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Should You Sell Your Home During the Holidays? Local Real Estate Agents Weigh In

Photo credit: iStock/KentWeakley

Photo credit: iStock/KentWeakley

While most sellers look to list in the spring, putting your house up for sale this winter might just give you an edge over the competition. (Same goes if you’re in the market to buy this winter. With fewer people searching, you’re less likely to run into competing offers and bidding wars.)

We spoke with Coldwell Banker Preferred affiliated sales associates to discuss the advantages of listing your home during the holidays and how to keep your family in good spirits despite the interruption.

Keep the decorations – but don’t overdo it.

The key word in selling a home is “declutter.” This can be harder for families looking to celebrate the holidays and partake in their traditions. Luckily, you don’t have to ditch the decorations but instead, think about downsizing to the essentials.

“Decorating for the holidays can make a home look its best,” said Coldwell Banker Preferred affiliated sales associate David Caracausa of the Premier Properties Group. “But it can add distraction to a home. Be careful not to have too many or too large decorations and keep items on display neutral to the season rather than religious.”

Rooms should be easy to walk through and cleared of excess objects. Consider showing the holiday spirit outside the house.

“Exterior holiday lighting can add to the curb appeal of your home,” said Moorestown Coldwell Banker Preferred affiliated sales associate Gina Kassak. “You don’t want to detract from the architectural features of the home such as a mantel or entry hallway.”

Make your buyers feel right at home.

No one braves the cold unless they really want a house. You’ll have a bigger batch of people on a deadline so your potential buyers are more motivated.

“Buyers who are looking in November and December are absolutely serious buyers,” said Rachel Rothbard, a Coldwell Banker Preferred affiliated sales associate in Old City. “Sellers can rest assured their tidying up for holiday-time showings will not be a waste.”

Your home should be warm and inviting. If a buyer wants to cozy up on your couch with a mug of hot cocoa, it’s easier for them to envision themselves living there.

“Keep a comfortable temperature inside, play soft classical music and offer homemade holiday treats,” Caracausa said. “When you encourage buyers to spend more time in your home, you also give them more time to admire its best features.”

Share photos from spring and summer.

One of the biggest drawbacks of selling in the colder months is the loss of outdoor spaces. A buyer’s first impression of your home might be buried in snow so make sure you have photos on hand to show off those gardenia bushes or stunning deck features.

“The sellers should have interior and exterior photos or videos of the home during the warmer months,” Kassak said.

This is also a handy tool for the majority of buyers using the Internet.

“When the weather outside is frigid, homebuyers are more likely to browse listings online,” Caracausa said. “Make a good first impression by offering plenty of flattering, high-quality photos showing the house year-round.”

Don’t turn down a showing.

Since the pool of interested buyers will be smaller, showings are less frequent. Seize the opportunity when you can!

“Open houses are a hit or miss during the holiday season,” said Rothbard. “Sellers should expect to be flexible and accommodate private showings. We’re all very busy during the holidays, but it’s to the sellers’ advantage to work with the prospective buyer.”

That flexibility could be the difference between an immediate sell and a long wait on the market. Many winter buyers come prepared with financing and are ready to make a deal and move in.

“We sold our first home the day I was hosting my son’s birthday,” Kassak said. “An agent drove by with a client, saw the ‘for sale’ sign and knocked on my door a few hours before guests arrived. At first, I refused, but my husband persuaded me to let them in. An offer was made and accepted the next day.”

For more information about buying or selling a home in the communities of the Greater Philadelphia area and the Delaware Valley, including southern New Jersey and northern Delaware, visit Coldwell Banker Preferred online at www.coldwellbankerhomes.com/philadelphia.