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By Tara-Nicholle Nelson | Broker in San Francisco, CA

5 Tips For Showing And Selling Your Home During The Holidays

If you've been active in the market for long, you know that the real estate pauses for no man, woman or life event. Nor does it pause for any season; while the market usually does a major slowdown around the winter holidays, the very most motivated buyers and sellers are still doing deals.  If your home is currently listed for sale, here are some tips for showing - and selling - your home during the season of peace, love and joyous overeating/overspending!

1.  Don't, if you don't have to. During the holidays, the pool of qualified and active buyers shrinks - dramatically.  The cold, wet weather in some areas makes buyers hesitant to come out and view properties, and holiday travels cause others to put their house hunts on hold. Buyers also know that many sellers take their homes off the market during this period, so the forecast for receiving lowball offers is: highly likely. Taking your home off the market during the holidays and relisting it after New Year's holds the potential of exposing your home to a fresh set of buyers motivated by a fresh set of resolutions. Plus, many sellers simply don't want to deal with buyers' muddy feet and scheduling intrusion while they are at home on vacation or hosting holiday dinners or guests. (Note: Most of these issues are slightly less impactful in warm-weather climates.]

With that said, there are some advantages to having your home on the market at this time of year, too. Although there will be a larger pool of buyers out and active after the first of the year, the ones who are out in the wet and the cold right now tend to be really motivated to buy.  Holiday house hunters usually fall into two camps: they either plain old need a place to live, fast, or they need to close escrow on their new home by year's end for tax reasons. Given that post-tax credit buyers have been characterized by an almost stunning lack of urgency, keeping your home on the market over the holidays is one way to try to capitalize on the urgency this season's motivated buyers face, due to their circumstances.

2.  Ditch the holiday decor or make it meticulous.  No Charlie Brown trees, people. Staging your home at its festive holiday best can truly backfire if your seasonal staging comes off as amateurish or overdone. if your living room is already small and your marble mantel is the main selling point, crowding the room with a massive arboreal masterpiece (i.e., big tree), piles of gifts, life-sized reindeer-and-sleigh set and covering the entire mantle with faux snow and stockings will do more harm to a prospective buyer's first impressions than good.  

If you DO decide to decorate, rethink it as staging with some holiday cheer; this will help you follow the staging mandates of depersonalizing and decluttering your place. If you have a dining room, stage it for a holiday dinner - many a buyer has bought a whole house around their holiday dinner fantasies. Help them visualize their first Hanukah, Christmas or Kwanzaa hosted at their new home (psst - that's your home, in the vision).

But keep your holiday decor somewhat secular and ethnically neutral, if possible. Trees, garlands, lights and bulbs are great - but if I personally were selling my home during the holidays, I'd probably pack my family's nativity scenes away. You might not want your cherished family heirlooms exposed to the public, in the first place. And you definitely don't want to let your ethnic or religious stuff interfere with the buyers' ability to envision their own holidays in your home.

3.  Set a few, clear "no show" dates and times. There is no faster way to lose a potential buyer than to make it difficult for their broker or agent to schedule a showing for your home. Sellers seem to forget that most often, buyer's brokers are scheduling multiple properties to be shown in a couple of hours'-long-showing - if the other 3 dozen homes for sale in your neighborhood are vacant or very easy to show, and yours has a bunch of random black out times or dates that the agent can't figure out without making multiple calls to your agent, who then has to call you and call the other agent back - geez, I'm exhausted just writing that!  Imagine how tiring it is for buyer's brokers to do that on 5 or 6 properites per showing. This is an easy way to tip buyers toward a competing property. 

By the same token, it's understandable that you may need to blackout showings on particular hoildays or times when you're hosting guests. So, rather than going through the drama and frustration of back-and-forth scheduling arrangements around your vacations and obligations, give your listing agent a couple of clear guidelines around holiday season showings (e.g., no showings on12/24, 12/25, 12/31 or 1/1) and ask your agent to include these dates in the confidential remarks for buyer's agents on MLS.  The keyword here is "a couple" - keep these "no show" slots to an absolute minimum.  If there are multiple, whole weeks or lots of half-day time slots during which you don't want your home shown, consider taking it off the market and relisting it in the New Year, rather than running the risk of getting bumped to the bottom of buyers' brokers' "show" lists.

4.  Expect some inconvenience and irritation. Selling during the holidays can be rewarding, but smart sellers approach it knowing it won't always be fun. Go in with realistic expectations. Some buyer is highly likely to track rain, mud or snow into your house, at some point. If you're home for a long staycation, chances are good that someone will interrupt your Zen for a showing. It's even possible that some buyer will leave your front door open longer than you'd like, letting your expensively heated air seep into the great outdoors (on your dime). These things will happen, but the upside is that an uber-motivated buyer-to-be may also come see your place. Avoid the emotional rollercoaster and irritation by expecting these issues and chalking them up as par for the course. It might not hurt to flex your holiday shopping muscles to invest in a $50-ish hand-held carpet cleaner, either!  Expectation + preparation eliminate irritation, I like to say. (Seriously - I made that up!)

5.  Engage in safe, sensory staging.  Holiday food smells ike spiced cider, pumpkin pie and baked appley/cinnamoney things are about as universally comforting as smells get. It certainly wouldn't hurt to do some sensory staging to create a sense of comfort and cheer.  Also, remember that dreary winter weather can make even the loveliest house and showing take on a gray cast; counteract this by making sure your home is well-lighted and -heated.  One thing, though - if your holiday home is a candle-lit home, make sure you leave no candles burning if you clear your family out for showings.

Agents:  What holiday tips do YOU have for buyers or sellers this holiday season?

P.S. - You should follow Trulia and Tara on Facebook, too!

