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For Sale by Owner Articles • Owners.com - Home Selling Tips

Selling During The Holidays

By Robert Irwin
 
Historically the time between Thanksgiving and New Years is when real estate slows down, with the week between Christmas and New Years being the slowest of the year. Many sellers realizing this, pull their homes off the market and wait until spring to try again.
However, some determined sellers push forward with sales plans during the holidays. They know that while there may be fewer buyers out there, those buyers who do show up will very likely be quite serious about purchasing. (Else, why would they be out this time of the year?!)
As a "by owner" seller, if you're planning on selling your home over the next few weeks, here are some steps you can take to help ensure that you snare one of those determined holiday real estate buyers:
Make Your Home "Holiday Ready." - Don't pretend that it isn't a holiday season. That will just make you seem a desperate buyer trying to sell in the off-season. Instead, make your home a place of holiday cheer with lots of decorations and a hearty pot of cider bubbling on the stove to add the aromas of the season. (Try to make your decorations non-denominational so as not to distract or offend any buyer.)
Get Rid Of Clutter - During the holidays friends come over for parties, relatives stay over, there are presents and more around the house. Buyers, however, see this as clutter and it prevents them for visualizing where their things will go. Make an effort to clean out the house and keep it sparse.
Know Why You're Selling Now - Buyers will be curious as to why you've got your home for sale during the holidays. If you say that you're desperate to get out, expect low-ball offers. Explain that you think only serious buyers are out now. And you think the off-season is a good time to make a deal.
Offer A Bargain - Try to price your home below market. In most areas today the housing market is softening with increased inventory and a slowing in price increases. Remember, you're saving on a commission, so you can afford to give a little to buyers.
Maintain The Exterior - As winter approaches, the days get shorter, temperatures fall, it looks bleak outside. The temptation is to let the front and rear yards go and forget landscaping until spring. But, you want to sell now. Do what you can to give your home great "curb appeal." When all your neighbor's homes look winter forlorn, yours will stand out even more if you've trimmed, mowed, and kept the paint sparkling.
TIP
Pay special attention to lighting. With shorter days that are mostly overcast, homes can look lifeless. On the outside, keep the lights on even during the daylight hours. It will brighten up your home and make it look cheery. On the inside, turn on all the lights. For dark corners, go out and buy some inexpensive table or pole lamps and keep them on when buyers come by. Make sure all fireplaces are burning. (Be sure to clean them out so they don't smoke.) The idea is to make sure buyers appreciate the contrast between the cold and dreary world outside and the warm and happy world inside. They'll want to get into your house and they'll want to stay there. Maybe they'll even like it enough to buy!
 
Robert Irwin is the most prolific real estate writer in America having produced over 100 published books in the field. His TIPS & TRAPS McGraw-Hill series has sold well over a million copies and his FOR SALE BY OWNER KIT and FIND IT, BUY IT, FIX IT and other books have been strong sellers for Dearborn.
In addition Irwin writes a regular real estate column for The Wall Street Journal online and is introducing a new weekly column forOwners.com.
Irwin has sold his own property "by owner" and during over 30 years in the business has been a broker and consultant to lenders, agents, buyers and sellers.
He can be reached through his website RobertIrwin.com.

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