The Holiday Season has arrived, and many home sellers are concerned it’s the wrong time to list their homes. Or, if sellers have their home on the market, many contemplate taking it off the marketing during the holidays. The truth is that the holidays can be a great time to sell your home. Not only does your home look more beautiful dressed up for the holidays, but buyers are often more emotionally tied to the home because of it. There is no need to wait for the hectic New Year selling season to list. There are benefits to selling now!
- Lower Inventory. In a typical December, there are fewer homes on the market, which always means less competition. This year in particular due to COVID, inventory is at an all-time low according to NAR’s Existing Home Sales report. Current inventory sits at a 2.5-month supply, and to put this in perspective, anything less than a 6-month supply of inventory would indicate a “Seller’s Market” where home prices will appreciate. Based on my own personal experience, buyers are offering $20-, $30- and even $50K over asking prices just to be able to have a shot at winning a house!
- Serious Buyers. Buyers during the holidays tend to be more serious than at other times of the year. Moving is not fun anytime of the year, but the holidays are particularly hard, so buyers willing to do this are serious about moving.
- Low Interest Rates. No one knows what’s coming in the New Year, but for now, Interest Rates are still at an all-time-low. This is absolutely contributing to the increase in demand for homes in a very low-inventory market. This is also contributing to appreciating home prices.
Design & Staging
If you do decide to sell this Holiday Season, here are some tips to balance your love for the Christmas décor and converting your home to a product for sale.
- Don’t go overboard on the decorations. You want your home to exude a cozy and comfortable Holiday feeling to buyers, but you don’t want your Holiday decorations to over-crowd the home or become a distraction when buyers are touring the property. Additionally, one tip we give sellers when preparing their homes for the market is to depersonalize their home so that a buyer may envision their own lifestyle in the home. Part of this involves removing religious and spiritual effects, which is understandably challenging this time of year. So do your best to keep your Holiday décor subtle and appealing to a wide range of buyers.
- Don’t block a fantastic view! If you have a great view from your home (of which, there is no shortage of homes in Southern California that have phenomenal views!), don’t hide it from potential buyers by covering it with an oversized Christmas tree. Find a new spot in the home for your tree this year, or consider foregoing a Christmas tree altogether. Additionally, you might want to opt for a smaller-than-usual tree this year so as to not make any room in the home feel or appear smaller than it is to buyers.
- Real Estate Photos. If at all possible, prepare the home and take Real Estate photos BEFORE you decorate for the Holidays. In the off-chance that your home takes longer to sell than you expect, you don’t want the photos to “date” your home on the market. Additionally, your Holiday décor may be beautiful, but it might not photograph that well, and if that’s the case, it would impact your marketing materials which are critical to appealing to the highest number of buyers!
- Prioritize Curb Appeal. Similar to the first tip, keep your exterior décor as subtle as possible. Beyond the exterior Holiday décor, pay particular attention to bringing your lawn to life (and keeping it alive). If you can plant some colorful flowers to make your walkway more inviting, do so. Fortunately for those of us who live in Southern California, winter weather isn’t a concern; however, in many parts of the country or even a bit North of me, you may need to make a point to keep your driveway and walkways free of snow and ice to keep visitors safe.
- Turn on those lights! My own personal suggestion regarding Holiday lights is to try and stick with white lights rather than using colorful lights. White lights have a clean, classic and timeless feel, while colorful lights lend more to a playful and whimsical feeling, and if I was marketing a home, I would want buyers to experience the former. Regardless of which type of lights you use in your Holiday décor, don’t hide them! Turn them on as they will help make the home feel welcoming and cozy.
The Holiday Selling Season is here. Home sellers can capitalize on the slower pace, smaller inventory and serious buyers by listing now. Deck the halls and offer a warm, cozy home to potential buyers and take advantage of the season for selling your home now.
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