Comments

By Catherine Lutz,  Thu Dec 2 2010, 05:24
Very well put! And you are so right about the buyers coming during the holidays being "motivated buyers who need to buy!" Its very disruptive but worth it in the end if your goal is to get the house sold for your best possible price!
Cathy Lutz
Keller Williams Morristown NJ area
973-886-5318
Tara,
I have to say I completely disagree! Most of the time you and I see eye to eye, but this time we are far, far apart. Guess great minds don't always think alike?
Here is my point of view : http://www.realestatecoloradostyle.com/selling-your-house-during-the-holidays
By Judy Switzer,  Thu Dec 2 2010, 05:33
I showed my buyers a home a few years ago near the holidays. The staircase was adorned with real garland and my client began sneezing uncontrollably. So much for that house! It appeared as if the homeowners were out-of-town, and the home really smelled piney.
You are so right, that kind of thing can really backfire on you, if it is over-done.
Judy Switzer
Broker/Owner
Judy Switzer & Associates, Dallas, TX area
214.801.7273
By Ron Buford,  Thu Dec 2 2010, 05:38
I concur........family and friends are in the local area visiting during the holidays. Several of these potential buyers are looking to relocate soon, others are interested in keeping up with the local market, and still others may be looking for other family or friends. Take advantage of this buyer sector by advertising your home locally over the holidays and being prepared for holiday showings.
By Maya Thomas LLC, Broker,  Thu Dec 2 2010, 05:38
Excellent advice!
By Terri Kubala,  Thu Dec 2 2010, 05:40
The nativity scene is not "religeous stuff" and don't appreciate you saying it is something that needs to be put away. You may think Christmas is about snowmen and grinches and think kids are out of school for 2 weeks to celebrate Santa and candy canes but for the rest of us it is the celebration of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
By Voices Member,  Thu Dec 2 2010, 05:40
The holidays can be a fantastic time of year to list a house! The weather in Alabama can be quite lovely during the holiday and a well decorated home on a pristine street can be very appealing to buyers. With a lot of people removing their listings during this month, a good listing can become a hot commodity for someone who needs to move before the New Year.
By John Szymczak,  Thu Dec 2 2010, 05:42
Good Points!!! for chicago market and bank owned property
John Szymczak
Sym Group Realtors
http://www.LUX-HOME.com
E-mail:info@lux-home.com
http://www.lux-home.com/
TEL 708 738 3000
By Marty Hartsell,  Thu Dec 2 2010, 05:44
Lets see a nativity seen is going to lose a sale. Not likely and im sure the kids will love the decorated dining room as a christmas dinner. Next thing your going to tell me is to hide my bible thats by the bed. marty hartsell, knoxville, tenn
By Jon C Schmitt,  Thu Dec 2 2010, 06:00
Good points, but South Florida real estate sales come to a standstill, it doesn't matter what you do buyers are far and few and sellers hold back from showing becuase they always have company from out of town...Some of the visitors are potential buyers, but you get alot of tire kickers. we pick up again after the first of the year. Everyone have a great holiday....Your South Florida Realtor http://www.jcsrealtycorp.com
By Carmen Gutierrez,  Thu Dec 2 2010, 06:09
Very good!
By Sharon Wenowitz,  Thu Dec 2 2010, 06:14
View this from a buyer's perspective. The buyer wants to feel welcome in the home, which he/she is inside to determine if it will be the home they will want to call theirs. Let's not overwhelm them so they can't see the home or feel it's welcome call to them. It's as we know a good portion of home buying/selecting is emotion. If a home is over crowded it will make the potential buyers feel overcrowded and maybe claustrophobic.
ANOTHER thought, is diversity. Yes, of course homeowners have full right to celebrate their holiday(even if it's George Costanza's "Festivus"), however if the homeowner has the goal of selling their home( we hope so!) then the idea shouldn't be to make the potential purchaser feel unwelcome and uncomfortable----Not everyone celebrates the same thing, and some very strong statements Can make people feel uncomfortable...
Who says the homeowner can't have their religious items, sure you can, however sensitivity to your potential buyer could go a long way....think universal..,.seasonal... Maybe a few of the overwhelming things don't have to be in their face. I'm in my 9th home, we used to get corporate transferred, and 2 of my homes sold in December with the decorations---just be considerate of buyer's feelings. Let's all respect our differences, enjoy our holidays, but be mindful of your potential buyer walking into your home....Let's make them feel welcome!
afterall 'tis the season.
Best wishes for a wonderful, happy, healthy winter. Drive carefully!
By Trent Warner Monopoly Builder,  Thu Dec 2 2010, 06:18
Tara, Tara, Tara - Thank you for all the positive advice you give us in your articles. We all know that controversial topics have better response. Couldn't you have just said "don't make your home look like Clark Griswald lives here" and not attack the faith community with secular views.

Agents sell through it, buyers who are looking in this season are serious for the most part. Help tham see themselves in the house, with their appropriate decorations.
By Evelyn Santiago,  Thu Dec 2 2010, 06:37
Spot on! Especially about the no show dates - keep it to a minimum and let the buyer's agents know on the MLS. Here in the Midwest its truly motivated buyers that will come out despite sleet, snow and blizzards. I have shown homes where I had to have a snow shovel to make a pathway to a door.

