Are the Holidays a Good Time to Sell a Home?Dec 11, 2019
Should home sellers wait out the holidays?
It happens every year around this time. We start getting calls asking, "Are the holidays a good time to sell a home? Should I take my house off the market until spring? Nobody is out looking at houses during the holidays - right?"
Our answer may really surprise you!
We know that there is so much else going on during this time of year. Lots of parties and family gatherings. Living in a home on the market can be a pain in any season, and more so during the holidays. So, if you (or your staging clients) are in no hurry to sell, it makes sense from a convenience standpoint to hold off until the festive season is past. On the other hand...
There is a very good argument for keeping a home on the market during the holidays. The first of the year is a common time for new job starts, so the weeks leading up to that are a prime time for some house hunters. With the school break, families have an opportunity to relocate with minimal learning days lost. They may also have vacation days that expire year end, so this is their window to find a new home.
The buyers are serious and may have more cash. Yes - there are fewer buyers out there house-shopping, as there are so many other distractions, but the ones who are looking at this time of year are serious buyers. They only have a few days to make a decision and lock down a place. The number of options is limited since there are fewer homes active, so that also raises a seller's odds. These buyers are often from out of town and are more likely to have a relocation package or submit a cash offer. They are motivated buyers.
What about holiday decor in a staged home? Holiday decorations should be simple, minimal, and non-religious when a home is on the market. Think greenery and possibly a poinsettia.
Let's put a dollar value to a Christmas tree in a house on the market. Price-per-square-foot is often a major factor in home value. The average Christmas tree consumes about 15 square feet of floor space. Crazy, right? Say the home is priced at $200/sq ft. That means that tree is concealing $3000 in perceived value.
All of our angels, Santas, and garlands make a home feel so cozy, but in real estate, 'cozy' equals 'small and cluttered'.
Most importantly, there should be absolutely no holiday hints visible in the listing photos. This goes for any other season as well. Anything that gives a clue about when photos were taken puts a visual time-stamp on those images. It tells a prospective buyer something about how long the home has been on the market.
What about adding holiday decorating to my services? Historically, December can be a slower month for stagers (although it doesn't seem to have slowed down a bit this year for us). You may want to take advantage of the time by creating an alternate stream of income. If you have been staging for a while, you probably already have a client list that you can send an email to with a list of decor packages. If not, you can 'farm' a particular neighborhood or broker's office with marketing flyers.
This is a service that is growing in demand as people have less free time. After a long work day and commute, the last thing they want is chaos and to struggle with trimming their mantle. What a treat to come home to a festive and beautiful space! You have the eye and the skills to provide that luxury.
Your pricing should reflect the local going rate for interior decorators - usually somewhere between $100-$400/hour. Two-hour, four-hour, or 8 hour packages are discounted a bit. Using the homeowner's collection is very common.
If you bring in your own items, it is fine to charge your entire cost of acquisition (in addition to your hourly rate) even if you retain ownership of those pieces. After all, you are only able to rent those items out for a small portion of the year, and then you have the expense of storing it the remainder of the year. A year of dust and changing design trends means that some of your inventory may not last very many seasons, so your rental rate should be much higher than for regular staging inventory.
Take the de-stage into consideration as well. Make sure you have budgeted time to return to the home, pack, tidy up, and haul away. What goes up, must come down.
Our gift to you!
In the spirit of the season, we created a series of holiday social media posts for your home staging or real estate business. There are 10 beautiful images and a video that are all set for you to pop on your Facebook, Instagram, website, etc. Enjoy!
If you loved all the gorgeous images we used, check out Kate Max Stock. Kate is a brilliant, fun photographer who offers tons of styled images to use for your business.
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