Should San Antonio 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.
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.
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