You may have heard that putting your home on the market during the holidays is pointless – most buyers will start looking again 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. As 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 go 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 fit together. However, a buyer is 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 gold to use in the space. It may be better to match the blue and hang white and blue decorations to match. Remember, you will most likely be in a new home next holiday season, and then you can decorate that one with whatever decorations you want!
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 on lights for a lit and warm feel.
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 looking at the market, 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 at first. That way you can be sure you’re getting what your home is worth, and you won’t have to stay longer on the market during a slower buying time.
No matter what time of year, a home that’s priced low for the market will make buyers feel merry. Rather than gradually making small price reductions, many real estate agents advise sellers to slash their prices before putting a home on the market.
Include a Home Warranty Plan
Finally, ease your buyer’s worries by including a home warranty with your house. A home warranty plan covers systems’ and appliances’ break downs caused by old age and normal wear and tear. All systems and appliances have lifespans. A home warranty will cover repairs and replacements for only $60 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 sell 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 furnace and heating while looking at homes. Do yourself a favor and get a tune-up to your furnace 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 $60.)
If you’re interested in including a home warranty with your house, you can put free listing coverage on it when you put your house on the market. This coverage is truly free – you pay only the $60 service call fee when opening a claim, and will be provided up to $1500 of repairs or replacements by Landmark Home Warranty. Then, if your buyer wants a home warranty, you can purchase whatever level of coverage with the plans they want to include on the house.
For more information on home warranties go to Landmark’s main page.