Holiday Home Sales: Yes! You Should List Your Home for Sale in Winter
Fight the urge to hunker down this winter and wait until spring blooms to put your house on the East Bay real estate market.
Sure, spring is the most popular time to list a home for sale, but limiting yourself to a particular season could mean leaving money on the table.
Contrary to popular belief, the East Bay real estate market does not hibernate like some sleepy bear.
No matter the month, Bay Area buyers are active and far out number the amount of homes on the market. In fact, winter inventory is even tighter than other times of the year, which is good news for sellers.
Fewer homes on the market means yours will garner more attention from motivated buyers who aren’t traveling, holiday partying, and spending cash on presents instead of saving for a house.
“There may not be as many buyers around the holidays, but there are serious ones,” Abio co-founder and associate broker Linnette Edwards recently told the San Francisco Chronicle. “While it may take a little longer to sell, if the house is prepared well, the price doesn’t really take the hit.
Read on for Linnette’s and other Abio team members’ top tips for selling in the winter…
How to sell your house in the winter for top dollar
1. Partner with a nimble Realtor
Pick a knowledgeable agent who can stay ahead of the competition with smart pricing and delivery. Let them know you’d consider a preemptive offers.
2. Timing is everything
Avoid going on the market the week of major holidays. Listing on MLS during Christmas or Thanksgiving week is just begging for an empty open house. Don’t be that turkey.
3. Marketing motto: Pull out all the stops
Getting the best price in winter is all about presentation and marketing, Linnette says. Don’t skimp on pre-sale prep. Talk to your agent about plans for staging, twilight photos, a custom website, and creating a virtual tour.
4. Get festive with open houses and have more of them
Feed off of the holiday season energy!
“In the winter I love serving hot cocoa and tea. It gives guests that warm fuzzy feeling and helps make them feel welcome in the home,” says Abio Properties Realtor Felicia Mares.
Also, Felicia says, “people tend to stick around longer when they’re comfortable – turn the heat on.”
Abio Properties Realtor Krista Miller is a fan of filling the home with the scent of fresh baked cookies. “But only bake a handful at a time to keep people around and waiting for the cookies,” she says.
Creative real estate agents who raffle a turkey or collect donations for a food bank also are open-house winners in Linnette’s book.
5. Don’t go all “Clark Griswold” with the decorations
Yard decorations are distracting. Holiday lights don’t photograph well. Religious symbols might be off-putting for some buyers. Just. Don’t. Do. It.
And while we’re Grinching your holiday buzz, make sure your agent doesn’t play Christmas music during the open house, advises Krista.
6. Curb appeal
Although you can’t benefit from the bloom of springtime flowers, you can create colorful landscaping with wintertime foliage. Try filling flower beds or boxes with red and white cyclamen or rosettes of ornamental kale in lavender and creamy yellow.
Krista also advises her sellers to employ a gardener to sweep fallen leaves weekly.
7. Soggy foot traffic
For open houses on rainy days, place an attractive tray by the front door for shoes and umbrellas. Also leave a few towels out in case someone tracks in rainwater.
Speaking of wet weather, don’t forget to close the fireplace damper, Felicia reminds her clients. “You wouldn’t want to ruin those beautiful hardwood floors!”
8. Lots of light
Combat those overcast skies and short days by opening all the window coverings and turning on every light.
As days grow shorter, Krista recommends setting a timer on some lights so they turn on automatically at 5 p.m.
9. Make it cozy
Toss a chic throw blanket over a sofa or chair arm. Feature the fireplace with logs or an attractive display of pillar candles. Home is where the hearth is!
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Are you warming up to the idea of listing your East Bay home this winter? The expert Realtors at Abio Properties can answer all your seasonal questions. Contact us at 888-400-ABIO (2246) or firstname.lastname@example.org.