Monday, June 26th, 2017

To sell … or not to sell, market your home over the holiday season?

By SUE REID

While most people equate springtime with the best time to sell a home, there are some real advantages to listing one’s home over the holidays.

Perhaps the biggest draw, according to Howard Hanna agent Christine Merry, is that sellers get a more “serious quality of buyers” this season. These are individuals who will show up for open houses when the snow is falling and are not buyers who think, “maybe, maybe not.”

Experts say buyers also have more time to look around the holidays and can come for showings over the weekends. Many believe buyers are more emotional over the holidays and therefore tend to spend more money, which is great news for the seller.

With less inventory over the holidays, there’s also less competition.

But still, many sellers ask themselves whether or not they should list, wait until January or hold off entirely until spring.

“We talk to a lot of sellers who don’t want to put their house on the market over the holidays but wait until April or May,” Ms. Merry explained. “At that point, you’re just playing along with everyone else.

“If your home is on market during holidays, keep it on the market,” she noted. “People will be entering the market and there won’t be as many homes so you will stand out. “Once you get past the holidays, then you are just ahead of the game,” she added.

If you make the decision to market your home over the holidays, is it OK to decorate? The experts say yes. But don’t overdo it. It is important to keep in mind that, if the house goes under contract, sellers may have 30 days or less to vacate, Ms. Merry said. Therefore, the more elaborate the decorations, the longer they may take to come down – and in bad weather. Also, when it comes to decorating, there should be a balance. Make sure the home is warm and welcoming and not overbearing.

“It is important to know who your buyer market is and decorate in a way that would appeal to it,” Ms. Merry said. For example, Ms. Merry sells out of Howard Hanna’s Greater Cleveland office in Ohio City, in a more urban environment. Therefore, a country style Christmas scene would not be that appealing. “Try to decorate to their taste, and if you can’t, keep it simple and neutral,” she said.

There’s no doubt that houses often show better when they are decorated, especially with welcoming soft white lights, which can make the home look warm and inviting for prospective buyers.

“It is still the holidays and the seller still lives there and should be able to enjoy their home,” Ms. Merry said. But again, less is more, and those same lights may have to come down in a hurry.

Ms. Merry also noted that buyers are always looking for properties online. As a result, and for the sanity of the seller who may not want their holidays filled with walkthroughs that lead to nowhere, it is important that they represent their house well online. “Quality pictures are very important,” said Ms. Merry, a top-selling agent who has been selling homes for more than a decade. To that end, she utilizes cutting-edge Matterport digital 3-D technology, which offers high-quality rapid 3-D visualization of a physical space.

“It is a 3-D walkthrough tour of your home,” Ms. Merry explained of the new technology. The best way to describe it is a “Google street view of your house. “It gives the most accurate and honest representation of the house,” she said. Therefore, the people coming through feel as if they have almost been in the house already. Most real estate agents don’t yet have this new technology, which is costly, but extremely effective. “It is really cutting edge,” Ms. Merry added.

 

 

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