Evelyn Santiago
http://www.foxvalleychicagorealestate.com
By John Francis,  Thu Dec 2 2010, 06:38
Amen to Trent. I couldn't believe all the stuff in that report! Don't take yourself so serious!
By Jill H. Remington,  Thu Dec 2 2010, 06:46
I work in Scottsdale, AZ and it is just the opposite for us. We have snow birds flying in during this time of the year looking for a second or third home. Our Lock and Leave properties sell quickly and offer a good alternative to own a piece of property in a warmer climate.
By Andrea,  Thu Dec 2 2010, 06:46
Very nice article and good advice. But, don't think people have to hide who they are to sell a home. If a person is not going to buy a house because of "religious stuff" then it probably isn't meant to be.
By Dalia ,  Thu Dec 2 2010, 06:48
Thank you - Outstanding advise
By Elizabeth Fenter,  Thu Dec 2 2010, 06:56
As a homeowner trying to sell in this market and during the holiday season, this is a very helpful article. Walking into my home, it is obvious we celebrate Christmas and not one of the other holidays also celebrated this season. But, we worked hard to make it welcoming to all and not a religous statement. The last thing I want is for a guest in my home to feel unwelcome due to my views, beliefs, etc. I want homey decor and a festive, welcoming home in which anyone who visits can see themself celebrating their own holidays next season. Good advice! (However, I do still have a small nativity set on my table and am not quite ready to put it up!) Thanks for all the advice for homeowners. It gives me a source when I tell my husband we have to declutter and put stuff in storage and not decorate like a National Lampoon movie. :-)
By Frogpond,  Thu Dec 2 2010, 06:58
In the 80's during the worst market conditions, my agent called Christmas Eve and asked if I would show my home to serious couple at 8pm. I was on my way to Christmas party, but agreed. I figured the prospects were either very serious buyers or just casing the joint. To my surprise Christmas morning, my agent presented me a solid offer and I had a signed contract by Christmas Evening. Miracles do happen! Susie Hale, FrogPond.com
By Pat & Wayne Harriman,  Thu Dec 2 2010, 07:06
As REALTORS®, we agree that decorations should be tasteful and not overdone; as buyers, we would care less what religious items a seller had displayed, it would not prevent us from seeing the thing we came there to see: the HOUSE. As a buyer, we would be far more interested to see if the rooms were large enough, if there were enough bathrooms, and if the layout fit our needs rather than what religion the owners practice. Display your nativity scenes, your menorah or Kinara if you wish, it will have NO effect on whether I like the house or not.
By Barbara Vance,  Thu Dec 2 2010, 07:11
The writer is TOTALLY wrong for the Florida market. I sell many homes between T-day and New Years. Holiday decor is wonderful....just dont let it be too "kitch" ...Been a realtor in Orlando and Windermere since the early 80's...For warm climates and ski areas...DO NOT TAKE YOUR HOME OFF THE MARKET...you are missing well heeled buyers, often with all cash, coming to vacation and to buy!
By Karen S. Smith,  Thu Dec 2 2010, 07:14
Both religion and politics are tricky subjects when dealing with sellers. Those that have a strong opinion about either subject have incorporated it as part of their lifestyle. It becomes difficult for those sellers to view their home as a buyer, one who may not hold the same beliefs. For buyers, such religious or political displays can be come a distraction to viewing the home. During Winter holidays, however, homes that are occupied are bound to have religious ornaments and buyers would not be surprised to see the homes decorated.
By Rojo,  Thu Dec 2 2010, 07:25
Christmas is a pagan holiday that the early christian persecuting Roman Catholics merged with christianity centuries ago. Dec 25th was originally celebrated as the pagan celebration of winter solstice. It's about as religious as halloween! If the so called religious googled christmas origins (since most really don't take the time to study & know their bible) they would know that. Then they probably wouldn't be so offended.

Good advice Tara!
By John Cleek, Ph.D.,  Thu Dec 2 2010, 07:43
In no way did I view your comments about nativity scenes and other "religious stuff" as being secular or critical of anyone who feels strongly about the meaning of Christmas. My advice would be that if a seller is not comfortable de-personalizing their home for showing during the time they would normally display a nativity scene they might want to suspend showings during that time.

John Cleek, Ph.D., The Real Estate Doctor
By Flavia Brown,  Thu Dec 2 2010, 07:44
Successful selling or buying during the holidays depends a lot on the location. In the Manhattan Beach--Hermosa Beach area of So. CA there are sellers who need to sell, so they don't have a lot of competition. There are buyers who need to buy, so they are in a good position to drive list prices down.
By Flavia Brown,  Thu Dec 2 2010, 07:46
Successful selling or buying during the holidays depends a lot on the location. In the Manhattan Beach--Hermosa Beach area of So. CA there are sellers who need to sell, so they don't have a lot of competition. There are buyers who need to buy, so they are in a good position to drive list prices down. ..
By George Walsh,  Thu Dec 2 2010, 07:52
But when you DO HAVE TO sell, then keep it on the market. The buyers that are looking now are serious. Most of the advice in this post is just wrong. Here are my tips:

1. Keep the home neat and warm.
2. Decorate as you want without interfering with showing the home.
3. Have your holiday gathering as you normally do. If an agent calls to show at that time, schedule another time with them. Do NOT put "no shows" in the listing if can avoid at all. Get the the call and let you agent deal with the other agent regarding how critical it is for that buyer to see it at the that time and how serious and QUALIFIED the buyer is.
By Beth Weems,  Thu Dec 2 2010, 07:53
This would have been good information to post on facebook, until I read your comment about the 'religious stuff', and ethnic 'stuff'. It is hard for me to believe that a professional in your field would refer to ANY religious items as 'stuff' and further suggest that it should be hidden away. As a real estate professional and home stager, myself, that advice was completely unprofessional and offensive. Remember that Buyer's are not babies and should not be treated as such. Most Buyer's are adult enough to look past a nativity scene and actually LOOK at the property. 'Overdone' decorating is a good point, but specific hedging of any religious items, which represents your faith is ridiculous. This is America where we have such freedoms and no Realtor or Home Stager should take those rights away. We should encourage simplicity, so the property can be seen and shown well, but not bannish or affend our sellers. This is NOT POLITICS... and real estate is NOT A TRANSACTION. It is about people, thier families, their goals and their needs. In short, it is a relationship business. Please be respectful and diligent to your professional responsibilities.
By Tean Wong,  Thu Dec 2 2010, 08:00
Great Advice! Holiday is a great time when homes are decorated, people are on shopping mode, serious buyers are out there. Serious seller will stay on the market....last thing you know.....SOLD!
By Eric Straatsma MS,  Thu Dec 2 2010, 08:06
The family photos and the religious items in a home may spell the difference between selling a home or NOT selling a home... A Hindu or Jew may prefer a home that does not have crosses hanging on every wall, and photos of every possible family member all over the place... They may very well choose another home to buy that does not have all of this. That being said, it applies the other way around also... Someone who is into a particular guru, might think twice before hanging large photos all over the house when trying to sell it...

My thinking is that if the house is generic enough to appeal to just about everyone, then you have a great showing, without offending anyone. The more specific and niche a home is, the fewer home buyers will be interested...

Bottom line though, a very religious person may decide that they do not want to sell to anyone but another member of their own church, so in that case, it may help to put up even more items that display the particular denomination, affiliations, memberships, of a particular church, along with all of the particular faith items..

The broker and agent cannot legally push away or attract buyers one way or the other, but a homeowner can to a certain extent.

