Life often takes unexpected turns, and sometimes unforeseen events can lead us to list our homes for sale during the holiday season. Maybe you’ve decided to downsize, a career shift is moving you to a different city, or simply you long to embrace a warmer climate like Miami, FL, or San Diego, CA. Whatever the reason, you’re ready to sell. Believe it or not, the holiday season can be a great time to sell your home. While it’s true that the housing market typically heats up during the spring, the holidays are often overlooked as a prime time to sell.
Why? First of all, there is typically less inventory in the housing market this time of year, allowing your home to easily stand out among the available inventory. And though there are technically fewer buyers overall, the homebuyers that are looking are far more serious about finding a home within a specific timeframe. 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.
1) Stage for the holidays: clean, cozy, simple
Yes, you should absolutely decorate your home during the holidays even if you are trying to sell it. The real question you should be asking is, how much?
As homeowners, we often accumulate a lot of stuff, especially holiday decorations. When decorating to sell during the holidays, use your best ornaments as accents without overshadowing your home’s selling features. Highlight what initially drew you to your home – that’s what will likely attract buyers. Avoid overwhelming spaces with large Christmas trees or excessive decor. You want to accentuate your home with holiday decor, not bury it.
Holiday decor can help prospective homebuyers imagine your house as their future home. Decorate your fireplace with garland and stockings, and use seasonal scents like balsam and cedar. Maintain a comfortable and warm environment to make prospective buyers feel at home by keeping your home clutter-free and regularly cleaned. Consider hiring a professional home stager to create a standout holiday look and set your home apart from the competition.
Work with a local expert in your neighborhood
2) Price your home to sell
You and your listing agent will most likely come up with a pricing strategy together based on comparable homes in the area, the state of the current housing market, and what the demand for housing looks like or is projected to do.
Competitive pricing is key. If your home shares common features with others on the block, opting for a lower price point will definitely draw in more traffic than your rivals. 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.
3) Make your curb appeal a top priority
Your neighborhood may actually look more appealing to homebuyers during the holiday season. You don’t want to go overboard with your exterior holiday decorations, but you want to make your house shine along with the other homes on your block.
In the winter, your lawn may lack the lush green of summer, and trees might be bare. That’s why prioritizing curb appeal becomes essential when selling your home in colder months. Clear away sticks, dead leaves, and debris, and keep your lawn neatly trimmed. Even during winter, a few weeds can give the impression of neglect. If you have pictures showcasing your home in different seasons with vibrant flora, consider making them available during home tours. This allows buyers to witness the appeal of your property in various seasons rather than relying on imagination.
4) Keeping your property safe for homebuyers
The holiday season often brings frigid temperatures to many parts of the United States. Snow and ice cover driveways and pathways, while icicles dangle from gutters like glass curtains. For home sellers in colder climates, ensuring the safety of their property for potential buyers is a valid concern. The key is to be proactive—grab that snow shovel and start clearing a path.
If you anticipate frequent snowfall, considering professional services to clear your driveway, front steps, and walking paths daily might be the best approach to keep your home safe and accessible for those touring it.
5) Take professional real estate photos when selling your home during the holidays
For effective marketing to potential homebuyers, invest in professional real estate photos – a proven strategy that can expedite the sale of your house 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.
To avoid potential setbacks, ensure your listing photos don’t feature lingering holiday lights come February or March. Hire a professional photographer promptly to get your listing photos done so you can showcase your decorated home for the holidays while preserving the timeless appeal of your property in the listing.
6) Get Santa’s perspective with aerial photography
It doesn’t matter if you live in sunny Tampa, FL, or buried in snow in Minneapolis, MN, consider aerial photography to help make your home stand out this holiday season. If your home has acreage, a view, or any other amenity that cannot be fully captured unless it’s done by air, then aerial photography may be just what you need.
Drone photography offers buyers a unique perspective of your home and can help make your listing stand out among the other homes for sale online. It also gives potential buyers an overview of your neighborhood along with other amenities that may be within walking distance of your home.
7) Showcase your home’s winter charm to attract buyers
As the temperatures decline, specific aspects of your home gain increased allure. Drawing attention to these aspects can set your property apart for buyers seeking a warm and inviting winter retreat.
If your home boasts a fireplace, consider making it a focal point during showings by lighting it, or showcase a photo capturing its warm ambiance in your listing. Emphasize the comfort and energy efficiency it offers, creating an inviting atmosphere for winter. Draw attention to any upgrades that contribute to warmth, such as double-paned windows, modern insulation, or an efficient heating system, not only ensuring comfort but also potential savings on energy bills.
Additionally, if your property features evergreen trees or plants that flourish in the snow, showcase them with some outdoor lighting to accentuate a picturesque winter landscape, appealing to those who appreciate the beauty of the season. These winter-centric elements can make your home stand out, attracting buyers looking for a cozy and welcoming retreat during the colder months.
8) Turn on the (holiday) lights
To complement the coziness of your home, you’ll also want to make it bright. Turn on all the lights in your house 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 is a great time to replace burnt out light bulbs and fix light switches that aren’t working. Consider unifying the color temperature of all interior lighting, opting for a soft white hue that brightens rooms without giving you that institutional feel. This will help with consistent lighting throughout your home, creating a balanced feel as potential homebuyers walk through each room.
9) Flexibility is key
During the holiday season, adaptability is crucial to cater to potential buyers with busy schedules. To enhance the chances of a swift home sale, consider implementing the following strategies:
Extended showing hours and weekend availability
With the days growing shorter and holiday activities often extending into the evenings, think about stretching your showing hours. Allowing potential buyers to view your home later in the evening or earlier in the morning accommodates their schedules and increases the likelihood of attracting serious buyers. In addition, ensure your home is available for viewings on weekends to cater to those who may be occupied with work during the week. Or, have your agent hold an open house during the weekend, providing a convenient opportunity for interested buyers to explore your property.
Option to tour virtually
Recognizing the busy nature of the season and potential travel restrictions, offering virtual tours can be a game-changer. High-quality virtual tours enable buyers to explore your home remotely, streamlining the initial screening process and making it more convenient for them.
10) Offer enticing incentives for potential buyers
Embrace the spirit of giving during the holidays by providing unique incentives that can significantly enhance the appeal of your home, particularly for discerning buyers. These festive bonuses have the potential to tip the scales for individuals who may be indecisive about making an offer on your property.
Cover a portion of the closing costs
Ease the financial burden for potential buyers by covering a portion of the closing costs. This incentive reduces the upfront payment, providing significant relief during the holiday season when house hunters may face additional financial strain.
Offer a home warranty
Offer a one-year home warranty to instill confidence in buyers. This assurance guarantees protection from hefty repair bills for major systems or appliances that may encounter issues shortly after purchase. Some warranty companies even extend coverage to sellers before the home sale.
Be flexible on closing dates
Recognize the hustle and bustle of the holidays by offering flexibility on the closing date. Be prepared to work with the buyer’s timeline, whether they prefer a swift closure or to wait until after the New Year. Keep in mind the bank holidays between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, adjusting schedules accordingly to navigate closures of banks and attorney offices.
Selling your home during the holidays: final thoughts
As you navigate the process of selling your home during the holiday season, remember that attention to detail and strategic planning can make a significant difference. From creating a warm and inviting atmosphere to showcasing your property through professional photography and considering unique angles with aerial shots, every effort contributes to making your home stand out in the market. Keep in mind the importance of maintaining safety during winter months, ensuring well-lit interiors, and presenting your home in its best light. With thoughtful preparation, you can not only attract potential buyers but also create a lasting impression that makes your home memorable and desirable during this festive time of year.