Many will argue the holiday season is a terrible time to sell. Here in NC, as the beautiful fall colors take a back seat to the colder weather, most sellers go into hibernation until Spring. In my 24 years of selling real estate some of my best closing months were in December and January. You cannot argue the fact that more buyers are out snooping around when the weather is sunny and 75 out but there are still those who need to buy. Buyers relocating, job promotions and even some who are just always looking for that perfect home and have yet to pull the trigger. Is this true, you ask?
Think about this for a minute – If most sellers feel the same way (and they do) the number of available homes for sale will fall substantially. If I was looking for that perfect home on Lake Norman and only had three to choose from, your chances might be just a bit better to win the sale. If there were 12 similar properties available in Spring you might miss out on the sale or, worse yet, have to negotiate a sales price less than you were hoping for.
The summary below will show you the number of closings that actually occurred in April 2014 when compared to December 2014 in some of the communities around Lake Norman.
|Lake Norman Town||April 2014||Dec. 2014|
My lengthy experience has clearly demonstrated that the holiday season can be a good time to sell. The tougher question for you to address is, are you ready to accommodate those viewing your house during this time of year? Your motivation to sell will play a big role in this decision.
Should you decide to embark on this journey this time of the year…
Here are a few tips that will make your home stand out:
1. Make your home easy to show.
The buyers who are home shopping at this time are usually highly motivated, but they too have busy schedules during the holiday season. Try to be as flexible as possible when setting up showings. These Buyers out shopping during the holiday season are usually very serious and are not part of the spring phenomenon where you have those that are “just curious” about what is on the market.
2. Easy on the Lights Clark!
If you’re one of those who love to celebrate the holiday season like Clark Griswold in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation you might want to wait until spring. I know it’s hard not to compete with your neighbor for the highest monthly electricity bill, as I personally fall victim to this as well. No actually, I fall victim to writing the check for the bill and my bride Erin falls victim to purchasing more lights every year. I think you can see my home from downtown Charlotte! In all seriousness, buyers first impressions are the most important and a set of tasteful decorations can be welcoming while the other can be a big distraction.
3. Brighten up the Mantel
On a cold day there nothing like the buyers visualizing planting themselves in front of your fireplace permanently. As a real estate Broker I would say this excites me too! So make it pop a little with some lights and festive décor. If you are home before the showing and have time to prep, put a log on the fire for that added touch. Nothing says ‘welcome home’ like a glowing fire.
4. Create the Fragrance of the Holiday Season
Some fragrant candles placed throughout the home will do the trick. Just keep in mind, some can be a bit overpowering so make sure to give it the sniffer test! I have been in some homes where I felt I just rolled around in pine needles and rubbed tree sap all over me. On a side note, if it is me showing your property and you want to make an impression, I prefer spiced latte. 🙂
5. The Tree!
For those of you who have the tradition of having a tree you know we all have our favorites. If it’s a real tree make sure this is the year it fits nicely into your home. This would not be the year to buy the oversized tree that you can barely fit through the front door unless your home can accommodate it. If your tree overpowers the room remove a piece or two of furniture. I have been out with MANY buyers and I will often hear “where will the Christmas tree go”? For those buyers who may forget about this the other 11 months, rest assured, it will be front and center at this time of year. Buyers want to envision how family gatherings might look. If the only way for Mom to get to her chair is to jump over the sofa table, you might need a smaller tree or a better location.
6. Temperature : Cold House = Cold Buyer
Avoid turning the thermostat down like you might normally do while your are at the office. Instead, keep it set at a comfortable temperature. Feeling warm has a strong psychological effect and the toasty feeling may make the difference in someone loving your home versus hating it.
These may seem to be all common sense things but you would be amazed at the stories I could share!
Many Sellers even get a bit frustrated when they have to show their homes during this time of year and even deny showings. A little extra attention at this time of year can make your home stand out just enough to generate the sale.
Be thinking about me come Thanksgiving because before I even get done carving the turkey, Erin will be dragging me down to the basement and pointing at the 13 bins of Christmas lights!