One thing that can be done specifically to attract buyers is to market a home as having certain green features. This appeals to the niche market known as the Cultural Creatives, who make up a large and growing market share. Making a home more green is actually a win win win solution; good for everyone.

★ Green California Real Estate Agent ★ ECOBROKER® Certified ★ Investments ★ Residential ★ Commercial ★ Manufactured Home Park Consultant ★ Open Networker ★

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By Linda,  Thu Dec 2 2010, 08:22
I am an active Christian and have a few items in my home that are overtly Christian but I have moved more than 20 times so I always look at a home I'm selling from a buyer's eye. We are all more acutely aware of the tensions surrounding religeous displays now than ever before (think of all the law suits) so I always remove anything religeous or political when I am selling. Religion is a hot button so why take a chance that the one family who loves the house has an emotional response to a bible or nativity. Set the dining table beautifully but generically. Buying a house is emotional. I buy a house that "feels" like home and have bought several that didn't meet my list of requirements but I just loved it. If you really want to sell don't take the chance and just do it. It is a small thing and this is a business deal not an opportunity to express your views. My bible goes in my night stand when my house is shown. If you don't want to go generic take it off the market. This rule applies all year - remove the political and religious no matter what time of year it is. The same is true for family photos. Think about a model home. Anyone could move into a model and add their own personal items.
By Hal Hovey,  Thu Dec 2 2010, 08:28
Some great points in your article Tara, thanks. Also keep safety and security in mind during the holidays. Live trees can dry out quickly, so put your lights on a timer and make sure you refill water in the tree basin daily. Also, I discourage my clients from putting presents under the tree, it helps make the room feel more spacious and less of a distraction from the home's features. Finally, avoid the strong cinnamon potpourris or scented pinecones, they can be tough for sensitive noses, and I have had clients walk out of homes without viewing them because the scents were too strong.
By Homeowner Tx,  Thu Dec 2 2010, 08:37
I'm not a realtor, but my home is on the market in north Texas. I won't block off ANY showing times -- come anytime. Fabulous home in 55+ Robson Ranch, TX. Home on golf course, our own pool, outdoor kitchen, gorgeous home. 4 bedrooms, 3 baths, fully built-in study, 3 car garage. Take a look at MLS 11490014. Excellently priced for some fortunate buyer. Hate to leave this marvelous community, but that's what we have to do. Come! Look!
By Elnsie,  Thu Dec 2 2010, 08:54
I live in Ventura, CA, and two realtors told me not to list until March or April while one ][who wants the listing] said I would do better to list it. I can go a long time without selling, but I am afraid that the prices in my range of ca. $1,000,000 might go down even further. Since I owe $900,000 this worries me.
By Angela Carson, Broker, ASP, e-Pro, J.D.,  Thu Dec 2 2010, 08:58
I also disagree with your comments about "religious stuff." For Christians, Christmas is still a sacred celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, and I certainly would not expect my sellers to take down crosses or nativity scenes.
I would not go to another country or someone else's home expecting them to take down all decorations that denote their spiritual beliefs, and I really doubt that buyers would expect Christians to do that, either.
By Jane Taylor,  Thu Dec 2 2010, 09:51
My home in upstate SC has been on the market since May 25th. It is a country home located on q private unrestricted lake. It is decluttered and immaculate, My realtor feels that it is priced right. I had to leave due to family obligation so it is empty, I was told that most realtors would not come out for an open house because it is 20 miles outside of Greenwood so it has only been shown a few times I need to move West to be closer to family and I am unsure what to do.
By Lynell Frederic,  Thu Dec 2 2010, 09:55
I totally disagree with the comments about "religious stuff" as well. Each to their own and the majority of buyers are aware that this "stuff" is the sellers preference. The buyer is there to look at the home in general. I certainly would not not purchase a home just because of someones personal taste.
By Elizabeth Vasti, GRI, PA,  Thu Dec 2 2010, 10:00
Hmmm. I thought Tulia would be more supportive of activity in the month of December. #1 Tip is "Don't if you don't have to." Seriously? The fact remains that the buyers that are looking in December are usually very serious. Some are meeting end of the year deadlines, etc. I think this list is rediculous. Fellow agents, please ignore!!!
By Gary & April Greer,  Thu Dec 2 2010, 10:06
Christmas is a religious holiday. If you are celebrating it...you should already know that.
By Don,  Thu Dec 2 2010, 10:10
Tara

I was really enjoying the article until you started talking about "religious stuff". That was really offensive.
I scrolled to the top of the page to get your name and saw you are in San Francisco. Duh, that told me everything I needed to know. Just because some people in the bay area are offended by God doesn't mean Americans that live in the real world do.

Just a suggestion-- keep politics out of your articles, it's a real turn-off, and you're in the minority anyway. So being in the minority, do the math.
You will insult and offend approximately 70% of America when you inject God hating stuff into your work.
I'm just sayin...
By Jeffery Jasper,  Thu Dec 2 2010, 10:30
I have myself in the past, long past used the Christmas holiday trip home to shop for the new home. I have traveled to my new destination and been shown and purchased homes on Thanks giving day, and Good Friday. I recall telling the agent who didn't want to meet with me on Good Friday afternoon to write an offer because his office was closed that my flight left at 6 and if he didn't write then someone else would. On one New years eve I wrote two offers between 5 and 9 pm. I totally agree that the buyer during the Holiday season is determined! For the agent who is determined and the home thats available and well presented the holiday season can be a great time!
By Tara-Nicholle Nelson,  Thu Dec 2 2010, 10:36
Please allow me to correct many of the assumptions and unintended offense that has been taken, here.

I PERSONALLY am quite devout in my faith, which is why I mentioned my own home's nativities. I do believe nativity scenes are religious artifacts. That was the whole point I think some are missing here: I am devout in my faith, but buyers generally who come to visit my home and consider buying it very well may not be. The idea of home staging is to create a neutral environment that any buyer can visualize themselves in. And non-religious prospective buyers or buyers of different faiths than mine may very well struggle to visualize themselves in a home filled with religious symbols.

