Tips for Selling Your Home During the Holidays

 

With changing of the seasons, there’s a definite chill in the air.  The holidays are right around the corner.  Soon, the snow will start falling, creating a magical atmosphere and, in many ways, a perfect time to sell your home.  If history is any indication, the winter months are generally quieter for home buying.  Fewer houses are on the market and there is less to choose from — which can be a good scenario for sellers.  Buyers may have less inventory to pick from, but they also have less competition in the marketplace.  With all of the holiday parties and events that may be happening in our home, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the hectic pace of it all – but this is just where your broker can be your best ally.

 

Most enjoy decorating their home for the holidays with menorah candles, lights, wreaths, trees and other knick-knacks that hold special meaning.   In this case, less is more; you want to highlight your home, not make it look as if the Griswold’s are holding their next family Christmas.   Don’t hide the natural features of your home; maybe a string of white lights around the mantle or a wreath wrapped around stairs with a few simple bows.  If decorating a tree, keep it simple with a nice color scheme and nothing too gaudy.  You have a prime opportunity to show your house off a bit, so make it extra warm and cheery!  If you’re unsure if you’re doing too much – connect with your broker, who will know exactly how it should look.  Follow a similar pattern for the outside of your home, keeping it simple and tasteful, yet welcoming.

 

Safety first.  It’s imperative to keep sufficient amounts of ice melt on hand and also be sure to have extra door mats handy.  Winter is notorious for easily tracking salt and sand inside on your shoes.  Have a snow removal company’s number on hand, since you’ll want to be sure to keep the driveway plowed and the snow off the steps and walkways for showings and open houses.  If planning on traveling for the holidays, be sure to have a neighbor or friend check in on your home both inside and out to make sure all is well!

 

With so much going on during this season, it really is essential to keep your house tidy!  Set aside a specific area where you can keep all of your packages and presents where they will be out of sight (this also goes for luggage if traveling).  After you’ve opened presents, resist the urge to display them.  Put them away and yes, — that means fold your sweaters, and place those new boots in the closet.  Recycle your boxes and wrapping paper so that it’s not lingering around.   Since holidays can be a bit hectic, and company is consistently stopping in for some cheer, you may want to limit viewing times to open houses or by appointment only so that you can have some control over your home’s appearance.

 

This generally is a crucial detail most overlook when getting ready to show their home but also the most noteworthy; be careful as to what you cook.  According to the Washington Post, there are 7 main dishes you should NEVER cook prior to showing your home:  fish, eggs, broccoli, cabbage, popcorn, and definitely NO curry (or other spicy foods).  Also avoid take-out.  These are sure to leave a not-so-pleasant scent that might not bother you – but is sure to be noticed by strangers — ie:) potential buyers – coming into your home for the first time.

 

The holidays are a festive time filled with family and friends, and with the help of a professional broker, selling your home can offer added reason to celebrate.  With a team in place to help you at each turn, and the gift of winter’s charm — your house will undoubtedly be someone’s treasure.

 

Sheryl Simon is a Principal at Benoit Mizner Simon & Co., LLC with more than 17 years of experience helping sellers and buyers in the Weston real estate market.  With offices in Weston and Wellesley, Sheryl can be reached at (781) 910-3405 or Sheryl@benoitmiznersimon.com. Benoit Mizner Simon & Co., LLC * 450 Boston Post Rd., Weston, MA 02493 * 54 Central St., Wellesley, MA 02482

What to Know When Listing Your Home in Winter

Winter will be here soon and if history is any indication, New England may soon resemble a Currier & Ives postcard!  Although the beauty of our wintry wonderland is legendary, ice and snow can complicate nearly every facet of our lives.  The Real Estate “Spring” Market, believe it or not, begins in early January!  This is Real Estate’s busiest season and with record low inventory, we are expecting this year’s spring market to start early and be extremely busy and productive. If you have your house on the market or plan on listing your house, there are certainly additional steps you will need to follow to allow your house to shine in the midst of a potentially harsh winter.  Be sure to follow these steps to make your selling experience a more positive one, and ensure that your house is prepared to welcome potential buyers during showings and open houses.

 

1. Mind the holidays – During the winter, people  tend to set milestones to make the winter pass more quickly.  People look forward to the next holiday to get them through the season, which you should keep in mind when decorating your home.  Keep the decorations joyous and timely without going overboard.  Be sure to take them down in a timely manner as well.   It will give people a sense of comfort!
2. It’s all about the atmosphere – In addition to the decorations, you should do everything you can to created a welcoming and cozy atmosphere.  Be sure to turn on the lights throughout the house to dispel the winter gloom.  Consider making a fire in  the  fireplace, set out coffee, hot chocolate, tea or cider for your open houses.  Keep the house at a warm temperature.  Make your guests feel as at home as possible.
3. If you are away for the winter – Entrust your home to a caretaker that will make sure your home feels “lived in”.  Put the caretaker in touch with your realtor so he/she will know about showings or open houses.  Ask him to regulate the temperature accordingly.
4. Keep your walkways and driveway clear – Ice and snow are seasonal hazards that must be addressed, not only to avoid unnecessary injuries but to prevent any legal action resulting from a fall.  It is the sellers’ obligation to make sure paths to the house are safe and clear.
5. Don’t forget to clean your gutters –  Ice, snow and the frigid temperatures can really do some damage.  Make sure you have cleared the autumn leaves out of your gutters before the hard weather hits and keep an eye on your gutters to avoid ice damming, a common problem in this neck of the woods.
6. Display photos of the house in nicer weather – It’s great to let buyers visualize what the house and grounds look like during more temperate seasons.  It can be difficult for buyers to get a good look at the yard and garden so your photos can be very reassuring.  I often joke with my buyers when I call them in April to see how they like the patio they never saw when they bought in January!
7. Plant seasonal planters – Nothing is more welcoming than beautiful greens flanking the front door.  And, thanks to the cool weather, most greens will last the season!  An easy adornment that packs a big punch.
8. Welcome mats inside and out – Winter can make a big mess when slush, salt and sand come into the picture.  Protect your wood floors by using a high quality mat outdoors to capture most of the grime and another inside for the rest.  Keep towels handy (but hidden) to clean up the mess.
9. Shoes on or off – You can ask people to remove their shoes or boots but you cannot force them.  Be aware that legally, if a guest slips on your stairs or slippery wood floors, you can be liable, especially if you’ve asked him to remove his shoes.  Booties are available but the same rule applies.
10. Make sure salt and sand is available – It’s important to stock plenty of salt and sand for inclement weather.  Make sure your realtor knows where to find it if the weather worsens after you have left the house for showings and open houses.  And of course, keep a broom handy to clean up the mess they make!

 

Debi Benoit, principal of Benoit Mizner Simon & Co., has been Wellesley’s #1 real estate agent since 2006.  The Wall Street Journal twice ranked her among the top 100 real estate professionals in the country.  With offices in Wellesley and Weston, Benoit Mizner Simon & Co provides buyers and sellers in both markets with in-depth knowledge and experience combined with unparalleled client service.

With offices in Wellesley and Weston, Debi can be reached at 617-962-9292 or debi@benoitmiznersimon.com.

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