Selling A Home For the Holidays

Barbie Brooksher
Barbie Brooksher
Published on November 10, 2021
debbie7245 / Pixabay

Most people know spring and summer are traditionally the most popular seasons for selling a home(and home browsing). Temperate weather, longer days — and the desire for buyers to be in a new home before “BBQ season” — provides serious “juice” to the real estate market.

The common belief before selling a home, for years, has been that listing a home in the spring and summer will ensure the “most fish” for the bait you set. But it’s important to remember, during the milder weather, you aren’t the only “fisherman” out there.

In the spring and summer before selling a home, there are more homes being listed, giving potential buyers the license to be picky and take their time with a listing. In addition, with so many houses available, this requires more effort and strategizing to make a property stand out.

What the holiday season offers is the chance to emerge as the best (if not only) good option out there before selling a home. One of the cornerstones before selling a home, mastering how to sell a home is initiating enough interest for consumers to take the first step. Less competition goes a long way towards stacking the deck; people house hunting during the holidays want to make a purchase sooner rather than later.

With fewer options to choose from when selling a home — and a cheerier, more pleasant time of year serving as the backdrop — the advantage often goes to the one bold enough to sell a house during this unexpected time.

2. Before selling a home, winter sales are often quick (and profitable)If you were afraid the frostier weather might adversely affect the housing market, you can breathe easy. According to a 2013 study by Redfin, the chance of selling a home in the winter held steady at 65% — higher than any other time of year. On top of that, homes sold from December 21st to March 21st actually went off the market closest to the original asking price and spent the lowest number of days on the market. The fall, where Thanksgiving fits in, sees those numbers drop a little, down from 65% to 57% with an average of 34 days on the market. But as a property moves toward spring, according to the study, the potential for a solid, financial gain from a home sale remains steady.

This doesn’t mean selling a home during the holidays is a guaranteed boon to your coffers. (Far from it.) But it does mean much of the fear and uncertainty around selling a property during this time — whether for investing or accommodation purposes — should not be a deterrent to you exploring all your home selling options.

3. Flexible schedules

Before selling a home, most Americans take a majority of their paid (and unpaid) vacation days between the week before Thanksgiving and the arrival of Christmas. While this period of time can be hectic and busy — there’s all that turkey to eat and football to watch — there’s still quite a bit of downtime for most folks during the holidays.

This can serve dual purposes selling a home. It can offer you an opportunity to perform upgrades on a property you might not normally have time for. You’ll have the flexibility to clean and maintain a property, not to mention stage the home in a more festive and pleasing manner which can often add healthy margins to your final sale price.

More importantly, this sudden influx of “free time” gives would-be home buyers the chance to peruse your property beyond “usual” viewing times. Instead of waiting for weekends to display a property, or after work, you can set showings during the week — the day after Thanksgiving is a popular choice — which means more eyes and more

opportunities for someone to make an offer. As a result, investors should consider implementing a Thanksgiving real estate marketing strategy.

4. Leverage the holiday spirit

As the old sales axiom goes, before selling a home: “People buy on emotion, and back up with logic.” And there may be no more powerful emotional pull than the feelings associated with winter holidays.

From the music to the lights to time spent with family — to that inflatable snowman that seems to crop up in every neighborhood — the holidays are imbued with symbolism and imagery that many of us respond to powerfully, if unconsciously. And it’s not only residential neighborhoods that get in on the act; many cities go “all-out” to provide a festive ambiance downtown, in parks, and in locales frequented by residents.

So why not tap into this powerful emotional tone-setter and use it to sell your existing property before selling a home?

As anyone who’s bought (or sold) a property will tell you before selling a home: emotion is a big part of the transaction. Sure, the numbers have to match; but so do those sub-conscious, emotional factors that many home buyers aren’t even aware of.

By aligning your property with an existing holiday motif — which can often be done in a matter of a few hours — you can ensure your property makes a great first impression. (And increases your chances of making a deal much to your liking.)

5. When selling a home, always remember, A New Year means new jobs and people on the move

The end of the year is not just for shopping-mall excursions and too many servings of pumpkin pie. It’s also when many businesses throughout the US offer positions to new employees. (In the hopes they can have their “new team” set up for the new year.)

For example, according to the Bureau of Labor in January of 2015, last January non-farming employment saw an increase of approximately 151,000 jobs in the US. (In many cases, these were jobs in which the employee relocated.)

And if there’s one sector of holiday home buyers who are highly motivated, it’s the individual and/or family relocating due to a new job. The good news: job relocation buyers want an expedited closing process. The bad news: job relocation buyers want an expedited closing process.

So, if you’ve got your ducks in a row before selling a home — and you’re ready to move on from a property, quickly — then tapping into this powerful, psychological motivator to sell your house can be a lucrative way to go.

