While springtime might be the busiest time of the year in the real estate market, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t plenty of people who are buying and selling during other seasons. If you’re finding yourself with your home on the market over the winter holidays, you might have questions about how to handle holiday decorating and celebrations. Here are a few tips that can help you get through the holiday season while keeping your home looking appealing for prospective buyers who might drop by.
Amp up the Charm. The holidays are a beautiful and enticing time to sell a home. The warm colors and inviting aromas the holiday season make any house seem more like a home, and this won’t go unnoticed by a prospective buyer, so capitalize on all of the season’s finest attributes. Feature candles in your decorating that smell like baking cookies, mulled cider, or pumpkin. Most people find these scents irresistible and homey.
Light the Way. Since winter days can be short and the weather can be dreary, make sure your home glows with plenty of warm lighting. Consider putting lights on timers so they are sure to turn on earlier in the evening when the sunlight begins to wane. Throw open the blinds and let natural light stream through your (clean!) windows during the daylight hours.
Deck the Halls. But don’t go overboard. Keep holiday decorating to a tasteful minimum. If you are stringing up lights on the exterior of your house, make sure they aren’t gaudy. You might even enlist a professional decorator to come do it for you to ensure that they don’t look haphazard or sloppy. And make sure to avoid anything overly busy. A big blow-up plastic Santa might turn off a discriminating buyer or someone who doesn't celebrate the same holidays you do. Indoors, keep the kitschy collections of snowmen in the attic and opt for seasonal greenery, candles, and understated holiday displays. Make sure that your decorations don’t “hide” your home.
Clear the Way. Winter is a notoriously messy season with its snow and slush, so invest in welcoming door mats, both inside and out for your family and prospective buyers alike to use when entering your house. Make sure you don’t track in mud and ice every time you come through the door. And keep paths, walkways, and your driveway free of snow and ice. Make sure you have plenty of materials on hand to melt treacherous ice off of walks and steps. You might want to consider enlisting a snow removal service to help keep on top of things this year.
Plan for the Inconvenience. This might be the year to hold your holiday celebrations at a relative’s house, or better yet, to take a trip to Florida or the Caribbean for a few days. A one-year break from holiday traditions might give you a fresh appreciation for them next year when you’re in your new space and can pull out all the stops. But if you’re sticking to your usual schedule, just allow time to get the house back into shape after any parties or celebrations. It’s pretty unlikely that buyers are going to be scheduling a showing on December 24th or 25th – and your agent will likely want to spend these days with family as well. So take the pressure off yourself by allowing yourself to take a few “days off” to celebrate.
By keeping your home on the market over the holidays, you’ll see less competition from sellers who want to wait until after the holidays to list their homes. You’re also likely to attract motivated buyers, like those starting new jobs in January or those who wish to buy before the end of the year for tax purposes. As with selling your home at any time of year, selling during the holidays just takes a measure of patience and the right attitude. And if you have any concerns, just ask your real estate agent for help.