I have been working with several different clients recently who have been thinking about (1) taking their home off the market over the holidays, (2) waiting to list until after the holidays, and (3) listing now, but wondering if staging is necessary because not many people will likely be coming through anyway.
While there are always pros and cons and your decision ultimately depends on your unique situation, I usually recommend listing over the holidays…
- There aren't as many buyers looking at this time of year, but those who are tend to be serious and ready to buy
- Season doesn't make any difference to relocation buyers… they are motivated to find a home NOW
- Inventory is typically lower at this time of year, meaning less competition… your home may stand out more than at other times of the year
- People often have extra time off during the holidays… and have more time to look after already spending time with family and friends
- It only takes one person to buy… you want to be available and look as good as you can to find that one buyer
As far as staging is concerned, holiday time is one of the best times of the year to showcase your home as warm and inviting… which means staging is more important than ever.
Most buyers choose the homes they want to see on line, which means good photos are essential to bring them to your door. Once they get there it usually takes less then 30 seconds for a buyer to decide if they have any more interest in your home. This means you want to make them say "WOW" as soon as they walk in your front door… staging is just as important at this time of year as any other.
- Use seasonal items, such as poinsettias, evergreen branches and colored ribbons, but avoid displaying religious icons
- Add velvet and silk for softness… by seeing smooth textures in the home, the brain registers the feeling of warmth and softness
- Play gentle, well-known music without words… music makes the buyer feel light and happy, and sets a positive mood
- Simmer cider with orange slices and cinnamon and lay out fresh-cut evergreen branches
- Avoid artificial sprays and potpourri because many people have allergic reactions to them
While it is a very busy time of year, you can have a house on the market during the holidays and survive. Consider times that you might not want your home shown (during parties, family gatherings, etc) and perhaps change your showing instructions to 'must notify'. In that way, if you get a showing request during a party or family celebration you can suggest another time instead.
So, should you have your home listed for sale over the holidays?? You likely won't have as many showings at this time of year but that is ok… you are busy and only want serious buyers anyway. You don't know if it will selll…. but you know your home WON'T sell if it is NOT on the market!