The general assumption is that the holidays are a bad time to sell your home because they unsettle your family and prevent you from enjoying the holidays. However, statistics show that you’re more likely to sell your home closer to the asking price over the holidays than the rest of the year.
A Redfin study of over a million homes between 2011 and 2013 showed that houses listed from December to March had 10% greater chance of selling near asking price than homes listed from late June to late September.
The upside of selling over the holidays is that competition is low and if a buyer is looking in your area, it equates to higher prices. Buyers looking for homes during the holidays are serious buyers and more likely to move through the process faster.
1. Price it reasonably
Just because the competition is away doesn’t mean buyers are willing to pay exorbitant prices for a home. You can be aggressive and insist on your advertised price but if its’ too high buyers will look elsewhere. Listings always receive the most attention the week it goes on the market and even when you drop the price later, it won’t get the same attention. You can use tools like Price Whisperer to get an idea of what your home is worth or talk to property managers like pyramiscompany who can help you set a realistic price.
2. Minimalize the decorations
Homeowners are always confused about what is too much or too little when selling a home during Christmas. Should I hang a wreath on the door or light up the Christmas tree? People carry bias with them. Potential buyers practice different religions, so don’t assume everyone loves Christmas like you do.
Your home looks more spacious with less designs blocking the pathways which allows buyers to imagine laying down furniture and personalizing the home for themselves. Putting up too many decorations is distracting and overwhelming, buyers won’t see past the clutter.
3. Holiday decorations for home sellers
If you’re stubborn and insist on having decorations during the holidays, tone it down. Don’t cover up major selling features like staircases, fireplaces, kitchens and stained-glass windows. A home stager is perfect for creating the ideal balance. Other tips that will help include:
- Buy a smaller tree that allows prospects to see the home interior properly.
- Store all gifts in a closet.
- Display centrepieces with pieces of nature such as pine cones.
- Keep a plate of cookies on the counter for guests.
4. Work with an agent
The major reasons why most people sell their homes during the holiday is so they could sell fast. An agent will help to accelerate the process, especially for first time home sellers who have no prior experience.
A real estate agent markets your home to serious buyers and provides advice on the different aspects of selling your home. They often have the contact for buyers who need a home as quickly as you need to sell.
5. Create a convincing listing
If you want to sell your home fast, you need to put in some extra effort to entice potential home buyers to brave the winter and visit your property. Your listing should provide detailed information about the property.
Avoid the temptation to lie as people appreciate honesty more. Hire a good photographer to take pictures of the bestselling parts of your home. Provide pictures of the home exterior during summer so buyers have an idea of what the home looks like all year around.
6. Keep your home clean
It goes without saying that an unclean house tracked by mud, snow and other debris is unattractive to potential buyers. Vacuum your home regularly, including the outside. Every part of your home that is visible to the human eye should look attractive and presentable. Keep the yard free of leaves and the sidewalk, driveway and front step free of snow.
7. Be available
Holidays are a difficult period to schedule showings as both parties often have events, parties and other holiday activities to attend. Try to clear your schedule or be flexible to accommodate potential buyers. To maintain the holiday spirit, block off important dates like Christmas Day, New Year’s Day or Thanksgiving Day.
8. Create a video tour
Video is all the new rage in online marketing and you can tap into the market by taking prospects on a video tour of your home, especially for busy/reluctant clients who can’t create time to visit in person. You don’t need hi-tech gadgets to make the video. If you have a good camera on your smartphone and excellent editing apps, you can create an appealing video. Co-ordinate activities with your agent to keep them in the loop.
9. Give people an incentive to buy
One way to entice new buyers is to offer an incentive they can’t turn down. For example, you could revamp the kitchen to include modern appliances or cover the closing costs. Special seller incentives and house improvements always sweeten the deal for undecided prospects.
10. Don’t discount the weather
The cold won’t keep serious buyers away. The internet exists for a reason and people make decisions off your listing description, pictures and video. Buyers like to shop homes from the comfort of their living room during winter.
Data from the National Association of Realtors Real Estate shows that 44% of people start their property search online. This includes virtual tours and narrowing searches down to specific searches. Optimize content for mobile since that’s where most buyers will be. Learn how to market smarter to optimize your listing online.
11. Create an inviting home
Winter is a miserable time for buyers to find a quick home purchase. If they make the drive over to your place, you’ll want to get them comfortable as quickly as possible. Light a fire if you have a fireplace, keep a hot cider drink, cocoa or coffee on standby and offer them fresh pastries.
While the holiday isn’t considered the best time to sell your home, people have different reasons for wanting to move homes. If you want your home to sell fast during winter, use these tips to maximize your home’s potential and get the best price for your property.