Super Bowl weekend will find many of us buying chips, whipping up dips, or ranting all about the bad officiating that kept Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints from making it to the big game. But real estate experts keep a close eye on this weekend for a different reason: It’s widely considered the official kickoff of the spring home-buying season.
Huh? True, spring may seem light years away, yet numerous real estate experts confirm that home buyers who plan to purchase property this year typically start warming up to the idea right about now—by poking around online real estate listings or popping out to an open house or two.
“Some buyers who may have hit the snooze button during the last few months and are now ready to shop for a house,” says Suzy Minken, an agent with The Maggee Miggins Group of Keller Williams Realty.
Gretchen Rosenberg, president and CEO of Denver-based Kentwood Real Estate, adds, “We always say the lights come back on around the Super Bowl.”
“I often find this is the time of year first-time buyers start expressing interest in homeownership,” notes Libby Levinson, a broker associate with Kentwood, who theorizes that holiday family gatherings often plant the seed in their minds. “Home buyers are often encouraged by family over the holidays to enter the real estate market.”
Is the Super Bowl the Groundhog Day of real estate?
Some industry experts have even dubbed Super Bowl weekend the Groundhog Day of real estate in the sense that the levels of activity seen at this pivotal point serve as an indicator of how the housing market will perform in the year ahead. And so far, the uptick in interest from buyers foretell a rosy future.
“The outlook for real estate looks great for 2019,” says Levinson. “The stock market dip and government shutdown have halted the typical January activity, but over the last few days, I’ve experienced a bit more optimism from clients and, as a result, they’re redirecting attention back into the real estate market.”
“I believe all signs are pointing to a healthy 2019 as far as home sales go—particularly in areas that offer an attractive quality of life in the form of more job opportunities, less expensive housing, or walkable neighborhoods,” says Cara Ameer, a broker associate with Coldwell Banker in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL. “I have had several sales occur in January, which is typically something I would see in March or April.”
So what’s the take-home lesson for buyers? For one, if you hope to buy a home this spring or summer, don’t wait! If you want a head start on the competition, start getting a lay of the land now.
“Home buyers should start shopping in January even if they don’t plan to make their purchase until spring,” says Levinson.
Super Bowl–themed open house: Good or bad idea?
Likewise, if you’re a home seller who hopes to get ahead of the curve, consider listing sooner rather than later—and maybe even hosting a Super Bowl–themed open house this weekend.
“A Super Bowl–themed open house can always be a great idea, depending on where you live and the teams in the game,” says Ameer. However, she cautions that sellers should schedule their open house on Saturday or else early Sunday—well before game time.
“You’ll want to make it early to allow people to get back for whatever their plans are later that day,” Ameer says, adding that this is also so sellers can enjoy their Super Bowl festivities, too.
“I have had situations when a home has been on the market where the sellers did not want showings after 3 p.m. the day of the Super Bowl as they were getting ready to host a party,” Ameer explains.
Another tip? If you do decide to host a Super Bowl–themed open house, keep your decor generic—i.e., hanging Patriots pennants might backfire with certain home buyers who aren’t fans of that particular team.
“There’s a lot you can do from a marketing perspective, but unless you are in one of the Super Bowl contenders’ cities, keep in mind that not everyone is passionate about various teams for whatever reason,” Ameer warns. “While I’ve never had someone not buy a house due to the team paraphernalia displayed, they certainly remark on it, then say, ‘Well, I’m sure if I can buy this house’—with a bit of a wink and a smile.”