It’s tempting for many sellers to take a step back over the holiday season and wait to list their home until after the New Year. Some sellers may even pull their homes off the market temporarily to relist once the holidays are safely behind them.
This strategy works well for sellers who may have other obligations and can’t be as committed to the sale of their home during the holidays. Admittedly, there are many distractions – holiday parties, family obligations and an endless to-do list. But if you’re motivated to sell, staying focused during the holidays can really pay off.
The end of the year is typically a slower time of year for the real estate market. For motivated sellers, that means less competition. Once the New Year hits, there will likely be a flood of inventory from all those sellers who were holding off on listing their homes. Take advantage of the lack of inventory during this season to make your home stand out and attract your ideal buyer. The holiday season can present some unique opportunities to get your home sold quickly if you take the appropriate steps.
Price competitively. One sure way to make your home stand out against the competition is to price appropriately. The market is incredibly price sensitive. Even slightly over-pricing a home can result in lost momentum and extra days on the market. If your goal is to sell quickly, then over-pricing is not an option.
There may be fewer buyers actively looking on the market during the holidays, but more of these buyers will be serious prospects who are also making their home search a priority. Work with your listing agent to develop an appropriate pricing strategy that works for you and that will also catch the attention of potential buyers.
Make your home shine. Make sure your home is showing at its best. This is the golden rule no matter what time of year you’re listing your home, but it can be especially difficult over the holiday season. Out-of-town guests, holiday decorations and winter weather can all be challenges to getting your home in showing condition.
Holiday lighting, a fire crackling in the hearth, and festive decorations can make a home feel inviting and appealing but only if it’s been executed correctly. Think classic and minimal. Going overboard with holiday lawn ornaments, chotchkies or flashing, multi-colored lights could be a major distraction for buyers. Less is more.
Decorate strategically, get organized, and make a plan so you can easily and painlessly get your home ready for a last-minute showing request.
And if you’re putting your home on the market for the first time, you may want to hold off on the holiday decorations altogether, or remove them temporarily for the photo shoot. Second to price, excellent photography is one of the most important ways to make your home shine and to catch the eye of potential buyers.
A few extra pieces on the fireplace mantel or a garland on the banister can probably be overlooked in person, but it could stand out like a sore thumb in your property photos and distract buyers from noticing your home’s most impressive selling points.
Be flexible. The best way to sell your home during the holidays is to be flexible and make your home easy and available to show. This can be easier said than done, but it’s important to keep your end goals in mind. You’ve already gone through the work of getting your home ready to sell over the holidays, but if you don’t make your schedule flexible enough to get buyers in to see it, it will all be a wasted effort.
Buyers who are looking during the holiday season are often more serious and more motivated to buy and close quickly. Both buyers and sellers alike may take advantage of tax incentives for closing before the end of the year. Although, you should speak with your tax advisor regarding your individual tax situation.
Selling during the holidays also allows you to reach out-of-town buyers who may only be in town for a short time, house hunting during their vacation or in-between visiting family. Scheduling during the holidays can be difficult, so the more flexible you can be to get buyers in the door, the better the chance of a successful sale.
For serious sellers, listing your home over the holidays has its definite advantages. Less inventory means less competition and buyers who are searching over the holidays tend to be more motivated and willing to close fast.
Set yourself up for success to sell your home quickly over this holiday season. Price competitively to attract buyers, make your home shine (less is more), be flexible about scheduling so you can get potential buyers through the door and stay focused. Because, ultimately, what better way to start the New Year than with a fresh start and the successful sale of your home?