Ah, the sights and sounds of the holiday season are in the air. Lights are aglow and the feeling of merriment is all around. But what about selling a home during cultural, religious, or family celebrations? Questions about décor and decorations are sure to arise during the listing process and it’s up to you as a “seasoned” Real Estate professional to guide sellers and buyers through some of the dos and don’ts of decking the halls at any time of year.
Christmas comes only once a year. Your seller wants to enjoy their traditions by placing a decorated tree and trimming their home with beautiful ornaments. You don’t need to be a Grinch by telling them that Christmas can’t happen this year because your “for sale” sign is on their front lawn. Embrace the time of year to showcase how the floor plans and room dimensions can work well to accommodate seasonal decorating. Setting up virtual showings with some 3D tours will be sure to put their home on someone’s Christmas list!
Of course, you want to make sure the garlands and wreaths don’t distract from the raw beauty of the home. Tell your seller to use heavy accents sparingly to allow a potential buyer to see beyond the stockings and mistletoe. Keeping the focus on square footage calculations will help the buyer visualize the space as their own.
Not every buyer is going to embrace holiday decorations or a seller’s private collection of sports memorabilia. Have a conversation with your seller to see what they feel comfortable removing from the home to make the virtual tours flow seamlessly without viewers pausing to admire every NHL jersey adorning the walls. Keep the pause button for the important items in the home like zooming in on the imported stone counters or transitioning to the 360° tours. You want the buyer to envision being inside their new home as opposed to a hockey arena.
How do you tell the seller to remove items of a personal or religious nature? Telling them to take down grandma and grandpa’s wedding photo or the crucifix above the bed might offend the seller. Go in with suggestions like asking them to remove these items by explaining that real estate photography works best with neutral wall accents like generic art or mirrors. If they really insist on keeping sentimental items up, suggest to remove them temporarily or during scheduled showings only.
Incorporate before and after photos in your real estate marketing plan whenever possible. When you know your listing term encompasses an upcoming holiday try to get your 3D tours and virtual tours shot before the decorations go up. Book your real estate photography session when the home is void of Easter baskets or Christmas ornaments and just for fun, throw in a couple of extra photos after the seller has added their festive touches. Before and after photos come in handy to showcase the house as a “home” where the buyer can picture living.
All those mini lights and laser beams can get distracting. When your seller has set up their decorative accents to include an array of sparkle and glow, make sure you request the lights are dimmed during showings and recordings of the 360° tours. All the glitz and glamour can distract the buyer’s eye from really looking at the house. Keep their focus on the floor plans and room dimensions and save the light show for celebrating the sale.
When a special event is booked or the annual trimming of the tree day is around the corner, give your seller the option to opt-out of showings for a few days so they can enjoy the moment. Potential buyers can still view the home through 3D tours and examine the room dimensions without interrupting the seller’s main event. Being flexible around the holidays and special events will put your seller at ease.
When you give the seller some flexibility during festive events it does not mean a three-week no -show vacation. Use the few days of limited showings as the optimum time to increase your target audience views with some virtual tours. Use the property tech available to you by promoting the home’s accurate measurements, floor plans, and square footage calculations online. When the no-show restriction dates are over, the pre-qualified buyer will be ready to get up close and personal with the property. As an added bonus, when the supply level of listings is low during the typical winter festive season, the seller may enjoy a higher selling price for their home. Fewer homes on the market can drive prices up.
Have a candid conversation with your seller about the importance of their celebrations. Ask questions to determine if and when they celebrate certain days that may fall within the listing term. Tour the home with them to pinpoint specific items you recommend removing and explain why. Respect all members of the household when considering editing the décor. It’s important to limit interruptions in the seller’s daily life when listing their home. The best way to limit stress is by incorporating virtual tours for online showings, at any time of the year.
So whether you are listing a property during Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or another religious holiday, or booking a showing in the popular wedding and graduation month of June, be prepared. Let your clients embrace hallowed halls in October and monthly light festivals during full moons. Real Estate is not about restricting the flow of culture and tradition, it’s about singing the praises of our favourite things, because a home is meant to be celebrated all year round!