Believe it or not, before selling a home, the holiday season can be a great time to sell your home. It’s true that the housing market typically heats up during the spring. However, the holiday season is often overlooked as a prime time to sell, especially this year when selling a home.

Why? First of all, there is typically less inventory in the housing market, allowing your home to easily stand out among the available inventory. And though there are technically fewer buyers overall, the home buyers that are looking are far more serious about finding a home within a specific time frame. So, make your home warm and inviting and open it up to those looking to buy, because selling your home during the holidays might be your best present this year. 

Yes, you should absolutely decorate your home during the holidays even if you are trying to sell a home. The real question you should be asking is, how much before selling a home?  

One thing that happens to all homeowners is that we tend to accumulate a lot of stuff. This is especially true of holiday decorations. As you begin decorating, channel your inner stager or designer. This year, for the sake of appealing to the buyers touring your home, use your best decorations as holiday accents without drawing attention away from your home’s best-selling features.

Your home may have large windows with a great view or an expansive kitchen fit for a chef. Whatever sold you on your home when you first bought it is most likely the same feature(s) that will sell your home during the holidays. Don’t cover up your view with an excessively large Christmas tree and avoid filling your living room in snow globes, nutcrackers, and a large nativity scene before selling a home. You want to accentuate your home with holiday decor, not bury it.

Before selling a home, remember Holiday decor can help prospective home buyers imagine your house as their future home. If you have a fireplace, decorate it with garland and hang stockings from the mantle. Use candles and essential oil diffusers with iconic scents of the season, such as pumpkin spice or balsam and cedar. You especially want to keep your home clutter-free and need to clean it regularly. Belongings can easily begin to pile up during the holidays, so make sure you stay on top of it. Create an environment that makes prospective home buyers feel comfortable and warm the moment they walk through your front door. You want them to feel at home.

Consider working with a professional home stager before selling a home, so you can create the perfect holiday look to help your home stand out from the competition, before selling a home.

Before selling a home, you and your listing agent will most likely come up with a pricing strategy together based on comparable homes in the area, what the current housing market is doing, and what the demand for housing looks like or is projected to do.

Ultimately, several variables go into pricing your home to sell, however, there are a couple of easy tricks that can help attract home buyers.

Price your home competitively

Before selling a home, if your home looks like all the other homes on the block with similar features, then a lower price point will definitely draw in more traffic than your rivals. When selling a home, however, if your home is the largest one on the block, has more acreage, or a double car garage and pool, you can price your home based on the increased value it provides. Check out online estimates for how much your home is worth and then compare them to other houses in your area.

During these winter days when selling a home, your lawn may not be that lush green it usually is during the summertime and your trees may currently be barren. That’s why making your curb appeal a top priority is necessary when selling your home in winter. Make sure to pick up all the sticks when selling a home, pick up dead leaves, and any other debris, and that your lawn is neatly trimmed. Even during the colder months, a few weeds that poke up from the ground can make your lawn seem neglected. If you have pictures of your home at alternative times of the year when your curb appeal is burgeoning with flora, these may also be a good idea to have available for home buyers during home tours. This way, instead of home buyers trying to picture your house in other seasons, they can just see it for themselves.

4) Keeping your property safe for homebuyers

Outside temperatures are well below freezing during the holiday season in most of the United States. Driveways and walking paths are blanketed in snow and ice, and icicles hang from gutters like glass curtains. A legitimate concern for home sellers in one of these colder climates is how to keep your property safe for home buyers. The only thing you can really do is be proactive and break out that snow shovel and start clearing a path.

If you’re expecting snow on an almost weekly basis, then it might be best to hire out professionals to come by once a day and make sure your driveway, front steps, and any walking paths are cleared for people touring your home.

This is a great time to replace burnt-out light bulbs and fix light switches that aren’t working when selling a home. You may also want to consider making all your interior lighting the same color temperature, such as a soft white which brightens rooms without complementing the coziness of your home, you’ll also want to make it bright before selling a home. Turn on all the lights in your house before selling a home during open houses and virtual home tours. It may be the darkest time of year outside but you can make sure it doesn’t feel that way inside your home.

This will help with consistent lighting throughout your home, creating a balanced feel as potential home buyers walk through each room.

Before selling a home, the best thing you can do for your house in terms of marketing it to potential home buyers is getting professional real estate photos taken. In fact, research shows that professional photos can help sell your house faster and for more money. This is the one time you don’t want to have your holiday decor on display. In fact, getting your professional photos taken of your house before you decorate is a must because holiday decorations essentially create a time-stamp of your home. 

If you have trouble selling your home during the holidays be sure your house isn’t still rocking holiday lights in the listing photos come February or March, or you risk turning off potential home buyers. Before selling a home, plan on hiring a professional photographer as soon as possible so you can decorate for the holidays and enjoy the season.

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