Believe it or not people here in these northern climes still buy and sell real estate even when Christmas is coming or we are in the depths of a bitterly cold winter. People have to move. I’m one of those people – 4 out of the last 5 moves that I have made have been in either the end of December or the beginning of January.
Summer sales have the benefit of showing your home at its lovely best – flowers in the pots, green grass, leafy trees, birds chirping… no ice, no black snow, no howling wind. But in the winter? Well, you have the benefit of less competition both on the sell and the buy side. People who are serious are looking and those who have a hobby of looking at homes without pulling the trigger may actually decide to stay home.
So how do you attract buyers to your home like a moth to a flame? Here are 6 strategies to use when you’re selling your home in what you might not think is the “ideal” time.
Make your online presence shine
Most people shop online first! So the number one thing you can do to make sure that your home stands out is have a really beautiful online presence. Your realtor should be hiring a professional real estate photographer – NOT snapping pics on their iPhone, even if it’s the latest and greatest. Professional real estate photographers know how to make a home shine online.
Do the prep work to get the home “staged” before pictures too. You don’t have to hire someone to come in, and you can use your own things, but take a critical look at the quantity (less is more to a point) and then make it look cozy with appropriate art, accessories and pillows. You’re creating an ideal for someone. You want to make it look like a space that they can imagine themselves living in.
Play up the holidays!
If you have a sweeping staircase or a mantel, put greenery and twinkle lights on them, set up some candles – faux are great because they don’t have a scent, no fire risk, and they can be on during open houses or showings. If you have a gas fireplace, have it lit for photos, or turn it on before showings if you’ll be right back. If you don’t need to worry about little ones, I would even say to have your table set as if you’re about to have a party.
But, keep it simple and understated, not over the top. You’re creating a mood, and you don’t want that mood to be “I just stepped into Santa’s workshop”.
Make sure that the home has every light on, and that none are burned out, it gets dark in MN at 4:30 in the winter, people want to feel like they are being welcomed into a comforting space. Lighting goes a long way.
Be flexible with showings.
We all have a lot going on during the holidays, people are visiting, they may be entertaining (or at least in normal times) and not want to have showings that interrupt. It probably won’t feel that convenient to be letting people in to see the home in the midst of this, but, try your best to have the home show ready at a moment’s notice. People need to see it to decide if they want to buy, the more open, available & flexible you can be the better.
Make Curb Appeal a TOP Priority!
People will literally slow their roll – and then speed it right back up again if the house looks less than appealing on the exterior.
Make sure gutters are clean, sidewalks are shoveled and ice free, paint on doors etc is in top shape – maybe a fresh coat to the front door to make it pop?
Hang a pretty wreath, put down a cute new welcome mat, put evergreen boughs in your planters and highlight features that get use year ’round like fire pits or hot tubs.
If homes in your market aren’t moving very quickly or if you have a home that has a negative feature that is a challenge to overcome, especially with good competition, think about offering an incentive. If there is an appliance that you can replace, a home warranty to offer, a TV, or some closing costs that could be picked up if an offer comes in by a certain date – consider that as a carrot to entice a buyer to get off the fence and get that bit of extra incentive.
Do a themed open house!
Use the holiday to create a fun open house! Offer some holiday themed treats, have appropriate music, and make the buyers really envision spending their next holiday in the home.
Have questions about living in Minneapolis or the Twin Cities? Let me know!