Colorful lights, extravagant Christmas decorations, and the mess and mayhem that comes with the holiday season can be a lot of fun — unless you’ve got a For Sale sign in the front yard.
Few people choose to sell a house during the holidays, but sometimes they don’t have a choice. A job transfer, a sudden illness or death, or another unforeseen or unavoidable circumstance can land a house smack dab in the middle of the notoriously slow-selling holiday season.
The housing market is tight right now both here in Northeast Ohio and across the country. People are living longer, retiring later and generally staying put in their homes, creating a crowded market for potential homebuyers and young people trying to buy a home.
That can be good news for those who find themselves managing open houses and showings from mid-November through Groundhog Day in February. People are looking for houses year-round because there aren’t that many choices, particularly in desirable neighborhoods.
If you’re selling a house during the holidays, keep decorations simple. This isn’t the year for a Christmas tree in every room or inflatable Santas and Grinches in the front yard. Excessive décor can be distracting to potential buyers.
And although the holidays are a time for family visits and parties, it’s vital that sellers make their homes available for Realtor showings throughout the season. Be flexible. Keep your home show-ready; stash the holiday wrap, move the cookie tins, and clear out clutter to make rooms look open and appealing.
Keep a box of shoe booties near the entrance so people don’t track salt, mud and snow into your home. It will cut down on messy floors and make it easier to get ready for a last-minute showing if your Realtor calls.
Keep the walkways and driveways free of snow and ice. First impressions count, regardless of the season or weather. Pull out a tray of fresh-baked or store-bought cookies and leave them on the kitchen counter for an inviting (and flavorful) display.
Selling a house during the holidays can be a challenge, but it’s not impossible. Simple décor, flexibility with showings and clear walkways will make your home attractive to buyers and boost your chances for a competitive offer.
Dianna Hosta-Stickney is a real estate consultant with Cutler Real Estate in Middleburg Heights and Strongsville. Contact her at 440-785-6800 or DiannaSellsHomes.com.