This is advice about how to sell homes, not on how to celebrate your faith's holidays. If filling your home with religious items and symbols is a large part of how your family celebrates, there is amazing value for yourself and your family in that. Those same items, however, may very well interfere with getting your home sold at an already tough-to-sell time of year, in my experience.
By Elizabeth,  Thu Dec 2 2010, 10:50
To Kelli Tubara,

You have handily contradicted yourself. You begin by saying that the nativity scene is "not 'religious stuff'" and proceed to insist that the writer is renouncing the "Christ" in Christmas. The degree to which a home is depersonalized has been shown to relate inversely to time on the market. Religious objects are personal. Please face this.

I'm with you, Tara!
By Sharon Evans,  Thu Dec 2 2010, 11:06
Home is where the heart is....what better time to showcase your home than the holidays?
http://www.weservehamptonroads.com
Mid-Atlantic Residential
Yorktown, Virginia
By Et,  Thu Dec 2 2010, 11:23
My house is on the market in Savannah, GA and I am looking for a house in upstate SC. In general, I agree with Tara's suggetions, but I too was put off by the nativity scene remark. I have mine out and won't put it away because I might offend someone. Seriously, I understand the decluttering and putting away photographs, as I am very turned off by that while looking at houses in SC. However, I understand that the holidays are here, so if I see other religions traditional displays, I am not offended. I think we've just gotten into the habit of silencing Christian traditions for a very small minority of so-called offended people. It's 2010, nearly 2011, please let's get over this 1970's crap.
By Jeanette,  Thu Dec 2 2010, 12:38
I take Offense in one thing.
"My Religious stuff" is the reason for "CHRIST" -mas. It is the Birth of Our Lord & Savior, Jesus the Christ!
The world has packed Him away, that is why we are in such a mess!! I will NOT pack Him away.
By Don,  Thu Dec 2 2010, 12:44
Tara,

What does "ethnically neutral" and "ethnic stuff" supposed to mean? Please explain.
By Tony Thomas,  Thu Dec 2 2010, 13:09
Hi Tara, great article. I think most people looking for homes are mature enough to respect and appreciate other peoples ethnicity and faith. Keep up the good work!
By Jeffrey Shapiro,  Thu Dec 2 2010, 13:34
Tara,
Nice blog, thanks.
Houses are sold in snow storms, in 100 degree tempatures and even during the holdays. I have seen buyers have a change of personality as they've caught the spirit, whether it be Christmas, Thanksgiving or even July 4th.
I also agree that an occasional allergy attack by a (potential) buyer shouldn't impede my sellers from enjoying (hopefully) enjoying their last holiday in the house
By Wanda Bond,  Thu Dec 2 2010, 13:41
Thanks, Tara. I have two sellers to whom I'm going to send your article. We've been talking about how slow the market is right now and I believe we should take the listings down and relist in mid-January. Succinctly written and advice that will be well-heeded.
By Bart Foster,  Thu Dec 2 2010, 15:30
Wow, what a fun post. And the responses really cover quite a range. Personally I suppose Tara had no intentions of offending any readers with religions overtones or suggestions to keep certain personal beliefs "in the closet". I think that the suggestion is that if there was any time during the year that a seller would take a vacation from having their home on the market, it might as well be during the short time from Thanks Giving through the 1st week of the New Year. This is not to say that there are good reasons why a seller should remain active.

1) Easier to price a home based on what did not sell from the prior 3-6 months.
2) Less competition with other sellers.
3) Almost no "tire kicker sellers", I call white noise distracting buyers from those that are ready, willing and able to sell.
4) Almost no "tire kicker buyers" who keep hoping that Dorothy will drop out of the sky with that perfect home just for them, or whose eyes are bigger than their wallet.
5) It's cold out there! Priced well Buyers will come out even in the middle of or day after a snow storm.

However if there were any one time during the year that a seller might expect things to be slow it is now through the new year... keep your home on the market, then if no showings or offers revisit your asking price.

As for seasonal declarations, the tried and true advice is best... We are selling a product here folks. Edit! Less is best, decorate to show off your home at it's very best just not over board.

