You’ve probably heard people say that the spring and summer months are the best times of year to sell your house. They probably also told you all of the popular reasons too: “most buyers like to house-hunt when the weather is nice”; “people with kids usually want to move before a new school year begins”; “your home will have more curb appeal when the garden is in full bloom”. However, if you missed the window of opportunity in the spring and summer, don’t lose heart! The temperatures may be dropping, but that doesn’t mean the chances of selling your house have too. It is possible to sell your home during the holidays and I’ve got some tips for you to keep in mind, as you get ready to put out that “For Sale” sign.
Deck the halls… tastefully
Use the time of year to your advantage when staging your home to sell. Turn up the holiday spirit and get out those decorations – it will make your space feel more cozy and festive. Just be careful not to get too carried away. Remember, you’re trying to appeal to a broader audience, so go with more generic fall and winter decorations. Try to avoid items that are very religious and/or personal. Try a classy wreath on the door, some greenery on the mantle and maybe have some cookies baking in the oven or cider simmering on the stove before a showing. It’s ok to put up your Christmas tree too, just keep in mind where it is being displayed. If your living room is on the small side, opt for a skinny tree this year to help the room still feel spacious. Decorations should be warm accents, but they shouldn’t be overwhelming.
Don’t discount curb appeal
Let’s face it, first impressions matter, especially when trying to sell your house. The outside of your home is the first thing people will see. And since buyers during the holiday season tend to be more motivated, you want to make sure they like what they see, as soon as they pull up. Rake up any fallen leaves and make sure shrubs and greenery are trimmed nicely. Touch up the exterior paint where necessary and clean out the gutters. If you want to extend some of that holiday cheer to the outside of the house too, you can. Just make sure to skip the inflatable reindeer or snowman on your lawn this year – simple string lighting around the outside of your house will be more appealing to a wider range of buyers.
Bad weather or hectic vacation plans may prevent potential buyers from making it out for a showing during the holidays. But thanks to online media, they can still get a close-up view of all your home has to offer. Make sure your online real estate listing contains lots of high-quality photos that highlight your home’s best features. You might even include some exterior pictures from other times of the year so people can see what it looks like year-round (especially if your yard is extra impressive at a different time of year). And if you can, record and post a video tour as well. It’ll help people get a better feel for the house, more than still pictures can convey.
Get an experienced agent
I’ve explained in previous posts some of the many reasons why you should always hire an agent when trying to sell your home. And during the holidays especially, you don’t want to DIY it. Seeking out motivated buyers during a busy time of year requires hard work and persistence. Hire an agent who is committed to you and won’t disappear as the holidays inch closer. Having a reliable pro in your corner will also help relieve some of your stress so you can still enjoy your holiday season.
Price it to sell
Some might argue that it’s more of a seller’s market during the holidays since fewer people choose to list their homes during the season. Less inventory means less competition, which is great for you, but you also don’t want to get too greedy when it comes to your asking price. Take current market conditions and area comps into account when setting your price. You want to choose a price that is fair to you and your home, but avoid going too high. Overshooting could cause some buyers to back off and wait until after the New Year or move on to another house entirely.