9 Listing Tips During the Holidays
Although many market experts point to the spring as the best time to list your home, we’ve found the period from November to January is still an active real estate market because competition is slim. Here at Solutions, we know serious Buyers will view homes and negotiate contracts right up until Christmas Eve.
If there’s no way you can avoid listing your house this time of year, we’ve come up with some great tips to help you through the season while you decide: should you decorate your home for the holidays, or skip it?
Staging a home properly is difficult no matter what time of year, but the holidays can present a special dilemma for many Sellers. After spending considerable time and energy decorating their home to express their personality, they feel reluctant to take down their photos and put away treasured items.
The same goes for holiday decorations, which hold sentimental value for many homeowners. But as much as the Seller would like to show off their holiday decor and create a festive atmosphere for their family, it may be better to hold back while the home is on the market.
Keep it simple
No matter what time of year a home goes on the market, we always advise Sellers to keep it simple when it comes time to list as presenting their home to the market in the most neutral light is a better strategy. The more neutral the home shows, the more marketable it will be, and the wider the net it can cast.
The same is true for holiday decorations — understated is better.
Keep it neutral
If you live in a part of the country where Christianity is less common, your nativity scenes or religious decorations may put off some buyers. It’s best to keep them packed away.
These suggestions are not meant to insult a Seller’s religion or beliefs, but simply reflect the business aspects of selling a home. Sellers must remember that, once their home goes for sale, it’s no longer their home, but a product on the open market. To best position their product for a swift sale, it’s important to appeal to as many Buyers as possible.
Which decorations can you keep?
For a family with small children, typical commercial holiday decorations such as Christmas trees, stockings and lights may be unavoidable, even if their home is on the market. To some degree, people will expect this.
Will it still put off some non-Christian Buyers? Possibly, but it won’t have the same effect as more religious decorations.
While it’s impossible to define what would be inoffensive to every person in every market around the country, Sellers should be mindful of who their potential Buyers are and how their home and its decorations show. If your home is on the market, take a step back and evaluate before you decorate.
Try these 9 tips to get Buyers in the right spirit:
- Clean and stage. Declutter as much as possible and only include holiday decorations that will not add to the sense of overcrowding.
- Create a homey vibe. The less-is-more mantra of home staging may tempt you to forgo holiday cheer this year. But a few subtle touches like a bowl of pinecones, an evergreen wreath, or a pot of cider simmering on the stove can create a warm and festive feeling. Make your home feel cozy and inviting during showings by cranking up the heat, playing soft classical music and offering homemade holiday treats. When you encourage Buyers to spend more time in your home, you also give them more time to admire its best features.
- Coordinate your color palette. Before you start untangling your tinsel, make sure your holiday collection matches your current decor. If your living room is painted yellow, try to stick with white or silver ornaments. If you’ve got an earthy color scheme, accent with rich tones like cranberries, forest greens and gold.
- Highlight specific areas. Too many trimmings may distract Buyers, but the right accessories can draw attention to your home’s best features. Dangle mistletoe in an arched doorway, or display your menorah on the ledge of a bay window; just don’t block a beautiful view with stick-on snowflake decals or clutter an elegant fireplace with personalized stockings.
- Pay attention to lighting. One man’s “merry” is another man’s “tacky,” so tone down any over the top light displays while your home is on the market. Instead, use simple string lighting to play up your home’s architecture or draw attention to the gorgeous evergreen tree in your front yard.
- Decorate tastefully. Overtly religious flourishes may be off-putting to some Buyers.
- Mind the tree. A tall Christmas tree can help you show off your two-story great room, but make sure the wide base won’t overwhelm the floor space. If your living area is on the small side, save space with a skinny tree. Swap the large heirloom ornaments and trim your tree in a cohesive theme such as icicle lights and silver tinsel, for example, or blue and gold glass balls.
- Choose carefully. A few decorations can stir the holiday spirit, but don’t feel obliged to hang every last ornament. Limit yourself to a few hints of holiday flair, but stash the rest in the basement for now. If you start to miss your Santa figurines, just remember that with a little luck, you’ll be celebrating next year’s holidays in a new home. And you can decorate that place any way you please.
- Check your curb appeal. Make this a top priority. When autumn rolls around and the trees start to lose their leaves, maintaining the exterior of your home becomes even more important. Bare trees equal a more exposed home, so touch up the paint, clean the gutters and spruce up the yard. Keep Buyers’ safety in mind as well by making sure stairs and walkways are free of snow, ice and leaves.