Whether you’re big on Halloween parties, planning the perfect Thanksgiving feast, or focusing on the December holiday season, if you’re also planning to sell your home, you may be contemplating holding off until January. After all, nobody buys houses this time of year, do they? In 2020, the answer may very well be “Yes, they do.”
The COVID-delayed spring market and pent-up buyer demand, along with low inventory in the spring and summer selling season and record-low interest rates, means that for many buyers the search for the perfect home is ongoing. If you were thinking of waiting until 2021 to sell your home, you might want to consider moving your plans up and listing your home during the fall and winter months to take advantage of strong buyer demand.
Advantages of Listing a Home During the Holidays
There are plenty of good reasons to list your home during the holiday season, including the following:
You’re likely to find more motivated buyers during this time of year. If they still haven’t found the home they want—or they have a sudden need to relocate—holiday buyers may be more willing to make decisions quickly. In addition, they may be eager to get moved in for their own holiday celebrations, making them easier to negotiate with.
Many of this year’s buyers have been disappointed by multiple offers on previous properties due to the summer’s low inventory. They may be willing to move fast and make an offer before someone else does.
The increasing use of virtual tours makes this the best possible time to sell a home with minimal inconvenience. You’ll also cast a wider net when your real estate agent shares your home’s virtual tour on a dedicated website or as an enhanced feature on the MLS.
This is a slower time of year for real estate agents as well, so your agent will have more time to focus on your listing. Talk to your agent about ways to get the widest possible audience for your home and its features.
Let’s face it, you’re already cleaning and decorating your home for the holiday season. What better time to show it?
Challenges of Listing a Home During the Holidays
Of course, listing a home this time of year may bring some drawbacks, including the following:
If you are entertaining during the holidays, you’ll want to communicate with your agent about days and times when tours will not be available. They are likely offering virtual tours as a convenient alternative for interested buyers and their agents.
If you are traveling during the holidays, you’ll need to ensure that you are available for negotiations and pertinent questions as needed, and that your agent can come in and prepare the home for showing as required.
If time is of the essence, it may be difficult to schedule home inspections, appraisals, and closings during the holiday season. Talk to your agent and ensure that he or she has a plan in place to move the transaction forward in the event that you go under contract during the holidays.
Making a Holiday Listing More Appealing
Want to get your home show-ready while also enjoying the holidays with your family and friends? It’s easier than you think. Here are some things to keep in mind.
Lighten up on decorations
While you’ll want to enjoy the season, don’t feel the need to cover every possible surface in holiday decor. It’s important for buyers to be able to see the space and get a sense of how it works during the non-holiday months of the year. Go for a more minimalist, decluttered holiday look that enhances, rather than hides, the home.
Focus on outdoor spaces
Even though it’s winter, don’t neglect your outdoor spaces. Keep paths and surfaces clear of leaves and new-fallen snow. Optimize outdoor lighting so that buyers can see well, even when it gets dark early. Create a cozy seating area on the terrace with candles, a firepit, and a basket of blankets.
Warm up the space
Speaking of cozy, take advantage of the season to enhance the indoors as well. Greet potential buyers with the scent of something baking in the oven and a plate of holiday cookies on the counter. Light pumpkin or evergreen scented candles and start a fire in the fireplace. Make visitors feel welcome and right at home.
Take photos before you decorate
Just in case your home doesn’t sell before December 25, it’s a good idea to take listing photos before you decorate. You don’t want buyers looking at photos with holiday decorations in mid-January. It will make the listing feel stale, even if it’s only been up for a couple of weeks.
Right-price your home for a faster sale
If you’re motivated to sell, this is not the time to test the market and hold out for a higher-than-average sale price. Talk to your agent about comparable properties in your area, and ensure that you price your home correctly at the beginning of the process for maximum market impact.
A real estate agent or broker has the market insights, professional network, and buyer pool you need to get your home sold any time of year. Talk to them about your timeline and your financial requirements and they’ll help craft a plan that makes sense for you.