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How to sell your home over the festive season

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Experts say sellers should think seriously about making the upcoming holiday season work in their favour. By Bonny Fourie

The holiday season can be a tough time for property sellers as potential buyers shift their focus to friends, family and holidays. But this does not mean scoring a sale is impossible. In fact, some agents believe the festive season is a great time to sell.

There are ways sellers can make selling during the festive season work in their favour, says David Jacobs, a regional manager for the Rawson Property Group. One way is to make the most of digital media.

“Online property platforms and apps mean buyers are connected to the property market all year. Regardless of whether they’re home or on holiday, they’re monitoring listings and keeping tabs on interesting options.”

If sellers can capture their attention online, they could receive inquiries, even if buyers were not planning to house hunt during the holidays. To make the most of their online presence, Jacobs recommends sellers use a professional real estate agent with an established online distribution network.

“You want to maximise your online exposure with a compelling listing. That means quality imagery and a well-crafted description.” Furthermore, as many sellers avoid listing at this time, there is a “very convenient” drop in competition.

“Homeowners who are keen to sell over Christmas and New Year can benefit significantly from lower competition, and the fact that buyers who are active at this time are usually quite motivated.

“You’re far more likely to be a ‘destination’ showhouse rather than one of many during December, which is a great opportunity to connect with buyers and create a really positive impression.” Berry Everitt, chief executive of the Chas Everitt International Property Group, says there are increased chances of achieving sales if sellers keep their homes on the market during the holidays. He believes the summer holidays are often busy buying times.

“Many owners work hard to get their homes and gardens looking their best for family and other visitors at this time of year, which makes them more appealing and helps potential buyers picture themselves living there while enjoying holidays with friends and family.” This holiday spirit can “work wonders” for a home on show, agrees Jacobs.

“Buyers are in holiday mode, feeling happy and enjoying summer. By highlighting your home’s summery side and entertainment potential, you can capture their attention.” Sellers should, however, price their homes appropriately, especially over this period.

“It may be Christmas bonus time, but holidays are expensive and most people feel quite price-conscious at this time. An overpriced home will struggle to attract attention and is unlikely to sell quickly or well.”

Everitt also offers the following advice for homeowners thinking of taking their properties off the market if they are already listed.

  • “It can’t sell if it’s off the market. If your home has already been advertised and begun to attract the attention of buyers, taking it off the market now would be a serious mistake. You will lose any marketing momentum your agent has built up and have to start from the beginning after the holidays. You may not want to hold show days during December, but you should be available for viewings your agent arranges, and any offers they bring to you. 
  • “Your buyer might be especially motivated to buy now. People buy homes throughout the year for a variety of reasons, but those who will be starting a new job in your area at the start of next year, for example, will definitely be shopping for their new home this festive season. If your home is off the market, they will buy something else.
  • “Your buyer might not be a typical family. Non-traditional families, working couples, empty-nesters and singles now make up a very large percentage of home buyers, and for many of them this is not the time to go away on holiday but a very good time to shop for a new home.”
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