5 Tips for selling a Boulder County Home during the Holidays
Conventional wisdom saw many real estate brokers advising sellers to hold off on listing their home during the holiday season. We even used to advise homeowners to take their homes off the market if they were already listed. That then. This is now. You have to know how the market is performing to make educated decisions. Right now, much like last year, the real estate market is good enough (great enough) for sellers to effectively list and sell whenever they are ready – All year round.
How should a Boulder County Seller go about preparing a house for sale in the fall/winter?
Condition: As usual, you’ll de-clutter and clean like the crazy. But then I’ll have you decorate for the holidays! Don’t overdo it. Keep it simple, tasteful and fun. Not religious, but warm and welcoming. Not cluttered either… You don’t want folks to trip over decorations or fail to see the house because you’ve disguised it too well.
I don’t need to tell you which one is a better marketing strategy.
Safety: Winter showings are different from summer showings. Homeowners (or their Home Owners Associations) are responsible for making sure the sidewalks, front paths, steps and driveways are not hazardous. Shovel just before showings. Put down salt or do what you need to so that ice and snow don’t cause slip and fall or tripping accidents. Make sure hand rails are sturdy and holiday decorations are clear of walkways. Please think about outdoor outlets that are in use… And the curious children with wet hands that might be visiting. Play it safe.
Consider having the furnace and hot water heater serviced prior to listing. Not only does this create trust with a buyer, but it practically guarantees that the heat will not stop working on the very cold day you have a motivated buyer coming to see your home. You and your buyer can then both rest assured that a carbon monoxide leak will not ruin anyone’s holidays too.
Marketing: I’m going to take daytime photographs of course, but if your holiday lights are festive and fun, lets capture the spirit of your home and neighborhood at night too. You are, after all, painting a picture of how the next owner could be spending the 2016 holidays! To get the best pictures you’ll want trimmed trees and clean windows. Inside, I will aim to capture a feeling. Warmth, security, low maintenance. Our initial consultation will leave you with a do-to list, in preparation for photography. I’ll help with de-cluttering, staging, cleaning and lighting advice. The pictures I take will be used to market your home online and using color brochures. Please, let me know what your favorite features of your home are. Have you particularly enjoyed hosting Thanksgiving here? Watching the snow fall over mature trees in your yard, from the large picture window in the family room? Soup nights with the friendly neighbors?
Showings: All of my listings have a “shoes off” policy. Whether it’s rain, snow or mud, you don’t want it in the house. Consider putting down paper or towels so that buyers have a place to stand so they can pull off boots after they enter. They don’t want to do this outside. You don’t want them to leave the door open while they are getting organized either. It could be freezing outside and it won’t take long for the internal house temperature to fall and you’ll lose that cozy feeling that buyers love. Not to mention increase your heating bill.
When we think of the holidays we generally conjure up images of food and memories of the smells that go with the season. Cookies, pine trees, cinnamon and spice. Sellers can capitalize on the holidays to create emotional attachment in buyers… The idea of happy family holidays, full bellies, warm fires on cold nights is compelling. So light the fire, bake the cookies, put up a tree or even just grab a holiday scented candle and give it 20 mins to “flavor” your home a little before showings start. A little holiday background music is fun too. Perhaps a personal note to the buyers – A seasonal greeting and offering of spiced tea or hot chocolate with a cookie for your guests would be nice. ‘Tis the season, after all.
Price: Listen to your Realtor. If you are serious about selling your Boulder County home, you want to price it intelligently in any season. But nothing could be more frustrating than showing after fruitless showing, during the busy holiday season. With each showing appointment, you’ll need to get out of the house, so make it count! Buyers who are shopping between Thanksgiving and New Year are obviously motivated too. You will only get one shot with each of them, so if the house is not showing nicely and priced according to the value it brings the buyer, then they will immediately start looking elsewhere.
There are many reasons for wanting to sell during the holidays. I don’t assume that a seller is in financial strife, but I do assume that the seller has a reason. For some, it’s the time when they are not spending all their time at the soccer or baseball fields. For others, it’s just when the house looks the nicest and feels the coziest and a great time to make good on their new year’s resolution. For many, getting the house sold this year or waiting until just after the new year to sell, is an important and intelligent tax decision.
Buyers find themselves shopping during this time of year for a variety of reasons too. Perhaps they simply didn’t find what they wanted during the summer or prefer to shop when there is less competition. Or maybe a corporate relocation, divorce or other change in life circumstance is driving a purchase during the holidays.
Whatever the reason, buyers and sellers can find mutual benefit in working together during the holidays. Nothing says Happy New Year like a little closure and a fresh start!