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If you’ve got a home on the market right now, it can leave you feeling like the Grinch stole your Christmas. Everyone knows spring’s the season for selling. And working home showings into a busy holiday schedule is like trying to shove a 20-foot tree into your living room.
But selling your home during the holidays doesn’t have to spell disaster. In fact, you have three market traditions in your favor.
Competition Dries Up
Come spring, sellers will flood the market, and your home will be just another fish in a great big pond. But right now, you’ve practically got the market to yourself.
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“Very few homes come on the market in December and January, so you’ve got serious buyers who just pounce on homes as soon as they hit the market,” Karl Miller, one of Dave’s real estate Endorsed Local Providers in Lynchburg, Virginia, says. “If your home shows well and is in their price range with a good location, you’ll get showing activity. You’d be surprised at how many of these homes sell in a week.”
In fact, a Redfin study of 19 metropolitan cities showed that homes listed in winter were more likely to sell within six months and spent fewer days on the market compared to homes listed in other seasons. Even in frigid climates like Boston and Chicago, winter sellers got better results than those who listed any other time of year.
Of course, every market is different, so ask your agent what to expect where you live. In Karl’s area, the days on market tend to increase a bit every winter, but homes do sell. “It may take a little bit longer, but we have a good opportunity to get it sold,” he says.
Buyers Mean Business
Most folks want to curl up under a blanket next to a warm fire on a cold winter day. If a buyer’s trudging around in freezing weather to look at your home, they must be serious. That’s because many winter buyers are working against a deadline, whether it’s an expiring lease, relocation, or a contract on their current home.
So does that mean you have to send guests packing every time you get a call for a showing? “If they ask to look at your home in the middle of a family gathering, it’s okay to say no. Serious buyers will come back,” Karl says. “The exception is if there’s a serious buyer who’s in town during the holidays to look for houses because it’s their time off,” he adds.
A good agent will set proper expectations with the buyer’s agent if your home isn’t picture-perfect for a last-minute showing. They’ll also let you know if and when they’ll be out of pocket and which agent will handle your listing during that time so holiday opportunities don’t pass you by.
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Your Halls Are Already Decked
Nothing says welcome home quite like walking out of the cold into a nice, warm house that’s dressed up for the holidays. Admit it: Your home looks goo-ood this time of year!
“It’s easier to make a house feel like home in the wintertime,” Karl says. Here are a few tips to help you set the buying mood.
- Keep it simple. Decorations should accent—not overpower—a room. “Less is more. You don’t want your Christmas tree to take up half the living room,” Karl says.
- Crank up the cozy. Light a fire in the hearth, play soft holiday music in the background, and prepare fresh-baked goods or mulled cider for guests.
- Shine a light outside. Winter days get dark early. Brighten your home’s exterior with outdoor spotlights. A few holiday lights are okay. Just save the Clark Griswold light show for next year.
But wait . . . there’s more! Your home doesn’t just look better this time of year, it’s also easier to take care of. Pesky outdoor tasks, like mowing the lawn or weeding flower beds, are a thing of the past—at least for a few glorious months.
“Once you get the leaves out of your yard and your gutters cleaned, in most climates, it takes less maintenance to keep your house show-ready,” Karl says.