Selling your home during the holidays is both an exciting and sometimes scary prospect. People often have additional questions about staging, showings and best practices during the holiday season. They want to know everything from how to make the house seem bright to how to make the move during the holidays as smooth as possible. I’ve put together answers to common questions that I get this time of year that will give you insight about the most essential tips to keep in mind when selling your home during the winter season.
Should I or can I still decorate for the holidays?
Yes, I believe that you should still decorate during the holiday season but there are important factors to keep in mind. You want timeless listing photos, so I recommend neutral colors and minimal to no holiday decor for your online marketing. For showings stick to a winter or fall theme versus a heavy holiday/ religious decor in order to stay neutral for those that don’t share your faith.
If you live in a neighborhood or area that is well known for going all out with holiday lights and decor, you may be able to leverage that with marketing, and that might change these recommendations. Be sure to check with your listing agent about this to see what would be most effective.
If my home is listed in the holiday season will buyers want to see it on the holidays and holiday weekends?
The answer is Yes! So you will want to make sure to let your real estate agent know in advance if it won’t be available on certain days or times. If you live in a home that is actively marketed without an accepted offer, you should plan for your home to be shown any time people are free to view it. Unfortunately holidays like Thanksgiving & Christmas are common times for people to shop for houses because many people aren’t working at those times, and they are able to travel. While most buyers are understanding if your home isn’t available to show during these dates make sure to discuss your holiday availability beforehand to maximize your house’s ability to be shown to buyers.
Once you have accepted an offer you are in luck as our Oregon real estate forms, most inspectors, banks and escrow companies recognize federal holidays, so you are unlikely to have a deadline or have these companies respond to requests for showing appointments on any of these holidays.
How do I protect my home from the wet PNW fall and winter weather?
It’s ideal to have a shoe removal area with a dry floor mat, along with a bench or chair. Your real estate agent will provide booties to cover shoes, set up a place for folks to hang winter coats and access to hand wipes/ paper towels near the door. This will help to avoid folks coming very far into the house to take shoes off or get rid of any layers that might be wet. It’s helpful to have a few dry cleaning towels and a broom tucked into the coat closet or utility room to help with quick touch up that might be needed. .
Won’t it be too dark for buyers to see the yard or acreage for showings after dark?
Yes & no, if you have acreage that is not lit with landscape lights, be sure that the majority of people view your house in the earlier part of the day. If you have a smaller property or acreage that is well lit then make sure that any exterior landscaping lights, security lights and pathway lights are in good working order and on for later day/ evening showings. This will help the yard feel more inviting and highlight the all weather usability of your property.
Will my home feel too dark?
With our dark early evenings and more overcast days here in Lane County, listing during the holidays may require some additional lighting inside the house. Also, some simple staging can help set you up for success. Ensure that all light bulbs in the house are working and light fixtures are clean. Utilizing a daylight or soft white spectrum bulb makes a big impact, make sure all bulb light values in rooms are the same. To ensure maximum showing conditions, add lamps in dark corners and ensure that light switches are all left on or are easy to find. Switch out any heavy blinds or drapes for lighter options that let more natural light in.
Is it too cold to go look at houses?
The winter chill is certainly something to consider for showings and the poor conditions do tend to deter buyers that are not serious about buying a home just yet. However, for those who need to move, the winter months’ weather will not stop them. I’ve even had clients request showings on our rare snow days. The best thing you can do in times like these is to create a cozy, welcoming environment. If your home has a high quality heating system, wood or gas stove, or extra insulation, your home will shine on these cold days. Keep your home at a comfortable temperature for showings and plan for gas fireplaces to be turned on. Providing iInformation about special energy efficient heating, insulation, wood or gas fireplaces can be helpful to highlight these features. Plan for showings to take a bit longer since agents and buyers may need a bit more time to warm up before really feeling comfortable walking around and may need extra time to take shoes and coats off.
Can I list my house if I will be traveling for the holidays?
Yes, with technology you can virtually communicate from any part of the world so as long as you will be available via phone or email you can absolutely sell your home if you will be away. It’ll be extra important to discuss your availability and travel plans with your agent in advance, so they can help avoid any communication issues. Also, it can be helpful to set up timers on your home’s lighting systems, have someone check on the house every couple of days & to leave the thermostat on the heating system and water tank in a comfortable setting.
I hope you’ve enjoyed our holiday selling Q & A. If you have any other questions please reach out and of course If you would like to talk with me about listing your home click here or give me a call. I look forward to customizing your listing plan to ensure your move as smooth as possible in any season of the year.