Holiday Home Buying

Each year as the holiday season approaches, a significant amount of homeowners decide to postpone placing their homes on the market until after the New Year. Other homeowners, who may already have their house listed on the market, decide to take their homes off the market thinking that prospective buyers do not have an interest in home shopping.

In reality, the holiday season can be a beneficial time for both buyers and sellers. My busiest time of the year has sometimes been during the holiday season.

Buyers who are looking during this time tend to be serious buyers. They mean business and are on a mission. Many of them have been searching for months and are not going to stop looking just because the holidays are here. This especially holds true for buyers who have been relocated to the Valley and need to begin their employment as the New Year approaches.

Many buyers also have more time off to look for a home. That means there is more time for browsing online, dreaming about their future dwelling and even scheduling home showings. Year-end tax benefits are also a reason why some buyers choose to find their home before the end of the year.

In addition, for sellers there can be less competition. In January, the listings that hit the market increase, which can lessen the demand for a seller’s home.

There are fewer properties this time of the year for buyers to choose from, which means for those buyers who are on a quest to find a home before the end of the year, chances are a seller’s property will be higher on their list.

Buyers also understand that the holiday season may be extra challenging for sellers to show their homes, so they are usually very flexible with a seller’s schedule. Lastly, there are a lot of non-holiday participants out and they are not going to let anything get in the way of their home quest.

For sellers, the holidays are a great time to add creativity and sentimental appeal to their homes. Homes decorated correctly during the holidays can bring warmth and comfort, while captivating a buyer’s emotional side. Sticking to tasteful decorations that are not overwhelming to buyers, while highlighting the best features in a home, can give a buyer an idea of how it will feel like for them to celebrate next year’s holidays and many years to come, in their future home.

So how does a seller create the right festive mood without offending the different religious affiliations of buyers? Opt for winter decorations rather than items with religious themes. Simple white lights, an elegant garland wrapped around a staircase, and silver-gold-metallic colored wreaths are some examples of neutral décor.

Turn up the snuggle factor — light your fireplace for showings, play classical music, offer fresh-baked goods, place scented pine cones in a basket, and add flameless candles around the house. These are all unbiased ways to decorate, yet give the house a festive and inviting Norman Rockwell-cozy vibe.

For a seller, there are many joyous and jolly reasons to sell your home during this cheerful period. Take advantage and get that home listed. What a great way to start off the new year with a “SOLD” sign on your home. JN

Sandra Barckholtz is an associate broker and certified home marketing specialist for HomeSmart International in the Valley.

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