Everyone knows the best time to sell their home is in the spring, right? Well, there are exceptions to every rule. Selling your home at Christmas can be a better, stress-free and selling experience all around.
The general feeling is that buyers are too busy hosting parties and gift shopping to be looking for homes and concentrate most of their time engulfed in the holidays. This is very true for your not-so-serious buyers, but for serious buyers, this is not the case.
People will generally be house shopping around the holidays because they have to –not because they want to. That buyer that booked a viewing for your home at 5:15pm, in the dark, and during -15 degree temps on December 21? That’s not a tire kicker, they’re serious. They’re also viewing your home this close to Christmas because not too many other homes are for sale at this time of year, reducing your competition drastically. During this time of year, Grey Highlands sees a peak in visitors that come for the skiing. Some try to rent but their best option is to buy so while they’re up for the weekend or the Christmas break they’ll try to view a few properties.
Regardless of the time of year, most agents will tell you to make your home as appealing as possible to potential buyers. During the Holidays this is simplified with things you probably already do. Hang a wreath on the front door along with a couple of extra seasonal décor on the exterior of the home for curb appeal and to bring warmth to a bland winter setting. Make sure your walkways are shovelled & salted for buyer safety which also helps give the immediate impression that your home is well taken care of. Continue the festive décor inside. Don’t be afraid to have a Christmas Tree, the nativity scene, Menorah, or a Mishumaa Saba out – it is the Holidays and people are expecting you to be carrying out family traditions. Seasonal décor accompanied by festive scents in a clean house can have a better impact on potential buyers then staging in any other season.
One hurdle that many sellers factor into selling over the Holidays is family events. Some people travel for a few days to see relatives; others host dinner parties and do gift shopping. If you’re sticking around for the Holidays it is important to be accommodating to buyers that want to view your home but don’t be afraid to have blackout dates and a time schedule so you can still enjoy the festivities. Communicating these black out days can greatly help your agent when booking viewings for your property. On the alternative, if you are leaving for a few days, a vacant property is easy to show and convenient for last minute viewing requests. Your home remains clean & orderly and having an agent pop in a few times also provides peace of mind for home security.
One aspect that’s not to be overlooked during this time is having the right agent for you. Many agents will take this suspension of activity as a time to get away and leave the area. Having someone who is around that can do the viewings themselves, in case the buyer’s agent is away, makes your property more accessible which can increase the chances of receiving an offer.
Make sure your agent has a good online marketing strategy. Regardless of how serious they are, not many people want to spend time walking & driving around in -20 temperatures. This is where a virtual tour, 3D dollhouse view and other interactive tools can really be of value, allowing serious buyers to virtually view your home before coming and looking for themselves. People coming up from the city hoping to check out some properties while enjoying the slopes will greatly appreciate being able to get a feel for the property before they make the drive up and enable them to make a quick decision whether to buy while they’re still in the area. A strong online marketing strategy can also reduce the number of viewings/interruptions over the holidays and hopefully fewer steps to getting an offer on your home.
Some sellers get the impression that if they sell in the winter they have to move in the winter too. In cases where a family is looking for a winter recreation property this may hold true, but having a flexible possession date can be very attractive to buyers as well.
Generally, if they don’t like house-hunting in freezing temperatures they’re not going to want to move while it’s still below zero. If you can negotiate a possession date around spring break this can give you time to find the perfect home for your family without that drastic pressure from a quick closing on your current property. This can be the perfect solution on whether to buy or sell first.