5 TIPS FOR SURVIVING THE HOLIDAY SEASON WHILE SELLING YOUR HOME
When Perry Como sang, “There’s no place like home for the holidays,” he didn’t have a For Sale sign in the yard. Juggling last-minute showings and family get-togethers can leave you wanting to catch the next sleigh ride out of town.But selling your home between Thanksgiving and New Year’s doesn’t have to spell disaster. You have two market traditions in your favor: motivated buyers and less competition. These tips will have you jingle-bell rocking all the way to the closing table.
Deck the Halls (But Not Too Much)
There’s no reason to box up your Christmas spirit this year. Just keep decorations simple and remove as much clutter as you can to make space for the buyer.Bobbie M., a home stager in Raleigh, NC, advises home sellers to focus on the holiday trimmings that mean the most to your family, whether it’s a decorated tree, staircase or mantle. “Showcasing the square footage of your home is an asset,” Bobbie says. “If bringing in a tree, remove the extra chair from the room so the space doesn’t feel crowded during the actual tour of the home.”
Here’s a pointer from Jordan D., a real estate agent in Fort Worth, TX: “Make sure you shoot pictures prior to decorating,” Jordan suggests. “Nothing says ‘We’ve been on the market forever’ like pictures with a Christmas tree and now it’s March!”Facebook fan Karen A. offered another wise word of advice: “Take everything down ASAP.” She learned her lesson the hard way when a buyer noticed exterior holiday lights up a couple of days after Christmas and saw it as a sure sign the homeowners must not take care of the inside either.
Crank Up the Cozy
Nothing stirs up nostalgia quite like the holiday season. And, folks, nostalgia sells! Just ask DaLana K. of Pompano Beach, FL. “I actually sold my house because they loved how welcoming it was when they walked through,” she says.Here are a few tricks Dave’s fans used to set the buying mood:
- Build a roaring fire in your hearth.
- Spring for a live Christmas tree.
- Prepare fresh-baked goods, mulled cider or hot cocoa.
- Play soft Christmas music in the background.
Susan M. waited until a couple of weeks before Christmas to bust out her holiday cheer because she figured no one would be house hunting at that time. One day, as her family decorated gingerbread houses—mess and all—her real estate agent called to schedule a last-minute showing.“I told her that there was no way I was interrupting this family time, cleaning all this up and leaving the house,” Susan recalls. The showing went on while Susan’s family continued their fresh-baked creations. Those holiday browsers became buyers. “We still live in the same town, and I run into the owners who tell me they bought it because it felt so homey.”
Make a List (and Check It Twice)
If you feel overwhelmed by all the things that have to get done each day, why not take a few cues from Santa? That’s how Crystal B. of Frisco, TX, plans to get through this holiday season.“I created a checklist to walk through my house every morning,” Crystal says. “[It] takes about 30 minutes, and I have become a little intense about everyone putting their stuff away as soon as they are done with it.”Keep your home neat as a pin by tackling these simple tasks each day:
- Make up beds
- Wipe down surfaces
- Pick up clutter
- Clear out the sink
- Vacuum or sweep floors
Get the Whole Family Involved
There’s an upside to having hordes of family around when your home’s on the market. You have lots of extra hands to help!Growing up, Jenna M. remembers helping out when her childhood home was for sale during the holidays. “We all pitched in so the task of having it ready to show wasn’t as daunting as it could have been,” Jenna says.As Aunt Jo and Uncle Ernie arrive for the big feast, be honest about your selling situation and ask for help tidying up before everyone goes on their merry way. They may be guests, but they’re still family! Don’t be afraid to assign specific tasks to get the job done.Barbara C. hosted family gatherings but had one rule: “Everything you brought had to be consumed during the get-together,” she says. So go ahead and give partygoers the perfect excuse for indulging in that extra slice of pumpkin pie!
Partner With a Pro to Minimize Stress
Maintaining a show-ready home during the holidays isn’t easy, but it doesn’t have to keep you from enjoying the family traditions you love best. Find balance by leaning on an experienced real estate agent who knows the joys of selling a home this time of year and won’t leave you lingering on the market.