Should Sellers Decorate Their Home For The Holidays?
The period of time that begins roughly around Thanksgiving and extends to New Year’s Day is the most important time of the year for retail sales. Department stores do their best to get their customers excited about buying gifts for the holiday season. Frosted windows, Santa Claus and Christmas music lends to the festive atmosphere.
As you drive through the neighborhood on your way to shop, the Christmas lights will light up the houses along the way. While not normally considered to be the best time of the year to sell a house, there are always some homeowners who want or need to sell their homes during the short holiday season. If you are putting your house up for sale in November or December, should you decorate your home for the holidays?
Opinion is mixed on whether it is a good idea to sell a house during the holiday season. Most real estate experts will tell you that the summer time is the best time to be a seller. Families are looking to get settled into a new house so the kids can start the new year of school at the same time as the other kids. The weather is nicer and more buyers will mean more offers for your home.
On the other hand, if you sell during the winter months, it is more likely that potential buyers are more serious buyers and do not want to wait until summer to purchase a home. No matter when you sell your home, you want to present it in the best possible light. What is the best sales strategy to deploy during the holiday season?
Work with a dedicated real estate agent
If you need to sell your home during the holidays, you will want to find an agent who will work diligently to sell your home. Even though the holiday season is supposed to be a time to have fun with your family and attend office parties, as the seller, you want someone who will focus on the business at hand. Showing your home during this period can be more difficult as the pool of buyers is small and everyone is busy preparing for their own holiday celebrations.
Use the Internet for Selling During the Holidays
Holiday home buyers like to search for homes on the Internet before they actually visit. If you can, post pictures (or have your real estate agent) of how your home looks during the rest of the year. Prospective buyers will appreciate the additional views when your home is not all decked-out for the holidays.
Decorations should not overwhelm potential buyers
If you are going to have a Christmas tree, don’t go with one that takes up the whole room. A modestly sized tree that fits nicely in the corner of the room can create a warm and family-friendly atmosphere without taking away from the other features of the space. You should be modest in your approach to holiday decorations. Putting out a gingerbread village and a toy train set on the kitchen table is a bit too much. A few elegant crystal candle holders and a couple of red bows are better than having a plastic Santa with a nose that lights up in a bright red glow. Keep Rudolph and the other reindeer in the garage and don’t go overboard.
Color has an emotional appeal
Marketing and scientific studies show that people have a more positive emotional response to the color red than to the color green. Use some natural muted greens and some brighter red ribbons strategically around the house to create an emotionally positive reaction from shoppers who are interested in buying a house.
Set the table
A properly set table with your fancy dishes and silverware makes a nice impression in you dining room. You could put a couple of nice silver candlesticks at each end of the table and add a tasteful centerpiece. Pinecones and other wintry pieces work well for the holidays.
Make your home smell good
When people come into your home, they will immediately notice a house that has the scent of cinnamon. You can put out some potpourri or fill the air with the smell of a freshly baked apple pie. Scented candles work well in the bathroom and bedroom and incense can provide some of the most pleasing fragrances. You want a pleasing scent but nothing too domineering. You want your home to have the subtle smell of a few splashes of perfume and not that of an entire bottle of perfume that you accidentally spilled on the carpet.
In the same vein as baking a wonderful apple pie, you can welcome prospective buyers with a platter filled with holiday cookies. Everybody loves those little shortbread green cookies that are shaped like Christmas trees. If you are a good cook, you can bake them in your kitchen and if you are not so confident in the kitchen, go out and buy some from your local bakery.
While the inside of your house can be nicely decorated, you should not forget about the exterior appearance off your home. Curb appeal is always an important feature when you are trying to sell your home. Put a wreath on the front door. Put a couple of LED candles in the window. During the holiday season, it is easy to get carried away with a massive display of lights and lawn ornaments. Use lights tastefully to illuminate some of your trees and shrubs and use some restraint when hanging them on your house. Whatever you do, do not buy the 12-foot inflatable snowman and Santa Claus and plop them on your front lawn. You do not want to block the appearance of your home.
Spread some holiday cheer
Free cookies are nice but if you really want to close the sale, consider offering serious buyers financing. You may be able to expand your universe of potential buyers to include those who have trouble qualifying for a traditional mortgage. Your gift to the buyer can also be a gift to you because buyers in need are willing to pay a higher sale price and also a higher interest rate on owner financing agreements. While you are doing this in the holiday spirit, make sure you get the proper legal advice if you decide to offer financing on your own.
Article Copyright ©2013 – All Rights Reserved Patrick Belhon (patricksellshomes@gmail(dot)com)
Berkshire Hathaway Homeservices
- Advantages of Listing Your Home during the Holidays (easymortgageandbusiness.wordpress.com)
- Dos And Don’ts For Staging Your Home This Holiday Season (forbes.com)
- Advantages of Buying or Selling a Home During the Holiday Season (connecttimes.com)