'Tis the season...to sell your house? In North America this is the season of shopping, decorating, family commitments, parties, school concerts etc. etc. and ideally no one wants to put their house up for sale during the holiday season. In fact, a lot of people decide to take their houses off the market at this time of year and start fresh in the new year. BUT if you do find yourself in a position of having to list, or decide to keep your house on the market during the holidays, there’s some good news to be had! Let’s face it, anyone looking for a house during the holidays needs to find one, so buyers are very motivated at this time of year. And, there is much less inventory at this time of year and much less inventory = much less competiton! However, there are a few things to keep in mind when selling over the Christmas season.
Curb appeal – Always the first thing to consider! If there is snow on the ground, make sure your driveway and walkway are clear and salted if icy. Since it gets dark at 4:30 in the afternoon now, potential buyers will often be visiting your house in the dark so keep the area lit…they need to see their way to your front door! Keep the outdoor décor simple…put a lovely wreath on the front door with an urn of greenery on the porch. If you’re doing Christmas lights, don’t overdue them and keep them white…too many colours can be overwhelming for potential buyers.
Cozy up – It's cold outside! But you want potential buyers to feel warm and comfortable when they walk into your house, so they can imagine themselves and their families living there. Turn the heat to a comfortable setting, light a fire if you have a working fireplace, and simmer some apple cider on the stove – the smell will invoke warm memories and feelings of home.
Holiday décor – less is more!
-Don't totally cover up the fireplace mantle with decorations, keep the decor simple, some candlesticks and a big vase of greenery and berries would look lovely, and don't put a garland on the staircase...you want to highlight the home’s architectural features, not cover them up. - Do not put a huge Christmas tree in the space, it will make the space feel very small, and
that’s not what you want potential buyers to feel! Instead use a 4-5 foot tree, about the size of a floor plant, or a pencil tree, and please do not put personal ornaments on the tree…pack those away to use next year in your new house. - Use natural items for table centerpieces – Believe it or not, not everyone loves bling! Nature appeals to the masses, so your best bet is to use greenery, berries, pinecones and candles for your centerpieces…you can always throw in a couple of shiny Christmas balls, but don’t overdue it!
Open house - If you decide to have an open house during the season…
- Put a plate of homemade holiday cookies on the kitchen island or counter with some holiday napkins so people can help themselves…after all a big part of the holiday season is the food!
- Put together a small album or a laminated sheet of photos of your property in the Spring/Summer and leave it next to the cookies or on a table near the entry for people to browse… potential buyers would love to see what the property looks like when it’s not covered in snow!
If you find yourself in the position of selling over the holiday season, I hope this helps. And remember to contact a professional home stager...our job is to help you sell your house!