While it may not seem so, the holiday season is a great time to put your home on the market. It is true that most people take their homes off the market near the end of the year to not disrupt their family’s holiday routine, whether due to hosting out-of-town family, traveling, or simply a desire to fully immerse in this cheerful, festive time. It is also true that many buyers tend to be busy during this time for exactly the same reasons. However, if you are able to maintain your holiday cheer while also scaling back on the travel, entertaining, and decorating for the holidays , your patience and restraint is likely to be rewarded with a sold home. Not only are the options on the market fewer during this time allowing your home to stand out, but buyers who are looking during the holidays tend to be more serious because it is likely they are looking out of necessity. It’s a holiday win-win.
So, what does it really take to sell your home during this time that is so busy for so many?
First, find an real estate agent who will be around.
Check with your agent to see if they will be around during the holiday season. Agents are people too and likely have some sort of plans. If yours has plans that involve a Thanksgiving/ski getaway for half a month, it may be time to seek the help of a partner of theirs in the same office or another agency altogether.
Get professional photos taken of your home.
The winter months are full of days that are wet, cold, and downright miserable, making potential buyers simply want to cozy up to their own fireplace with their favorite blanket and a cup of hot cocoa. And what better way for them to use that warm, quiet, relaxing time than searching for a new home? Make sure buyers who don’t want to bundle up and make the icy trek outdoors find sharp, professionals photos of your home when they come across it online. Some companies will even create a virtual tour video for an even more engaging way to capture the imagination and interest of a buyer.
Practice restraint with your holiday decorating.
If you are the type of person who goes all out for the holidays, try to practice a little restraint while your home is on the market. If your home looks like a true winter wonderland or Santa’s busy workshop, you could be distracting potential buyers from seeing your home’s best qualities. Make sure the home remains spacious and uncluttered, and only place decorations that complement the home’s usual look and feel. We all have tacky or poorly aged decorations that we keep out of pure sentiment and nostalgia, but this may be the time to leave them in that box in the attic.
Use seasonal decorations to accentuate your home’s best features.
Use holiday decorations to your advantage, and they may help make the sale. Hang holiday bells, silver ornamental balls on elegant string, or even mistletoe in a unique doorway or arch. Wrap garland or soft holiday lights up a dramatic stairway or along the rail of a stylish loft. Place festive candles in bay windows. These are simple ways to ensure no sellable feature goes unseen.
Play up the emotions of the seasons with your décor.
The holiday season evokes strong feelings of family and togetherness like no other time of year. When staging your home, create scenes that help the buyer envision making their own lovely holiday memories in each room. In the living room, have the fireplace going, decorate the coffee table with pine cones and holly, and a set cup of warm cider next to a book. If you have a Christmas tree, place tastefully wrapped gifts underneath. Set the dining room table as if you were about to serve a lavish holiday meal for a large family. Place a plate of holiday cookies on the kitchen counter. In the bedroom, drape a festive blanket over the bed and place some fuzzy slippers at the bed’s edge. Buying a home shouldn’t be a completely emotional decision, but during the holidays your carefully staged home may strike an emotional chord that a buyer just can’t resist.
Don’t forget curb appeal.
In the winter, barren trees expose the home more than other times of year. So, make sure your exterior is in top condition. Make sure gutters are clean, any unsightly siding is taken care of, and aged window frames painted. Since there are fewer daylight hours in the winter months, the holidays also provide the perfect opportunity to light up the outside of your home for buyers who will view it after the sun goes down. Use festive lights to accentuate porches, the shape of your roof, and to call attention to any unique architectural features your home may have. However, just like when decorating the inside of your home – don’t overdo it. The buyer, your neighbors, and the power company will thank you.
Selling your home during the holidays is a good idea. In January, the real estate market explodes with new homes for sale and your home could get lost in the bunch. Use the additional exposure and the emotions of the season to sell that home and have a truly happy New Year.
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