A: Holidays are always busy, and buying a home tends to take a backseat.

Potential buyers leave town or are distracted by festivities. If you are unable to have your home ready for sale by mid-November, I often recommend waiting until the New Year.

The main effect of the holiday season is a decrease in number of homes sold. Sales reached their lowest levels last December, down 24.2 percent from their peak in July 2013.

Prices fall as well. From July 2013 to December 2013, median home prices were down 8 percent.

Normally, fewer homes on the market would lead to an increase in prices.

However, the holiday market lacks the buyer demand to support peak prices seen in summer.

Devin Ratoosh,

Marvin Gardens Berkeley,

(510) 848-8888,

devin@ratoosh.com, www.BuyEastBay.com

A: If it’s a wow-factor house, then my advice is to list right now. Our inventory is extremely low, and for the right house, there are quite a few buyers who are ready to pull the trigger before the end of the year.

It’s got to be a house that speaks to a wide range of buyers, and of course the home needs to be priced correctly. I’m not saying that multiple offers are over in Marin, but we have seen a slow, down, leveling-off effect.

What I am telling my clients with homes that are a bit more unusual is to wait until they have a larger audience, after the holidays.

The good news is that every indication we have is that rates will remain low for another six months or so. The buyers for those homes will still be out there.

Penny Wright-Mulligan,

Pacific Union & Christie’s

International Real Estate,

(415) 380-2173, penny.wright-mulligan@pacunion.com, www.pennywrightmulligan.com

A: There is a mind-set among many agents that listing a property at certain times of the year, such as summer or around the holidays, may negatively affect the sales price.

While it is true that some buyers may be away or limiting their search for a new home during these times, it is equally true that inventory is usually significantly lower during these periods.

In our market, many buyers will continue their home search over the holidays, and the lack of inventory will serve to increase the number of potential buyers for the limited number of available homes, which may well result in a higher sales price.

The holiday season may be an inopportune time to market a home with panoramic views or special features best appreciated on sunny days.

While we often enjoy an abundance of winter sunshine, there is less certainty that this will happen. We would recommend that a seller delay marketing until early spring for those homes if circumstances allow, but for most other homes, the advantage of marketing during a period where there is little competition can be very advantageous.

Bernie Katzmann,

(415) 906-6000,

Vanguard Properties/

Leverage Global Partners,

bernie@vanguardsf.com;

Mike Shaw,

Vanguard Properties,

(415) 906-7000, mikeshaw@vanguardsf.com