Selling Your Home During the Holidays
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Selling Your Home During the Holidays.....
By Julia Weaver, Redfin
Believe it or not, the holiday season can be a great time to sell your home. It’s true that the housing market typically heats up during the spring. However, the holiday season is often overlooked as a prime time to sell, especially this year.
Why? First of all, there is typically less inventory in the housing market, allowing your home to easily stand out among the available inventory. And though there are technically fewer buyers overall, the homebuyers that are looking are far more serious about finding a home within a specific timeframe. So, make your home warm and inviting and open it up to those looking to buy, because selling your home during the holidays might be your best present this year.
1) Stage for the holidays. Think clean, cozy, simple.
Yes, you should absolutely decorate your home during the holidays even if you are trying to sell it. The real question you should be asking is, how much?
One thing that happens to all homeowners is that we tend to accumulate a lot of stuff. This is especially true of holiday decorations. As you begin decorating, channel your inner stager or designer. This year, for the sake of appealing to the buyers touring your home, use your best decorations as holiday accents without drawing attention away from your home’s best selling features.
Your home may have large windows with a great view or an expansive kitchen fit for a chef. Whatever sold you on your home when you first bought it is most likely the same feature(s) that will sell your home during the holidays. Don’t cover up your view with an excessively large Christmas tree and avoid filling your living room in snow globes, nutcrackers, and a large nativity scene. You want to accentuate your home with holiday decor, not bury it.
Holiday decor can help prospective homebuyers imagine your house as their future home. If you have a fireplace, decorate it with garland and hang stockings from the mantle. Use candles and essential oil diffusers with iconic scents of the season, such as pumpkin spice or balsam and cedar. You especially want to keep your home clutter-free and need to clean it regularly. Belongings can easily begin to pile up during the holidays, so make sure you stay on top of it. Create an environment that makes prospective homebuyers feel comfortable and warm the moment they walk through your front door. You want them to feel at home.
Consider working with a professional home stager to create the perfect holiday look to help your home stand out from the competition.
2) Price your home to sell
You and your listing agent will most likely come up with a pricing strategy together based on comparable homes in the area, what the current housing market is doing, and what the demand for housing looks like or is projected to do. Ultimately, several variables go into pricing your home to sell, however, there are a couple of easy tricks that can help attract homebuyers.
Price your home competitively
If your home looks like all the other homes on the block with similar features, then a lower price point will definitely draw in more traffic than your rivals. However, if your home is the largest one on the block, has more acreage, or a double car garage and pool, you can price your home based on the increased value it provides. Check out online estimates for how much your home is worth and then compare them to other houses in your area.
Use strategic price points when listing your home
Have you ever noticed while you’re grocery shopping that almost all prices end in .99, such as $1.99 or $4.99? This simple manipulation of pricing is called setting strategic price points and actually makes the price of something appear smaller (or cheaper) than it really is. The same exact concept works when pricing your house to sell. For example, if you decide your home could sell for $500,000, pricing it at $499,000 can (theoretically) draw in more traffic and possibly more offers.
3) Make your curb appeal a top priority
Your neighborhood may actually look more appealing to homebuyers during the holiday season. You don’t want to go overboard with your exterior holiday decorations, but you want to make your house shine along with the other homes on your block.
During these winter days, your lawn may not be that lush green it usually is during the summertime and your trees may currently be barren. That’s why making your curb appeal a top priority is necessary when selling your home in winter. Make sure to pick up all the sticks, dead leaves, and any other debris and that your lawn is neatly trimmed. Even during the colder months, a few weeds that poke up from the ground can make your lawn seem neglected. If you have pictures of your home at alternative times of the year when your curb appeal is burgeoning with flora, these may also be a good idea to have available for homebuyers during home tours. This way, instead of homebuyers trying to picture your house in other seasons, they can just see it for themselves.
4) Keeping your property safe for homebuyers
Outside temperatures are well below freezing during the holiday season in most of the United States. Driveways and walking paths are blanketed in snow and ice, and icicles hang from gutters like glass curtains. A legitimate concern for home sellers in one of these colder climates is how to keep your property safe for homebuyers. The only thing you can really do is be proactive and break out that snow shovel and start clearing a path.
If you’re expecting snow on an almost weekly basis, then it might be best to hire out professionals to come by once a day and make sure your driveway, front steps, and any walking paths are cleared for people touring your home.
5) Turn on the (holiday) lights
To complement the coziness of your home, you’ll also want to make it bright. Turn on all the lights in your house during open houses and virtual home tours. It may be the darkest time of year outside but you can make sure it doesn’t feel that way inside your home.
This is a great time to replace burnt out light bulbs and fix light switches that aren’t working. You may also want to consider making all your interior lighting the same color temperature, such as a soft white which brightens rooms without giving you that institutional feel. This will help with consistent lighting throughout your home, creating a balanced feel as potential homebuyers walk through each room.
6) Take professional real estate photos when selling your home during the holidays
The best thing you can do for your house in terms of marketing it to potential homebuyers is getting professional real estate photos taken. In fact, research shows that professional photos can help sell your house faster and for more money. This is the one time you don’t want to have your holiday decor on display. In fact, getting your professional photos taken of your house before you decorate is a must because holiday decorations essentially create a time-stamp of your home.
If you have trouble selling your home during the holidays be sure your house isn’t still rocking holiday lights in the listing photos come February or March, or you risk turning off potential homebuyers. Plan on hiring a professional photographer as soon as possible so you can decorate for the holidays and enjoy the season.
7) Get Santa’s perspective with aerial photography
It doesn’t matter if you live in sunny Tampa, FL, or buried in snow in Minneapolis, MN, consider aerial photography to help make your home stand out this holiday season. If your home has acreage, a view, or any other amenity that cannot be fully captured unless it’s done by air, then aerial photography may be just what you need.
Drone photography offers buyers a unique perspective of your home and can help make your listing stand out among the other homes for sale online. It also gives potential buyers an overview of your neighborhood along with other amenities that may be within walking distance of your home.