Nov. 11, 2016
Putting your home on the market in December doesn’t sound like much fun. But, before you let your inner Scrooge get the best of your festive spirits, keep in mind that there are some characteristics of the season that might position you for a quick sale. Deck the halls with a light touch.
Emotion is a big part of home buying and you can capitalize on that this time of year. Go light on all the holiday accents, however. Of course, you can put up a tree. Just make sure it’s not so big around at the base that it dwarfs the living room. You might put a little greenery above the fireplace, but don’t hide the beautiful mantle with everyone’s stockings. Yes, your most favorite nutcracker and Santa figurine can find a cozy spot. Just remember that a little jolly touch will look inviting, but an explosion of red and green everywhere will look cluttered. One person’s “merry” is another person’s “tacky”, so less-is-more with the holiday goodies. In case you are really sad about skipping some of your usual holiday decorations while your house is being shown, keep in mind that next winter you should be relocated into your new home and your big Christmas village and all the other ornaments will be out again! Curb appeal is still critical.
The same minimal touch goes for your outside decorating, too. Rein in any Clark Griswold impulses to have the house on your street covered with the most lights this year. A pretty wreath on the door or a string of lights accentuating the shape of the roof line are good choices. A big blow-up snowman... not so much. Another possible plus: a blanket of snow could make your home look like a winter wonderland and you don’t have to spend lots of time getting the lawn and flower beds in shape. You need to have a knock-out online listing.
The majority of shoppers look online to check out listings and plan which to see in person. During the winter months, bad weather makes this especially true. You want your agent to make sure your home shows great online with excellent photos of beautifully staged rooms. If possible, include a spring or summer photo of your home so buyers can see what it looks like during another season. Including a video tour with your listing is a big plus for potential buyers who can’t get there in person during a snow storm. Competition during the holidays is less fierce.
Lots of people are reluctant to sell their homes during this time of year, so the housing inventory is smaller. That may make it easier for you to get top dollar for your sale. Additionally, if someone is house hunting during the holidays, they are likely more motivated than usual. If your prospective sellers are willing to alter their holiday plans and go out in cold weather to look at properties, they are probably doing so because of a job transfer or something similarly compelling them to move in December or January. Create a holiday-friendly schedule for showings.
If you are travelling during the holidays, showings are easy. Keep the heat on so the house hunters are happy, and enjoy a little peace of mind that your home will be checked on while you are away. When you’re home, set black-out dates so you can enjoy holiday company and celebrations. Your agent will help you with this if you let him/her know your preferred schedule for showings. It’s okay to have limited availability this time of year. People will understand. It may look like a tremendous hassle, but selling your home during the holidays can be a stress-free experience if managed well. Partner with your agent to meet scheduling and staging goals and hope for a quick sale. If not, there’s always next year, right? And New Year’s Eve is only a few weeks away!