Bart Foster
Keller Williams realty Boston-Metro
http://bartsells.com
By Kate Reilly Lund, CRS, GRI,  Thu Dec 2 2010, 15:46
Wow, I'm glad I took the time. First of all when I saw the Headline I felt inclined to send this along to Facebook. But, wisely I always read before I post. Even though I am very busy and limit my time of reading blogs and comments, I was drawn to read every response here. You stirred up a bee's nest of the differences of opinion in America over all issues of sensitivity. An old addage states not to discuss "Religion or Politics", and in bringing in Religion in today's America, you immediately relate to Politics.
The responses to you took my by great surprise. On the reading of your article I knew what my response was but I had no idea it would illicit the strong and feeble responses I read. Rather than discussing the selling of a home during the holidays, or by putting forward positive steps to "use" the benefit of the season of Good Will, your article discouraged showing during the Season and came up Politically Correct (in some circles).
I encourage my Clients (Sellers) to expose their home in its best condition every day for every opportunity. However, I encourage my Clients to live in their homes and be who they are. What an insult it is to tell people of any ethnic background or any faith or with any special affinities that they might offend others.
I disagree with most of the points you made, Tara, and your attempt much later to defend your article not only did not justify, but was probably best left unsaid, because if one is "very devout" as you say in their faith, then they would not have to apologize for denying or hiding it.
The thing that most amazed me, though, was the one-liners that just said "Great article". Did they read it? Or do some of the Realtors just comment to get points on Trulia. They certainly couldn't have thought that everything that you said was "good advice".
This was the first negative and disappointing article I have read from Trulia. But I was pleased to see the comments of those that supported you and of those that did not. Truly America is a wonderful place to live, to sell Real Estate and to express yourself for who you are.
By Bebe,  Thu Dec 2 2010, 17:03
I truly enjoy reading this one very enlighting and helpful. Thanks.
By Don,  Thu Dec 2 2010, 22:56
Does anyone out there know what, as Tony says, "respecting other peoples ethnicity" mean?
And as Tara said earlier, what exactly is "ethnic stuff", and just how do you make your home "ethnically neutral"? What the heck does that mean? Please, I'm serious, I'd like an honest explanation Can anyone out there answer this question?
By TRISHA LEE,  Fri Dec 3 2010, 02:32
Getting to the basic information I agree that having your home warm, inviting and scented (very LIGHTLY) makes people want to stay longer. Also, model homes sell so well because they sell SPACE, decorated nicely but nothing that gets in the way of walking through rooms and seeing what buyers want to see - space, layout, finish, colors, amenities, etc. I am a Christian and Christ really is the "reason for the season" but this is a real estate blog and although we're talking nationally, all real estate really is local. Stage and market your property for what works in your area - know your clientelle both buyers and sellers - and take the steps that work where you are. My first house was awash in wallpaper and flowers in the Alabama 80's when Laura Ashley decorating was "hot". Now I have neutral colors, cleared counters and walls and 1/2 the furniture I had before. We're personally selling next spring and I started "decluttering" and "depersonalizing" last spring to compete with new construction. It's really about emphasizing the positives and neutralizing the negatives to get the job done. Location, condition and pricing (plus creative financing) have always been the keys to sales and we should continue to focus on those tried and true principles.
By Jessica Hood, Realtor & ASP,  Sat Dec 4 2010, 09:19
Good stuff Tara, I'm being asked that a lot and my answer is always keep it simple if you are going to decorate.
By Kathy Streib, Home Stager,  Sat Dec 4 2010, 12:52
Tara- this is a very debated topic. What I suggest to my clients is that the same principles that apply to staging a home apply to decorating for the holidays. Keep it simple. However, this is the time of year when we celebrate, observe and entertain, so it is only natural to want to decorate your home. I would say that whatever a seller does regarding their decorations or religious observances, make sure that they are done in a way as not to distract or detract from a buyer really seeing the home. Christmas trees, for example, often cause furniture to be repositioned in a way that may block a walking path or make the room appear smaller or less functional. Think of that when choosing a tree. When I suggest keeping it simple or minimizing, it is less a matter of appearing neutral regarding religious beliefs, but more a matter of allowing your home (and square footage) to be seen. I suggest safety- don't have your real gifts under the tree. The holiday season is short, and most buyers can certainly appreciate and respect other's beliefs. Just remember to keep it simple!
By Pat and Steve Pribisko,  Sat Dec 4 2010, 13:03
I think that tasteful holiday decorations are a great plus for selling during the holidays.
By Fred Soto,  Sun Dec 5 2010, 18:41
By Fred Soto Investor Tucson. what about homes that are vacant ? should you decorate them?.
By Jane and Jeff Daley, PhD,  Tue Dec 7 2010, 05:57
In Arizona's Valley of the Sun one of the peak months historically for sales is December. Guess it's because they don't have to bundle up. ;)
By Frank Dolski Associate Broker,  Tue Dec 7 2010, 06:01
Dear Tara,
I agree with some of your ideas but not with most. I do much business in December and January. Less inventory, more serious buyers and sellers and most of all, people want to be in their homes this time of year in january. many of these byers are transferees. I can base this on my personal business activity as well as the local market here in Bucks County, PA.
Less is best and staging is critcal but it is the holidays! Sellers can tastefully decorate and not be worried that someone does not like it. Outside of June and July, I sell more homrs during this period of time.


Frank Dolski MBA, ABR, e-PRO
Associate Broker
Cartus Certified Relocation Specialist
Coldwell Banker Hearthside Realtors
http://www.FrankDolskki.com
By Elaine M. Hegedusich,  Tue Dec 7 2010, 06:07
Only serious buyers will venture out during the holidays...so you know you have a good prospect! However, buyers need to be aware that all this decorating, nice holiday scents etc. could be masking flaws. I tell my buyers to be especially vigilant in checking homes out at this time of year. Also, snow can hide imperfections in roofs, foundations etc. Looking at homes during the holidays is great!

Elaine M. Hegedusich ABR, SRES Hunt Real Estate ERA Depew, NY
By Murray Robertson,  Tue Dec 7 2010, 06:08
Don't let that Christmas Tree cramp your room by pushing the rest of the furniture against each other. Remove a piece or two so that it looks like the room is still large with the tree in there.
By Evie Cohen,  Tue Dec 7 2010, 06:13
Tara is right about having the house "neutral" of religious decor. Remember that some Buyers are Jewish, or from India or China, following different religions. Not that it's a big deal to have out a religious item, but it's just not necessary when a house is on the market since the point is to allow visitors to visualize themselves there.
By Phyllis JC Anderson, GRI,  Tue Dec 7 2010, 06:14
Thank you so much, Great Advise

Phyllis JC Anderson
Liberty One Realty
Phoenix, Az
602-316-0115
http://www.YourAzCastle.com
By Aaron Mtuanwi,  Tue Dec 7 2010, 06:34
I think you should get it done before the travels and visits, or wait for spring
By Doug Patterson,  Tue Dec 7 2010, 06:35
Tara, I enjoyed reading this article...all the way through! Your style is easy to follow and enjoyable. And what great advice. Thanks for sharing these tips! Happy Holidays to you!
By Roberta Kayne,  Tue Dec 7 2010, 06:51
i disagree with your advice NOT to show and sell during the holidays! I just got a home into contract - so the buyers who are looking now are serious buyers.
By Greg Lyles,  Tue Dec 7 2010, 07:09
Any good agent will tell you that staging counts a lot when marketing a home. If a seller wants to decorate their home to celebrate a religious holiday, so be it. That's their decision. But keep in mind - if in doing so a potential buyer does not see themselves living in the house and cannot disassociate the religious tone of the house from the house itself, that too is their decision. It's the risk both parties take.

More importantly, make sure the house has been appraised, inspected (and make the repairs) and professionally photographed. In 27 years in real estate, I've seen too many sales fall apart over lender's appraisals and latent repair issues. Having that knowledge before you list will go a long way towards helping your sellers recognize a market offer when one is made and will bolster confidence in potential buyers that the home is in top condition. And please, learn how to use a camera or pay someone who does. The overwhelming majority of photos on our local MLS are pathetic - even on homes listed for $5 million or more. Remember, with almost 90% of buyers using the internet to identify, and eliminate, potential homes, great photography will capture and hold their attention.

