Ah, the holidays! A time for peace, love and joy…..or in some cases overeating, overspending, and stress; especially for homeowners and their agents trying to sell a home. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Yes, the winter holiday season generally means the market will slowdown but there are still contracts being written up! If you currently have a New Hampshire home on the market, or are thinking about selling, here are some tips from some top agents associated with Prudential Verani Realty on how to get the most from a showing and get your house sold during the cold winter months.
Go ahead and list NOW, despite the season. Prudential Verani Realty agent, Don Goudrerau of the Concord, NH office says, “You want to be listed before the masses put theirs on the market. In doing so, you won’t get lost in the pack!”
True, a larger pool of potential buyers may wait until the warmer months to look for a new home, but you can bet these holiday house hunters are out and about in the cold and wet weather for a reason…they are motivated!
Prudential Verani Realty, Bedford agent, Kim Daneault says, “There are continued relocation needs; homes that need to be sold and buyers that need to buy. MANY buyers think this time of the year is a great time to buy because of what they perceive as a ‘Time for Good Deals’, and in general, it is! In addition, as a seller you might be one of the few choices available!”
Mickey Pieterse, also of the Bedford, NH office adds,” Tell sellers that motivated people DO come at this time. Often they are relocating with a job and MUST find a house. Some may have a break from work and want to live in New Hampshire, often visiting family here for the holidays. Often sellers will foolishly take their house off the market for the holidays and that’s too bad, because the ones on the market get sold to those motivated buyers. You may have fewer showings, but those that come are the real deal. If you are the only game in town, you win. It works for me and in the 23+ years I’ve been in the biz, I have, at least 6 times, written offers on Christmas Eve!”
“The bottom line is, by listing now”, says Val Muñoz of the Londonderry office, “you may have fewer showings, but you’ll have more qualified and motivated buyers. You’ll have less competition, resulting in a quicker sale and a better price for you!”
Stage for the holidays. New Homes Director, Gail Nickerson of the Prudential Verani New Homes Division , says, “Buying and selling is an emotional event and what better way to demonstrate your home to a buyer than have your Christmas tree all lit up and all your favorite decorations put out!” And, “Planning a holiday open house would be a great idea in December! “
For example, if you have a dining room, stage it as if a festive holiday dinner is taking place! Many buyers have purchased a home based solely on their holiday dinner fantasy. However, you may want to consider keeping your personal religious beliefs at a minimum when staging for the holidays. You don’t want to let your beliefs interfere with the buyer envisioning their OWN holiday in the home.
Siri Wilbur, of Prudential Verani’s Salem, NH office also adds, “Everyone knows staging is important; putting out fresh linens in the bathrooms like brand new white hand towels and large chunky, unused bars of soap give a bathroom a fresh look. Hide the toothbrushes and please put the seat down!” Additionally, Kathi Mikilitus, also from the Salem location says, “Maximize your home’s show stopping appeal with decorations and a winter theme. Even an average home can look WOW with a little extra work!”
Prudential Verani Realty’s Nashua Regional Manager, Tina Hagen, also says staging is a must for selling your home during the holidays. “Try to engage the senses of the buyer by not only visually staging your home, but by including holiday scents as well.” Strategically placed fir or pine scented candles will do wonders in the subconscious mind of the buyer. Also remember that cold, gray days can make even the most beautiful home seem just that; cold and gray. Make sure your home is well lit and warm! If you have a fireplace, light it up and show it off!
Accessibility and ease to showing your home. Tina Hagen further notes that it’s best to make sure your sidewalks are clear of all snow and mud. There’s nothing worse than buyers having to tromp through the snow and risk potential slipping. Plus you don’t want mud and snow tracked through your home.
Be prepared to accept showing requests whenever the buyer wants to see your home. You may have your moment of Zen or your favorite television show interrupted, but you don’t want to miss out on showing your home to that motivated holiday home buyer! Inconvenience and irritation are bound to rear its ugly head during the showing of your home, but it will be well worth it when you finally pass the papers!
Carol Anne Bennett, Equestrian Home Specialist from the Prudential Verani Realty, Bedford office notes, ” ‘Tis the season to be jolly and it’s also the season to SHOW, SHOW, SHOW houses! The buyers who are looking right now are definitely and totally motivated! These are the buyers which need to be catered to! My home listings are getting lots of showings, and it’s all just picked up within the past 10 days!”
Of course there are days when you simply cannot show your home during the holidays; for example Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and/or New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. If this is the case simply make sure your Realtor knows to specifically note on the showing instructions that showings are not to take place on these days.