Selling your home during the holidays? Luckily for you, most sellers haven’t gotten the memo that this is a great time to sell. That means there’s less competition for you because fewer homes are on the market. Also, holiday buyers tend to be serious buyers, and you also have a greater chance of closing escrow by the end of the year, which is a major tax benefit. Best of all, selling now doesn’t have to ruin your holidays. It’s all in the preparation. The key is to get organized and come up with a plan. Below are tips on how to make your house viewing-ready while still enjoying the holidays.
- Assess What Your House Needs
Try to look at things through the eyes of a stranger a few weeks before listing your home. Make a list of items that need to be cleaned and their priority.
- Assess What You Need to Make Your Holidays Happy
Do you go caroling as a family? Host a cookie exchange? Mail 275 hand-written Christmas cards? Develop a holiday game plan and list all the activities you still want to do, along with any items you might need for these activities and events, like gift wrap or postage stamps. It’s helpful to keep everything together in one folder or binder — things like your holiday shopping list, a list of what you plan on baking this year along with the recipes, your Christmas card list, etc. You might want to check out some Christmas apps as well. Determine blackout days and times when your home won’t be available for showing and communicate this to your realtor.
Make multi-tasking your friend, and work in increments. For instance, if you send holiday cards, keep them in a tote in your car and address them while waiting in the dentist office or write a few while waiting in line to pick up your child at school. If your children are old enough, ask for help with stamping and labeling the envelopes.
- Clean and De-clutter!
Before you even think about decking those halls, you’ll want to give your house a good, deep cleaning. But first, it’s time to get rid of all your extra stuff! As consultant and author Marie Kondo says, “Discard anything that doesn’t spark joy.” Prepare three bags or boxes and label them “Keep,” “Toss,” and “Sell/Donate.” If you feel that you just can’t be ruthless when it comes to discarding, consider using a storage unit or a moving pod. Once you’ve streamlined, make sure that everyone in your house knows that keeping it clean and decluttered is the key to selling your house. Just putting things where they belong goes a long way, along with paying attention to your floors and surfaces of tables and dressers. Investing in a cleaning company during this time is also a good idea.
- Hire the Right Realtor
Not only must your realtor be reliable, but he or she must have experience selling during the holidays. This also means a realtor who is available on Christmas Eve or even Christmas if necessary, along with New Year’s.
- Deck the Halls! (But Not Too Much)
Think warm and inviting vs. Santa’s workshop. Make curb appeal a top priority. You want potential buyers to picture themselves celebrating the holidays in your home, so keep it as neutral as possible. Consider leaving the life-size nativity scene in storage and step away from the inflatable reindeer. Instead, hang an elegant wreath on the front door and use simple white lights. Also, be sensitive to those with allergies/asthma by reining in those scented candles.
Chances are, everyone is going to give you slack this year. Who expects anyone to have their home on the market and make homemade pecan tarts for everyone in the office, right? And sure, you may miss the inflatable reindeer on your roof, but just think of next year when you’re in your new home. You may even find that you like this new streamlined and organized way of doing the holidays!