You may have heard that putting your home on the market during the holidays is pointless – most buyers will start looking in the new year or wait until the summer months. However, selling your home during the holidays can be a huge advantage. According to a study completed by Redfin, winter listings are 9% more likely to sell and sell a week faster and for 1.2% more money than those in the springtime. HGTV specialist Shannon Petrie reminds sellers that most people take their homes off the market during this time, which means your home is bound to stand out in a smaller market with serious buyers. How can you make the most of this advantage? Here are four tips on what you can do to get a buyer's attention and sell your home during the holiday months.
Stage Your Home for the Holidays
Clear Out the Clutter
The first step to staging a home in any season is to clear out clutter. During the holiday months, many homeowners tend to bring out every possible decoration they can, which ends up making a home feel smaller. When staging a home, you want it to feel open and spacious. Too much clutter and too many decorations on top of that clutter can stifle buyers.
Don't Go Overboard When Decorating
Everyone has their own idea of what they want their home to look like for the holidays – some may decorate with religious items like menorahs or nativities, while others may decorate with snowflakes and snowmen. Although you don't necessarily have to remove all of your religious décor, it's a good idea to be tasteful when decorating. Remember: less is more.
It's also a good idea to make sure that your holiday decorations match your current color scheme. When it's just you and your family in a home, you may not mind if the colors don't mesh. However, a buyer seeing your home for the first time may be put off if you have different color schemes in décor. For example: if you have a light gray and blue color palette, you may not want to put reds, greens, and dark golds in the space. It may be better to match the blue by hanging white and blue decorations. Remember, you will most likely be in a new home next holiday season, and then you can decorate with whatever color decorations you want! This holiday, it's all about staging.
Use Lights to Emphasize
Some homeowners like to go all out with their front lawns. However, this holiday season might be a good idea to do simple lighting and use it to emphasize unique and interesting parts of your home's architecture.
Finally, create a cozy atmosphere when showing your home. That may mean baking holiday treats and offering them to interested buyers, or making sure you have warm scents wafting through the air. If you have a fireplace, light a fire before having an open house, and turn lights on to make the space feel bigger and warmer.
The Price is Right
This tip is fairly standard for real estate. Price the house at market value, and you'll get what its worth – right? However, some real estate agents end up pricing the home low to entice bidding wars during the spring. With not as many serious buyers in the market during the holidays, a lower-priced home could cost a seller. Pricing a home too high during the holidays can also keep your home on the market for a longer period of time, which can devastate your sale.
Instead, price your home at the right price from the beginning; not over or under. That way, you can be sure you're getting what your home is worth and your home won't stay on the market longer during a slower buying time.
Include a Home Warranty Plan
Finally, ease your buyer's worries by including a home warranty with the sale of your house. A home warranty plan covers the breakdowns of your home's systems and appliances caused by old age and normal wear and tear. All systems and appliances have lifespans. A home warranty will cover the repairs and replacements for the cost of a small service call fee if something does fail. This home warranty coverage includes the HVAC system, plumbing, electrical, oven, dishwasher, and more. Plus, studies have found that when you include a home warranty on the sale of your home, it sells faster and for more money.
Tune Up Your Furnace
When it starts to get cold outside, think like a buyer. You'd want somewhere warm and cozy to come home to, and so it's no surprise that winter buyers focus on the furnace and heating system while looking at homes. Do yourself a favor and get a furnace tune-up before winter hits. Then, make sure that everything is in working order so that if potential buyers make an offer and inspect the home, they won't be put off by the state of the furnace. (Depending on the time of year, if you have a home warranty plan, a furnace tune-up is only the cost of a service call fee.)
If you're interested in including a home warranty with the sale of your house, you can put listing coverage on it when you put your home on the market. You'll have 6 months of protection on covered systems and appliances. The buyer's plan can be paid out from the proceeds of the sale of the home. If a covered breakdown occurs, you'll pay the service fee and a partial payment towards the future buyer's plan. Get a home warranty quote today!