You’ve undoubtedly heard many times before that moving is one of the most stressful things we humans go through. That is, of course, only if you have never tried to sell your home during the holiday season. Compared to having a “For Sale” sign in your front yard while the holidays wreak havoc on your schedule and patience, moving is positively peaceful.
Don’t fret just yet, though—you can make it through a home sale over the holiday season with your sanity intact—you just need to add a little bit of holiday magic (and cheer!) to the normal selling process.
Take Pictures Before You Decorate
The last thing that you want is for potential buyers to see in photos of your home is a holiday that they can pinpoint. Should your home not sell right away, having holiday decorations in your photos gives buyers a timeline of how long your home has been on sale.
Be sure that you take all your staging photos prior to putting up decorations, and your home will likely fare better on the market than it would with decorations in it.
Keep the Holiday Decorating (and Scents) to Minimum
Though you may think that Perry Como playing morning till night and seeing your house strewn with garlands, wreaths, and an animatronic carol-singing snowmen chorus line, potential buyers may see only one thing—your family’s home, and not their family’s future home.
One of the golden rules of selling your home is to keep your décor as basic and minimalist as possible. This goes double for homes that are on sale over the holidays, a time when we love to break out our favorite box of decorations and deck the halls.
You want buyers to see the nuance of the holiday without being overwhelmed by it. A tree, stockings, and a wreath on the front door are all traditional decorations that set a happy holiday tone without going overboard. Be wary of spraying or lighting up holiday-scented candles too, as many people find holiday scents overpowering and old fashioned.
Keep Detailed Lists
Your organization skills will be put to the test now more than ever, and the only way to get through it is to conquer a master moving list, a master to-do list, and individual daily and personal lists.
A master moving list is designed to help you mitigate the chaos of selling and moving before it happens by keeping you on track with all the major moving milestones that will come up. A master to-do list keeps you on track for home repairs, room-by-room packing, and helps you calendar major holidays and tasks that may creep up on you.
Finally, individual daily and personal lists let everyone in your family know what is expected of them on a daily or weekly basis, like putting away dishes before bed every night, as well as which tasks your home as a whole needs to have accomplished, like cleaning out the garage by a certain date.
Create a Daily Walk-Through Ready List
It is critical that your home is kept at a “30-minutes-to-ready” rule when it comes to showings. When your realtor calls and says that a family is on their way, it is easier to refer to your Walk-Through list than to scramble around the house trying to spot what needs cleaning. An easy Walk-Through list would include things like fixing beds, wiping down kitchen counters, sweeping, or putting away toys in children’s rooms.
Don’t Let the Holidays Last Forever
We love celebrating our holidays, but when your home is for sale and you have potential buyers stopping by day after day, you want to get your home back to minimalist décor as soon as possible. While December 26 may be too soon to take down a tree, but having the tree and the decorations taken down and boxed for moving by Dec 31 is a good goal.
Keep Family Days Off the Real Estate Calendar
Just because your family celebrates certain events and holidays doesn’t mean that all families do, but that doesn’t mean that you should skip important family events and holidays to make room for buyers. It is important that you set your boundaries and maintain family connectivity, especially over the holidays.
If Christmas Eve is special family time in your home, full of dinner preparations and family bonding, be sure to tell your realtor that those days are off-limits to buyers well in advance to prevent any issues from cropping up down the line.