Believe it or not, the holiday season can be a great time to sell your home. You may think that spring is the ultimate season to sell your home due to more houses being listed and more people seem eager to buy. 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.
Why? First of all, there is less inventory on the market typically, allowing your home to easily stand out among the available inventory. And though there are technically fewer buyers overall, the buyers 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. When you pull out holiday décor this year, think like a stager or a designer. You don’t want to use every decoration or ornament you’ve ever owned. This year, for the sake of appealing to the buyers touring your home, use your best decorations as holiday accents in each room without drawing attention away from your home’s best selling features.
Your home may have large windows with a great view or maybe your home has a dream kitchen. Whatever sold you on your home when you first bought it is most likely the same feature(s) that will sell your house this holiday season. So, don’t cover up your view with an excessively large Christmas tree, even though you may have the high ceilings for it, or bury your living room in snow globes, nutcrackers, and an abnormally large nativity scene. You want to accentuate your home’s best features with holiday décor, not bury them.
Just remember that you should still enjoy the holidays in your home even if you’re trying to sell it. Holiday décor can go a long way in making your house feel like a future home for those touring it. If you have a fireplace, decorate it with garland and hang stockings from its mantle. Use candles and wallflowers that are iconic smells 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. The holidays can easily bring in the clutter, so make sure you stay on top of it. You want homebuyers to feel comfortable and warm the moment they walk through your front door. You want them to feel at home.
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 ones home to sell, however, there are a couple of easy tricks that can help attract homebuyers.
Price Your Home Competitively
If your home was a lemonade stand that was competing against a rival lemonade stand on the other side of the street, how would you make your lemonade more enticing to people passing by? Maybe your lemonade comes in a larger cup, maybe it comes with ice, or maybe it’s just priced lower than your competition.
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. Start off by seeing how much your home is worth by checking out online estimates 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 essentially 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 will (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. Maybe you live on one of those streets where everyone from miles around drives down your lane to see houses lit up in all colors of holiday splendor. 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.
Furthermore, 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 all the sticks, dead leaves, and any other debris are picked up and your lawn is neatly trimmed. Even though we have entered 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. 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
Unlike home sellers that live in coastal regions, there are many more home sellers living in mainland USA where outside temperatures are well below freezing during the holiday season. 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 frigid areas 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 path 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 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 also a great time to replace burnt out light bulbs and fix light switches that are not 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 buyers walk through each room.
6) Slay the Holiday Season with Professional Real Estate Photos
The absolute biggest thing you can do for your house in terms of marketing it to potential homebuyers is getting professional real estate photos taken. However, 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 your home doesn’t sell during the holidays you don’t want your house to still be rocking holiday lights in its listing photos come February or March, or you risk turning off potential homebuyers. So plan on getting your listing photos taken as soon as you can 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 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 or a view or any other amenity that cannot be fully captured unless it’s done by air, then aerial photography may be what you need.
Drone photography, in particular, has become an increasingly affordable option when compared to traditional aerial photography and can offer buyers a unique perspective of your home and can help make your listing stand out among the other homes for sale online. Furthermore, aerial photography can give potential buyers an overview of your neighborhood along with other amenities that may be within walking distance of your home.
Jeff enjoys writing about the many aspects of home-ownership. From how-to projects he does on his own home to mortgage payoff and investment strategies, he likes to create useful content his readers will enjoy. His dream home would be a small house on a lake or the Puget Sound, with lots of natural light and a dedicated space for his woodworking.