Our subject today is “Tip Top Tips for Selling Your Home Over the Holidays“. We’ve got some great ones coming up in this article, but there’s something else that needs to be addressed first. Do you even want to put your home on the market during the holidays?
The conventional thought among prospective home sellers is that they should wait to put their home on the market until the holidays have passed. They think the holidays are not a good time to sell. That’s understandable. Especially if you live where there’s lots of ice and snow in the winter. But hey! This is the Bay Area and things are different here!
Here are some things to consider. Inventory of homes on the market goes down during the holidays. That’s because the herd mentality is that you don’t sell during the holidays. Lower inventory means those buyers who are looking have fewer options to choose from. You have less competition from other sellers. Also remember this. When those who waited until after the holidays do put their homes on the market, the competition among sellers will be much higher.
Also, consider this. Buyers who are actively looking during the holidays are serious about buying. Just a few of many reasons are that a significant number of buyers need to buy before the end of the year for tax reasons. Also, job transfers and relocations often happen during this time of year. January is traditionally the month for employees to begin new jobs. They can’t wait until Spring to buy. [Tweet “Consider #selling your home over the holidays. More #buyers, less competition.”]
We don’t have the freezing weather and ice and snow for months at a time here either. Yes, it can get cold and rainy but that’s nothing compared to back east. The weather barrier to buyers is actually minimal here.
Those are just some of the reasons to consider selling during the holidays. The idea was to get you to realize that this is actually a good time to do it.
So let’s say you’ve decided to put your home on the market during the holidays. What tips do we offer our sellers during that period? There are two kinds of tips. Tips to make your house stand out above the competition that remains and tips to make the experience easier on both the seller and buyer.
Let’s begin with marketing tips. These would be what are called in the business “staging tips.” The first thing we tell people no matter what time of year it is is to de-clutter the house. Put away or reduce those items that don’t really need to be out on the counters, tables, etc. The more stuff left out, the smaller the house looks. De-cluttering never fails to make the place show better!
Then come holiday decorations. This is the big thing people ask about. Should we decorate? We say, by all means, decorate! Holiday decorations can make the house show better and help create a festive mood. The trick is to not overdo it. Too many and large decorations can overwhelm the buyers and make it very difficult for them to focus on the features of the home that could actually be important in their decision to buy. We have seen some decoration schemes that make it almost impossible for buyers to walk through parts of the house or portions of the outside of the property.
Here’s one of our secrets for marketing during the holidays. The timing of marketing photos is absolutely critical. Be sure to have the marketing photos taken before you do any decorating. Again, you want the positive features of the property to show up well and not have attention taken away by the decorations. The decorations will be enjoyed when the buyers actually come to the property.
We take very high-quality marketing photos with as much detail of the property inside and out as we can. There is no limit to how many photos we can take. We then create a professional quality virtual tour that makes the property really stand out on the internet. We will consult with you through the whole process. (Most agents don’t do this.) Well, I guess this part is more of a plug than a tip. 🙂 It’s something to think about, though.
How’s the Weather?
O.K., more tips. Consider the weather. The days are darker during the holidays. The weather can be wet and muddy and cold. Well, cold for hereabouts anyway. There are some things you can do to overcome these conditions. First of all, keep the house heated but not too hot. A very cold interior or very hot interior will make buyers uncomfortable and can even make them want to leave before really seeing the place. Believe it or not, our experience has shown that homes that are too hot are more prevalent than those that are too cold.
To offset the darker days, turn on all the lights in the house ahead of time when you know a buyer is coming. It makes a huge difference in brightening everything up.
A fire in the fireplace is also a nice touch during the holidays. We do not recommend that, however, if you are not going to be home when the buyers arrive. Unattended fires in the fireplace are not a good idea.
When Should You Show the House?
Our final tips are not staging tips per se but more convenience tips to reduce stress for both the sellers and the buyers. First of all for sellers: You don’t have to make the property available to show every day. We recommend you make it unavailable to show during periods when it will be inconvenient such as the actual holidays themselves and periods of family activities that you don’t want to be interrupted, etc. It’s totally up to you!
The last tip has to do with the wet and muddy conditions that are possible during the holidays. This makes it easier on both the seller and buyer. On the front porch provide a means for buyers to wipe their feet. A piece of old carpet and perhaps some old towels in a nice container will relieve the buyers of anxiety about tracking up the house.
Additionally, you can include disposable foot covers with the towels. These are very inexpensive stretchable covers that will fit right over the buyer’s shoes. They are often called “booties” in the business. They can be removed and disposed of as the buyers leave the property. They are very inexpensive and can found most easily at paint stores and home improvement stores.
It is best however if a means of wiping off their shoes is available to the buyers before they put them on. That’s why we recommend the towels. Here’s what the foot covers look like.
So if you are considering selling, it is definitely doable during the holidays! Remember too that we have plenty of additional tips geared towards specific situations such as yours. We even have complimentary professional staging consultations available!
Call Libby or Ken at Guthrie Group Homes today at 925-628-2436 to discuss selling your home this holiday season.