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A Seller's Guide To Hosting Holiday Open Houses

South End ChristmasThe holidays already come with plenty of hospitality hassles, between hosting out-of-town relatives, figuring out how much to tip the building staff and mail men, and picking appropriate gifts for your office Secret Santa. If you're selling your apartment, is it really worth enduring a gauntlet of open houses in a season where sales tend to be slower, anyway?  And will you have to move your decorations every time people come through?

While some brokers recommend postponing open houses until the new year--why bother, the thinking goes--the sales market in Boston is hot enough these days that you could ink a deal, even in the depths of December. We're even confident enough to proclaim that if there were ever a year when the holidays won't affect sales as much as usual, this year would be it. And if you are thinking about holding open houses through the season, then you're in luck - we've got tips on days to avoid, how to handle decorations, and more that's sure to make your home sale this holiday season a breeze:

Modern christmas interiorDates and Times To Skip

While the whole holiday season isn't all a "no-go" to sell your home, there are some dates--namely, the weekends around Thanksgiving and Christmas--that won't be worth the hassle. That's because most people are out of town, and often, the people who do come to look aren't serious, but people who would like to take tours with their guests, namely their parents. The weeks before are fine, but you do decide (in spite of our warning) to have an open house during the weekends surrounding major holidays like Christmas or New Year, then expect low turnout.

Since open houses are typically held on Sundays, December 7th and 14th of this year should be fine, given Christmas and New Year are both in the latter end of the week, and is mostly attached to the weekend. Try to stay away from being to close to the 21st since people will be heading out of town by that time, and you'll get less foot traffic.

Another thing to keep in mind, and this applies throughout the winter: schedule showings between 11am and 2pm, when scarce winter lighting is at its best to highlight your home. We suggest never hosting an open house after 4pm in the winter since that's when the sun goes down and it's too dark to see anything without lighting.

Don't Fret About Fewer Buyers

Not surprisingly, window shoppers tend to stay home during the chilly, busy weeks of December. But in a competitive seller's market like what have currently, hardcore hunters have to be prepared to scope out properties regardless of the season. Just always keep in mind that the ones who are actually serious will still be out there looking. These are prospective buyers that are qualified and are ready to go - sometimes even with cash offers - and if something comes on the market December 7th, they're going to be ready to see it.

Watch out for Closing Delays

Once you do secure a sure buyer, it might be a good idea to tame their expectations of when the closing could happen. Wrapping up before the ball drops on New Year's Eve might not be a possibility - especially if contingencies are involved. However, don't let that deter you from a quick closing if you have a cash buyer. Ask your broker to expedite the process with the closing lawyers and parties involved so that everything could be signed, sealed, and delivered within a week. Take for example our firm's closing record, which stands at 4 business days with both parties ecstatic and overjoyed.

across-the-charles-new-yearsKeep decorations up, within reason

Unless you've turned your apartment into a full-on North Pole replica, you won't have to worry about moving your decorations out of the way every time prospective buyers come through.  With simple and elegant decorations, you can give a space a home feel. However, if you go too far overboard and it can come off as distasteful and actually be distracting from the features of the home you're selling. If you've got a particularly strong feeling for festivities and decorations, use that to your advantage by keeping fireplaces lit or serving holiday-themed drinks and snacks. It can help the potential buyers' experience be a memorable one, and that will strongly count towards considering

Bottom line is that we'll never going to tell a client, 'don't do a Christmas tree', because that's really not going to affect the value of your property. Smart and serious buyers know that it's the holidays and know how to look beyond that.

Thinking of Selling During the Holiday Season? Contact us now to list and get more marketing and expert tips!

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