Are the holidays not hectic enough for you? Put aside your gift list for a moment; how about adding a home sale to your to-do list?
Most people avoid selling their homes during the holidays, but you may not have any choice in the matter. If you need to sell your home around the end of the year, here are seven tips to help your sale go smoothly.
- Minimize Holiday Decorations – Not everyone has the same love of holiday decorations, and poorly maintained, tacky, or overly religious displays can be a turnoff for potential buyers. Keep the seasonal decorations simple and easy to maintain.
That applies to the outside as well as the inside of your home – avoid browning out the neighborhood with your awesome light display.
- Keep It Clean – Keeping the home free of tracked-in mud, snow, and other debris is even tougher in the winter months, and arguably even more important. Vacuum well and vacuum often.
Don't neglect the outside. Bare trees may show areas of your home that are usually hidden; make sure these areas are clean and presentable. Deal with any cosmetic maintenance issues such as leaf-filled gutters. Keep your yard raked free of leaves to the extent possible and keep your driveway, sidewalk, and front steps free of snow.
- Price it Right – Buyers at this time of year are typically motivated and not interested in dickering. You, as a seller, are probably similarly motivated. Now is not the time to be ambitious with your pricing.
Do your homework on pricing through Trulia, Zillow, or similar sites, and consult with your real estate agent about the proper price for your home – then take their advice, even if you don't like it. Also, check your credit score and read your credit report for free within minutes by joining MoneyTips. Whether you rent or buy a new place, someone is going to check your credit, so be sure to check it first.
- Be Accessible – The holidays make it even more difficult than usual for real estate agents to schedule showings since all parties involved usually have holiday activities and other distractions. Clear your schedule as much as possible to accommodate potential buyers.
You do want to block off a few dates – for example, you probably are not going to want to show your home on Thanksgiving Day or Christmas Day – but keep these dates to a minimum and make sure you and your real estate agent are clear about acceptable showing times.
- Keep it Cozy – If you live in a cold climate, spend the extra bucks to keep the heat up to a comfortable level. A subtle baking or Christmas tree scent that matches the season is a nice welcoming touch (emphasis on subtle). Make sure the house is well lit to counteract the potentially drab feeling of winter.
If your house makes you feel warm and comfortable when you walk in the door, others are likely to feel the same way.
- Show Alternate Times of Year – Your landscaping may look beautiful in the spring and summer, but describing it is a poor substitute for showing it. If you had the foresight to make some, have flattering pictures available to use for the listing, and if necessary, keep one in the house to show to potential buyers.
- Make a Video – A video tour of your home during this time of year can be especially useful in convincing reluctant buyers that your house is worth braving the elements to see. Coordinate the video and all postings with your real estate agent so he or she is not caught by surprise.
We hope that you will receive the holiday gift of a swift and profitable home sale. That should make the holidays even merrier.
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