Want to know how to sell your home fast, despite the holidays quickly approaching? If you’re about to throw up your hands in desperation and ready to give up until the new year, I’m here to offer hope: There’s still time!
Here’s the deal: As eager as you may be to sell your home before the holidays, there are plenty of people out there who are dying to buy a place before the holidays, too. In fact, if you strategize effectively, it is entirely possible to not only find a buyer, but also close the deal and move out before Santa and his reindeer take-off.
Here are some insider secrets on how to sell a home fast, even during the hectic holiday rush.
Polish up your listing’s online presence
When the weather outside is “frightful,” (or at least may be soon enough here in Orange County), buyers want to do much of their shopping online. With that in mind, focus on making your home so alluring they’re willing to ditch the shops at South Coast Plaza and check it out in person.
“Make sure that your home has an online listing that’s up to date and has optimal photos available, since buyers usually don’t like to go out in cold weather,” advises Ray Sturm, CEO and co-founder of AlphaFlow.
“Most home buyers vet potential homes through online listings before reaching out,” Sturm continues, “so ensuring your home is presented in the best light online is a good way to attract potential buyers.”
Spruce up the holiday features
Buyers want to envision themselves settling into a home in time to celebrate that first Thanksgiving or Christmas, says home expert Lauren Mak, who has appeared on TLC’s “Trading Spaces” and ABC’s “Fab Life with Tyra Banks and Chrissy Teigen.”
Mak suggests accenting architectural features such as a fireplace or sweeping staircase to showcase how great your home could look for the holidays.
“Add twinkle lights to a fireplace or table decorations to your dining room to help potential buyers visualize their future home,” she says. “If you have something like a bay window where a Christmas tree might be, clear the clutter before showing your home.”
Help buyers envision spending their holiday in your space. Help them see themselves enjoying Thanksgiving dinner. For sellers with a featured dining room, the table can be set for holiday entertaining. This really is an ideal opportunity to create that ‘wow factor’ moment among buyers, so sellers may want to consider purchasing trendy new home designer accessories. This gets buyers enthusiastic about making the house their new home just in time for the holidays.
Home decor aside, request your listing agent to write a property description that highlights the features that matter most during the holidays. For example, “spacious family room with large curb-facing window, ideal for a Christmas tree” will appeal to a buyer’s emotions.
Just don’t overdo the festive decor
While it is easy to get caught up in the festivities of decorating, just be careful not to go overboard. This is not the time to create the National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation House.
Homes can look their best during the holiday, but simple is always the best approach. Too flashy or too many decorations can become a distraction and crowd your home.
Be flexible when it comes to showings
Ready for a hard truth. Halloween might have just ended, but this is no time to tuck those skeleton lawn decorations inside of your linen closet. If you want buyers interested in your home, they’re going to want to check out every nook and cranny, so now is the time to prepare yourself to let them into your nooks and crannies.
“The best thing that sellers can do during the holiday search is keep the home clutter-free and stay open and available for last-minute and short-notice showings,” says Shayna Goldburg, broker and chief human resources officer at SetSchedule.
“What I have noticed is that it is harder and harder to view homes during the holiday season,” Goldburg says. “Oftentimes homeowners go out of town, guests come to visit, or owners have their own entertaining schedule, and prefer not to have showings to interrupt this time. At the end of the day, the more open, available, and flexible you are as a homeowner for showings, the more your home will be seen and greater your chance for a sale.”
Make sure your home is move-in ready
Having your home pre-inspected before you list can drastically speed up your home sale. I am even offering FREE home inspections to all of my new listing clients as this is such a crucial step.
- It makes your house more marketable: Buyers feel safer making an offer on a home thats an open book during the home-selling process.
- It can save you money: Once you know what issues need to be fixed, you can have those problems taken care of before you list. The cleaner and more issue-free you can make your home, the faster its likely to sell, which can save you money in the long run.
- It allows you to highlight your home’s assets: New flooring or limstone countertops installed? Was electric wiring just redone? Brand-new appliances or furnace? Time to embellish these selling points, and your home inspection report will reflect all of the improvements and upgrades you’ve made.
Curb appeal should be top priority
While the leaves begin to fall, maintaining the exterior of your home becomes even more important. Plan to touch up paint, clean the gutters, and spruce up the yard. Paintingng the front door can be game-changing, hang a decorative wreath, and add a festive welcome mat.
And don’t forget to highlight the outdoor features buyers can enjoy year-round. If you have a fire pit or hot tub, show it off.
While competition lightens around Thanksgiving, that still may not be enough to encourage offers.
Offer clever incentives ranging from updated appliances to paying closing costs and offering extras like that new flat screen television, and be flexible with negotiations.
Plan a themed open house
Because you are so close to the holiday, why not host a Thanksgiving or holiday-themed open house? Think of offering up some homemade holiday treats like cookies, cocoa with Santa.
Not only is this a fun way to show off a home, but also you will motivate buyers’ holiday and home-buying anticipation.
Just remember that timing is important this time of year. Not everyone is willing to skip the family dinner for an open house on the actual holiday.
Buying a home as well? Check out how to buy a home before the holidays!
Liz Alterman is a writer who’s covered a variety of subjects, from personal finance issues for CNBC.com to career advice for The Muse.