Greg Lyles
Conrad Lyles Realtors
Atlanta, GA
(404) 841-9634
http://conradlyles.com
By Rico,  Tue Dec 7 2010, 07:28
Tony Gallart
I tend to disagree. I'm a realtor and at this time a seller. I have relocated and recently listed my home in Louisiana. I think any day off the market may be that one day that I miss a potential buyer. Having said that, there is a group of possible buyers in every community that knows exactly what is for sale and place more importance on looking, and shopping, and the deal($) if they ever write an offer and lose sight of their mission - to find a new home for their family for whatever reason.
As a realtor, I stopped wasting time on that group. There is another group that is sincere, reasonably motivated and whether local or visitors, I would not miss the opportunity of having my home listed and available during the holidays if it's truly for sale.
The market is what it is wherever you may be. I don't buy into the popular realtor game of taking something off the market, lowering the price a little, creatively masking the history, and then putting it back on the market as a new listing. Cute but not my kind of marketing..
All it takes is one buyer - no matter what the season.
Happy Holidays to all
By Cynda Rader,  Tue Dec 7 2010, 07:28
Great Article! I have this conversation every year with sellers as to whether to place their home on the market or keep their home on the market during this time. As every professional knows we DO sell homes during the holidays. As a matter of a fact many times buyers who are relocating to the area come to visit relatives during this time and look for homes. I just tell my sellers I would not want to miss the buyer of your home by taking the home off the market.
Cynda Sells@kw.com
By Sharon Avram & Karen Abramson,  Tue Dec 7 2010, 07:47
As Realtors and Stagers, we agree somewhat. The holidays should feel like holidays and it does not matter if you are from one faith or another, but moderation is the key. Also, when you are taking your photos, and if you just put your home on the market DONT make them look like winter wonderland in case it will take a little longer than you thought to sell the house. This goes for any time of the year not just the hoidays. Here in NJ the market is slowing down this time of the year but homes still sell and many reloaction buyers (who are very serious) are flocking our way.
Enjoy the holidays!
Sharon and Karen
By Allen Blaker,  Tue Dec 7 2010, 08:03
The best way to market your home is with a listing inspection that identifies the condition of the home.... actually can guaranty the condition of the home at the time of the inspection.... and posts a sign that the home has been professionally inspected with a rider sign below the for sale sign. The listing inspection precludes a lot of financial dickering that takes place after the buyers inspection, and can be a cheap insurance policy for the seller to prevent liability after the sale due to mis-representation of the condition of the home when sold. The listing inspection protects the buyer, the seller and the agents in many many ways. Our lising inspection program is called: "The Quik Sale" (trademarked) Program, because it draws buyers in and sells home quicker for more dollars!
By Johanny Manning,  Tue Dec 7 2010, 08:03
Well put! These are all things I've chatted with my listings as the holidays were approaching. Here in Pa, we are also seeing things slow down, but the buyers that are out are serious, therefore sellers also need to be serious. Always put your best foot forward!

Forever Serving,

Johanny Manning
Long and Foster, Yardley
Direct: (267) 968-6651
Office: (215) 369-9331
Broker: (215)493-5600
By Mudar Humaimidi,  Tue Dec 7 2010, 08:19
Agreed! I've recently advised my client to list their condo, which is a stunning loft in NYC, during the Holidays knowing that we're not going to receive much traffic. That is a key point when discussing marketing options with your client. As long as they have realistic expectations they will not be taken back by the lack of traffic; however, as we all know it only takes one qualified buyer to sell a piece of property. By doing this you also set the client for a more agressive campaign come Spring. By lowering the asking price by as little as 5-10k to show prospects that we are sympathetic to the current market conditions and we're serious about selling the property.

http://www.forecastrealtyllc.com
By - Cheryl Hoover -,  Tue Dec 7 2010, 08:23
Happy Selling in any season. I'm a REALTOR, and a seller of a beautiful, very large log home right now and I've had more activity these past 2 weeks than I can believe. I have my tree up, but it is very tasteful and patriotic - all White House and Military ornaments, I have the childrens' small table set for the Teddy Bears and my dining room table set for a Christmas Dinner, my Nutcracker and Santa collection by the fireplace, and a lovely large Nativity set and stable, my Christmas village pieces are up in every room and bathroom, but no stockings with our names are up. We have just put up the outside lights and people are grabbing the flyers at night. I've got 3 agents asking all types of questions for their clients and I expect an offer for my asking price any minute. I had no activity before I decorated for the holidays. All the potential buyers need to settle by mid-January due to relocations. I am leaving this house on the market and woring my family plans around any showings. The main thing is not to be stressed out and enjoy our last Holiday in our wonderful family home. We are moving and downsizing due to retirement, although I would prefer to stay. The other big selling point is that we had granite countertops with an eat-in island installed the Saturday after Thanksgiving. That seems to be drawing the biggest WOW factor as well as the decorations because they are stunning! I just got a call from a drive-by and am showing the house again later today. If no one wants to buy this home, so be it. I am SOLD on it!
By Sunny Goode,  Tue Dec 7 2010, 08:45
I would never dream of telling my sellers to essentially “Not do Christmas” If that is their religious preference, it is not for me to change their right to celebrate their religious freedom. Remember this is already an emotional time for many sellers, especially if it's a short sale as is the case many times these days. This may be their last Christmas in their home. Let them enjoy their holidays how they wish. It's a very temporary situation. Also the buyers looking right now as many have stated are serious buyers, and I don't believe a Christmas tree will be a deal breaker if they really like the home. I do agree with staging homes, but both can be feasible and work. I actually showed a home on Christmas Eve afternoon one time to out of town buyers visiting for the holidays. I was doing last minute Christmas shopping, but you bet I went & met them at the house! I am there to advise them of course, about housing and current market conditions, not to preach about religion or poliitics. Most serious buyers can overlook a few obvious things. Give them some credit please, they know it's Christmas!
By Linda Forster,  Tue Dec 7 2010, 09:26
Good article - thanks! Some buyers have extra time during the holidays to look for a home. So, don't miss the boat. I have had some very busy times working around holidays throughout the year.

