December 29, 2010
Selling your home during the holiday season between November and January can be a very stressful time. Getting ready for parties or cleaning up from ones you hosted at your home make it difficult to keep your house in showing condition all the time. Some sellers take their home off the market for a few weeks during the holidays but some serious sellers will keep the house listed throughout the season and for very good reason.
Buyers who are looking during the holidays (and cold weather) tend to be very serious buyers that you do not want to miss out on. Your competition is limited as well since a lot of homeowners wait until after the holidays to put their home on the market. This is a prime time to try to catch a solid buyer and not have to worry about competing with all the new listings that come on the market after the New Year.
Now that you have committed to sell during the holidays here are some tips to keep your house in its best showing condition.
Price it right
No matter when you list your home, pricing it right is always the number 1 priority. Pricing it aggressive this time of the year is even more important because once the New Year hits so do the new listings. The majority of these listings will be priced reflecting the current market trends which unfortunately is still going down. Current sellers will now have to compete with a bunch of new listings possibly priced much more aggressive than their home making it a lot harder to find a buyer. Instead of making small incremental price drops this time of the year be sure to be aggressive with the pricing the first time around to avoid chasing the market once the new listings start popping up.
Don’t overdue the decorations
Though a home looks great when decorated for the holidays make sure you do not overdue it. Keep it simple with all the décor especially with all the figurines and elaborate holiday scenes. Tone down any extravagant displays ala Clark Griswold and opt for some simple string lighting around some of the nice trees in your front yard as well as some simple decorations on the inside. You want to keep the home as simple and neutral as possible in order to attract not turn off buyers.
Keep the driveway and walkway clean
Nothing is worse than trying to show a house and the seller has not shoveled the walkway and driveway. I have been to some houses where the buyers just gave up and did not want to continue walking in the snow to get to the house. If a buyer can’t get into your home easily then they may not want to come in at all. Be sure to keep the outside clean after it snows; be sure there is no ice after you shovel. If the house is vacant and you do not live close by then be sure to hire someone to clean up the snow for the winter. The last thing you want is someone getting hurt on your property.
Keep the house warm
Sellers like to keep the temperature down because of heat costs but buyers who are not comfortable in the house will not stay long. A cold houses also brings on a negative feel to buyers so you want to keep the house warm and cozy. If you are home and have a fireplace, be sure it has been on for a while before the buyers come over. If there is no fireplace then turn the heat up probably a little higher than normal. When you encourage buyers to spend more time in your home there is more time for them to look at the good features of your house.
Make the house smell nice
Nothing is nicer than a nice smelling house but don’t overdo it with the candles and air fresheners. Yankee Candle sells some excellent fragrances that just about everyone loves. Some of the most popular candles for the holiday include Pumpkin Pie, Chocolate Chip Cookie, Cinnamon Roll and Christmas Cookie. Unless you like to bake cookies every time there is a showing these candles make a convenient alternative and make the home smell great.
Keep it light
Since the days get shorter during the winter, sellers need to make sure to keep the inside and the outside of the house well lit. If you are home during the showing, make sure to turn all the lights on in the house as well as the lights for the walkway. If you are not home during the showing and you do not want the lights on all day invest in a few timers to turn on a few lights when it gets dark. The last thing an agent wants to do is run around the house trying to turn all the lights on to make the house look inviting, that is your job.