Let’s begin by saying that we know all the arguments in the real estate investing world on why you shouldn’t sell a house during the holidays.
It’s a busy time of year. You have guests coming to visit, presents to wrap, parties to attend, all of which leaves you with less time to show the property.
There’s less curb appeal during the winter months, as it’s harder to show the exterior of the house, particularly the landscaping.
And when you do get potential buyers, they might think you’re desperate to sell and try to drive down your asking price.
Yet there are some advantages to selling a home around this time of year. You won’t have to compete with as many sellers, and buyers often tend to be more serious.
If you’re planning to sell a house during the holidays, here are a few things you should consider:
1. Work with a reliable agent
As anyone who’s worked with a real estate investment group can tell you, having a reliable real estate agent by your side is essential during any sale, especially this time of year. Look for someone committed enough to their field to not just take off during the stretch between Thanksgiving and the New Year.
2. Look for determined buyers
Holiday season house hunters tend to be more motivated. Coordinate with your agent to find buyers who have a deadline, whether it’s a tax-related, or someone who’s moving to town for work and needs a new place to live.
3. Make sure the house looks its best
When the weather gets cold, buyers turn to the web to seek out potential properties. Make sure they see your property at its best. Add a 3D tour to your online listing and offer a detailed listing description. You might even want to invest in a professional photographer to highlight the property’s best features.
Curb appeal should be a key priority here. You can’t do anything about the bare trees or the slushy streets, so make sure the house itself looks its best: add some fresh paint, clean out the gutters and rake the leaves. Remember your buyers’ well-being by clearing stairs and sidewalks of snow and ice.
4. Decorate, but don’t overdo it
Homes can look festive and inviting during the holidays but be careful not to go overboard with your decorations, as this can become a distraction. Stick to decorations that suggest “winter” rather than “Christmas” or any sort of religious themes so as not to offend potential buyers.
But you should make things feel festive. Play some soft music, make sure the heat is on – you can even light a fire in the fireplace – and serve some refreshments. It will give visitors a chance to relax and more time to admire the property.
5. Pocket listings
When you do a pocket listing, your real estate agent will spread the word about your home without actually putting it out to market. Of course, you’ll need an agent with a fairly extensive network, someone who can market your property to other agents.
At best, you’ll be able to sell the house without having to keep holding showings and open houses while you also try to juggle your holiday schedule. At worst, you’ll just have to do a traditional listing.
Whether it’s the week before Christmas or the height of summer, selling a house is something best done with a good support system. Realtors, attorneys, home inspectors, etc.
And that’s the kind of network a real estate investment group like DIG – the Diversified Real Estate Investor Group – can help you develop.
We are one of the oldest real estate investment groups in the country, an organization comprised of professionals from each level of the real estate world. Come to our next meeting to start cultivating the skills you’ll need to sell your properties.