Merry Christmas! Joyous Kwanzaa! Happy Hanukkah! Yes – the holidays are here, and for most, it’s the most wonderful time of the year.
The holiday season is, on paper, from the end of November to the beginning of January, but some folks celebrate a lot earlier and later than that – and the department stores start preparing for the holidays much, much earlier! It can feel like the holidays begin before Thanksgiving and finally end at the end of January, which means there is a huge chunk of time that it can be very hard to sell your home. The “holiday season” is considered by most to be the worst time of the year to put your home on the market, in fact!
What happens, though, when you have to move before the New Year? When you’re on a time crunch and married to selling your home during the holidays, it can seem disheartening, but the season does have it’s advantages. Holiday buyers tend to be much more determined and serious about buying a home since the market is less competitive and there are less homes for them to choose from on the market. On top of that, everyone wants to be settled in their new homes before Christmas comes.
Read on to learn our best tips for successfully selling your home during the holiday season!
Deck the Halls! Well, Sort Of.
No, just because you are staging your home for tours by potential buyers, you don’t have to forego decorating for the holidays. Just make sure you don’t over do it. A Christmas tree or two in your home, with lovely twinkling lights and eye catching decorations? A wonderful idea! A giant, blow-up Santa Claus in your front yard that is motion activated to sing Jingle Bells? Perhaps not. Decorations that are too large or too many can make your staged home seem cluttered and overwhelming. Religion can also be a touchy subject – so definitely go for the holiday wreath, but perhaps stray away from holiday items with religious themes.
Hire a Reliable (and More Importantly, Available) Real Estate Agent
You don’t want to be out of contact with your real estate agent for two weeks because he is going on a long holiday vacation with his family. Of course, you should expect your real estate agent to be unavailable on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s day, but if you send your real estate agent an email on the 23rd of December, you shouldn’t have to wait until the 2nd of January to hear an answer. Referrals from friends and family can be a great way to find a reliable real estate agent, and you shouldn’t be afraid to ask them what their planned holiday hours are. A real estate agent that will go above and beyond to help you sell your home is invaluable if you’re trying to sell during the holiday season.
Seek Out Buyers That Are Motivated to Buy
If someone is seriously looking to buy during the holidays, you’ll know. They will push for quick responses and make it clear that they’re interested in moving things along as quickly as possible. If you come across a buyer that is interested but not motivated, you may end up still waiting for them to get things moving along when January comes along. Be proactive in working with your agent and your buyer’s agent to set deadlines and expectations for how you want things to be scheduled. You can also ask your real estate agent to put their focus on buyers who are almost certainly motivated to get things moving – college students, military personnel, or investors on tax deadlines.
Price it to Sell
You want your home to sell fast? Price it for a little less than what you normally would. No matter what time of year it is, if your home is priced low on the market, it will sell quickly, but this is especially true for those selling during the holiday season. It can draw in buyers who otherwise would have waited until after the new year to buy, too. A great price might just motivate them to start the buying process so they don’t miss out! While you might think it would be a better idea to gradually make small price adjustments and reductions, during the holiday season, it’s a better idea to lower your price before you put the house on the market.
Curb Appeal is Your New Best Friend
The winter can make your yard look dull. The grass browns or dies, the leaves fall from the trees, and the dirty snow from the road can push up next to your yard. It can also be hard for potential buyers to decide if they like the outside of your home if everything is covered in snow! If you can clear your driveway of snow, do it. Make sure your front steps are clear of ice. If you’re able, try to touch up outside painting and clear out the gutters. Make sure your house number is visible from the road and not concealed by snow. Also, pretty, simple Christmas lights can make a big difference as far as getting buyers in the holiday spirit goes – if you can make your home feel celebratory and bright before your potential buyer even walks in the front door, you’ve got a good chance of them liking the house!
Take Photos as Soon as Possible – and as Beautiful as Possible
If you can get great photos of your home before the first heavy snow falls, do it! You want your buyers to be able to see what their new home will look like in the warmer months in the year. In the more freezing months, buyers who are looking around for a new home are almost certainly most likely to start their home search from the comfort of their warm houses – on the internet or their mobiles. Make a great first impression with them by offering them clear and beautiful pictures! Some snow in the pictures isn’t bad if you aren’t able to capture spring or summer photos of your home, as long as the pictures are clear and easy to visualize what the actual home looks like under the snow.
Create an Awesome Video Tour
One of the reasons it’s harder to sell your home during the holidays is that people simply don’t want to venture out into the cold! When the temperatures are freezing and below, potential home buyers will thank you profusely for offering them a video tour of your home that saves them the trip out into the snow. This can be extremely helpful if you’re trying to sell in a place that gets extremely inclement weather, such as blizzards or polar vortexes. Make sure that your video tour showcases both the inside and the outside of your home, as well as all the rooms and closets inside the house. Want to make your video tour the best? Include a look into cabinetry, drawers, medicine cabinets, showers, and onto the back porch.
Got a Tour Coming? Make Your Home an Escape from the Cold
If a potential buyer does want to brave the cold to come and tour your home in person, make it worth their while. Make sure your home is cozy and inviting by turning up the heat a little, playing some holiday music, and offering some holiday treats on the kitchen counter – perhaps cookies. The longer the buyer stays in your home enjoying those cookies, the more time they have to admire how nice your home is! They will also most certainly appreciate your effort in making your home cozy and warm for them, and that will make you and your home a little more memorable to them when they start to think about which potential homes they want to seek out more information about.
If Your Home Doesn’t Sell by Christmas, Don’t Sweat It.
This would certainly be disheartening, but don’t worry – this could just be because everyone who is looking to buy a new home took a break to celebrate their family’s traditional holidays. The new year is just around the corner and everything will get back into the regular swing of things then. The holidays are stressful enough as it is – with gifts to buy, family dinners to plan, and dinners to prepare, and trying to sell your home at the same time can be a hardship. However, the new year is luckily only a few days away. Your house will soon be the talk of the town!
If you really need to sell your home during the holiday season, there are ways to do it that won’t take away from your regular holiday celebrations too much. Best wishes to you during the holidays and that you will be able to enjoy them in your new home!