national holiday is Fourth of July. Because the holiday falls on a Wednesday, both the weekend before and the weekend after should be busy for agents,” Druker said.
“We’ll definitely be advertising,” he said. “I expect those will be busy weekends.”