The Holiday Season is often thought to be an undesirable time to sell your home. The good news for sellers is that Holiday buyers are much more serious at this time of year. Another seasonal advantage is that fewer homes will be actively marketed for sale, thereby reducing your direct competition. People still need to move during the holidays due to job transfers, growing families, accommodating elderly parents, downsizing and sadly, divorce or death. November through January does have its advantages.
1. Deck your Halls. Conservatively, that is! Homes often look great during the holidays, but only if sellers don’t go over-board. Decorations that are overly large or too plentiful can overfill your home and over shadow key features becoming a distraction for buyers. Opting for more neutral winter decorations and keeping it simple can help buyers imagine themselves living in your home. Simplicity sells.
2. Jingle All the Way. Be sure to ask the Realtors you are interviewing if they are going to be around during the holidays. You’ll need someone who will work hard for you and not disappear on a Christmas vacation. Having your agent around will reduce your stress and allow you more time to enjoy the season yourself.
3. Price Your Home to Sell. No matter what season we are in, a home that is priced right, and with thoughtfulness, will have every buyer feeling merry. Be sure not to overprice only to find yourself having to reduce in 2-3 weeks. When you hit the market you will be jumping into an existing pool of buyers who have seen other homes and are still wading in the water watching for new properties to come on the market. They are already well aware of what the market is doing in terms of prices. If you’re over-priced you might soon find yourself waiting for new buyers to jump into the market. The buyers who were in the market when you initially entered will then have purchased something else that was initially well-priced and well-marketed. A lump of coal, indeed.
4. When Tree Tops Don’t Glisten. When autumn rolls around and the trees start to lose their leaves, maintaining the exterior of your home becomes even more important. Bare trees equal a more visibly exposed home. Touch up the paint, clean the gutters and spruce up the yard. Keep safety in mind as well by making sure stairs and walkways are free of slippery leaves, snow, or ice.
5. Is This House Made Out of Gingerbread? To ease any concerns buyers might have about the condition of your home, have your home pre-inspected. Your listing agent can refer you to a reputable certified home inspector. This can reassure buyers that the house is in good shape, or point you toward repairs you might want to make prior to marketing your home. A pre-marketing inspection doesn’t mean home buyers won’t want to have their own home inspection. Obtaining their own inspection lets them be sure of what they are purchasing.
6. Do You See What I See? Take top-notch real estate photos. Many home buyers start their home search online from the comfort of their homes. Make a jolly first impression by offering lots of high-quality photos of your home. Be sure to make an impression by hiring an agent who provides professional staging and professional photography. One or two “drive-by” cell phone photos taken from an agent’s car, or photos with toilet seats up can really make your home look like the Grinch lives there.
7. Create a Video Tour for the Web. Hire an agent who shoots a professional video of your home ensuring buyers can still tour your property during the busiest time of the year. Shooting video will reduce your foot traffic, but the benefit is the buyers who do decide to tour your home in person will be there because they are fairly certain they already like it. Buyers will also be busy during the holidays. Posting a professional video saves them time with the potential of bringing them to your front door.
8. Baby, It’s Cold Outside. Give your buyers a place to warm up. Make your home inviting and cozy during showings by cranking up the heat or having a fire in the fireplace. Play soft classical music and offer homemade holiday treats. When you encourage buyers to spend more time in your home you also give them more time to fall in love with it, creating that emotional response and likely an offer to follow.
9. May Your Days be Merry and Bright. When you know a buyer is coming to view your home, turning on all the lights, opening shutters or blinds for natural lighting, and lighting a candle or two creates a warm and welcoming environment.
10. Be of Good Cheer. The new year is just around the corner. Take a moment to remind yourself that if you don’t sell this holiday season, there’s always next year, which is only a few short weeks away. Let your heart be light and have yourself a Merry little Christmas. It’s all in God’s hands.