Although everyone knows the holiday season is not supposed to be a good time to sell your home, sometimes there’s no choice. A job transfer, a family crisis in another part of the world—the unexpected happens and people find themselves listing their home in December. If you find yourself in this position, don’t despair. There are some advantages to selling during the holiday season provided you stage your home to your best advantage.
The following tips can make a holiday season home sale a bit easier:
Price your home to sell
Especially this time of year when buyers already have little to no competition with other homebuyers, don’t inflate your asking price. Just like any other time of the year, buyers will walk if they feel a house is over-priced. In fact, they might just decide to wait for spring to see if you’ve lowered the price by then. List your home for fair market value. If you aren’t sure how to go about establishing fair market, ask your realtor for help.
Boost curb appeal
We’re not talking about holiday décor, although we’ll get to that. When it comes to your home’s exterior, you want buyers to be inspired by the overall property, even when it’s buried in a blanket of white. Keep walkways shoveled and salted, remove anything even remotely resembling debris, and make sure all areas not hidden by snow is clean and in good shape. Pull up to the curb in your own car and assess your home’s exterior appearance. Ask yourself, if you were looking for a home to buy and pulled up here, would you want to get out of the car and go inside to see more?
Skip the DIY sale.
This is not the time to list your home “for sale by owner,” at least not if you need to sell quickly, or if you’ve never been a FSBO seller before. You want an experienced real estate agent who has access to serious buyers, and who knows how to sell a house. You should leverage the peace of mind you’ll get knowing that a pro has it all under control, and work on enjoying your last holiday season in the old neighborhood.
Use the weather to your advantage
House hunting in winter can be a pretty miserable experience. Snow, ice and cold temperatures add to the normal stressors house hunters already have to deal with as they traipse through snow, ice, and sometimes-bitter cold. When they arrive at your home, make it warm, cozy and comforting. If there’s a fireplace, light it. If not, set flameless candles here and there. Offer buyers a warm drink to encourage them to stick around and admire your home’s great features.
Put up simple, tasteful holiday decorations
While you don’t want to go overboard by any means, decorating lite for the holidays offers buyers a chance to imagine themselves celebrating future holidays in your house. Plus, any time you can evoke some holiday spirit, you’re brightening everyone’s mood. Hang a wreath on the front door; lay some seasonal greenery across the mantel and on the staircase bannister. Give buyers a reason to fall in love with your home. Try to keep it simple, classic and clean. Keep overtly religious or personal decorations in storage this year. You want to make sure your ornaments appeal to a broad audience.
If you’re really pressed for time and want to do whatever it takes to speed up the home sale process, offer incentives for buyers. Offer to install new appliances in the kitchen, or lay hardwood in the living room if you thing the incentive will be the nudge needed to get a commitment. Special seller concessions like picking up their closing costs or offering a home improvement can change a hesitant buyer into a buyer.