Linda Forster, Realtor
Charles Reinhart Company Realtors
Ann Arbor, Mi. 48108
By Doug Reynolds,  Tue Dec 7 2010, 09:48
Great stuff as always Tara. Thanks and Merry Christmas.
By Pete Whan,  Tue Dec 7 2010, 09:58
A buyer who needs to buy will buy during the Christmas season, if the house is decorated or not. Why wait till after the first of the year to put a house on the market with all the other properties that will be put on the market.
By Cheryl Grabowski,  Tue Dec 7 2010, 09:59
I think during the holiday season you get a more motivated & serious buyer! I think it is a great time of year to sell your home, the houses look so festive & inviting! I also agree you should not over do it also! Make it festive, not cluttered! It may be a little inconvient during the holiday season, biut it shows the home in it's best light! And on that note, Happy Holidays to All!!
By Jing Sebastian,  Tue Dec 7 2010, 10:39
If the seller is really motivated , I strongly suggest that their asking price should be lower than the current market price. There are more inventories than buyers at this time like law of supply and demand. If the house is occupied, the seller should be very cooperative to show the house. Its usually buyers' market and sellers have to deal with that.
By Joseph Hastings,  Tue Dec 7 2010, 10:47
Very well said (written?). As for holiday decorating I say, do your thing! Decorate any way you want and celebrate. Any customer taking offense to that is a non-customer and easily forgotten. Even if we want to de-clutter the house, once the holidays are here, all bets are off. MERRY CHRISTMAS.
By Dani Hanna (214) 293-2104,  Tue Dec 7 2010, 11:23
People...can't we all just get along? I always advise my sellers to remove any religous or political stuff. There is nothing wrong with having and practicing your faith. But for some people it is a distraction from the reason they are there in the first place..to see the home. None of us are in any position to put off a potential QUALIFIED buyer. This is a business, don't take it so personally. I even make my clients remove college memorabilia. Neutral is the name of the game here. Be in sales or be in sales prevention; it's your call.
By Nancy R Riley, MBA,  Tue Dec 7 2010, 11:46
Great article, Tara. The Holiday Season is family time and time for decorations to make a home welcoming. That said, motivated sellers should keep their homes in the market as it takes only one buyer to make the sale. Make your home bright, clean, and uncluttered. Accentuate the positive features, and minimize the negative. Of course, price it right!
http://www.nancyrileyrealestate.com. 11/06/10
By Connie Herron,  Tue Dec 7 2010, 12:03
Send your buyers to warm, dry Texas! It's a great time to buy or sell a home since the inventory is lower than in other months. Price it right, stage it well and leave Christ in Christmas. Buyers are buying the house, not the Seller's possessions or faith.

Happy selling & Merry Christmas & send your referrals!

Connie Herron, GRI, ABR, CRS
Keller Williams Realty
Round Rock, TX
http://www.ConnieHerron.com
By Amy Holder,  Tue Dec 7 2010, 12:10
Great article. Right now would be a great time to put your home on the market and stage it just right where any family would want to make an offer. The holidays is a great time to make your home feel warm and friendly.
By Pattie Jackson,  Tue Dec 7 2010, 12:11
Tara, I think your advice is very good and I don't think "offending buyers" is the point you were trying to make about putting away religious decorations. If a seller wants to keep their home on the market through the holidays then they should do what it takes to get it sold. A staged neutral home will attract more buyers. They can visualize their future in that home much better if they don't have to see through the seller's personal style. Keep the holiday decor fresh and simple, such as live garland that smells great. There is a reason the homes that look like model homes sell the fastest, for the most amount money. Even closets, cupboards, and storage rooms should be decluttered and even staged by organizing and putting like colors and items together. The buyer will think "If I buy this home I'll be this organized!" Thank you for posting your thoughts. Have a Merry Christmas!

Pattie Jackson
Keller Williams Realty Atlanta North
By Bonnie Miller,  Tue Dec 7 2010, 12:56
Tara,
Non believers may be turned off/distracted but did you ever think that believers may be turned on by the sellers display of their faith. It can work both ways. Yes it is business not personal Dani but most of us believers want God in our business
By Greg Anderson,  Tue Dec 7 2010, 13:38
Nice job! Well said! Lots of sellers have their best chance to sell right now with inventory lower and homes that look and feel better than an ice-cold frigid foreclosure with no character or charm!!
By Debbie OBrien,  Tue Dec 7 2010, 14:08
First I want to comment on the "secular" aspect..for everyone who is insulted. I recently had a listing which was more like a church than a family home. Crucifixes in every room, some rooms have more than one. Rosary Beads on the banister, huge and I mean huge pictures of Jesus. Amazingly the buyer is a Rabbi. His comment was "this house house a nice energy." I think people should be who they are, unless of course they are slobs and practice strewing their dirty clothes and shoes all over the place. Showing during the Holiday Season is awkward for buyers as well as sellers. Buyers feel like they're intruding and sellers feel like they're sharing dinner. There are a few buyers out there and I try and strike a balance between the sellers and the visitors. Better for the seller's to get their properties sold before the Spring market brings all those competitive listings.
By J,  Tue Dec 7 2010, 15:00
Based on everyone's comments, this is truly a 'hot topic'. Anyone have suggestions for a rural/country property that has had just 1 showing in 9 months yet it's a fantastic newer home/property with acreage, horse barn and in a valley just 25 minutes outside of Madison (in New Glarus, WI)? My sellers are motivated but are reluctant to drop price since they've only had it 3 years. We're at $600,000-$650,000 range price. This buyer wants to pull from market over holidays and relist to get the advantages of a 'new listing MLS number', etc. Anyone have experience getting traffic for a rural property? Other realtors selling in this area haven't had much if anything to tell me that is either inspirational or new, and they're all having trouble attracting buyers, snow or summer weather. Thanks in advance for any help/advice. I've been able to take away several tidbits from the comments and article above and will use these in future dialogs with clients. I agree that keeping inventory 'up' can only work 'for' a seller and provide more options for prospective buyers. In any case, looking at your listings strategically based on their unique set of characteristics is important. Happy Holidays all!
By Reba Haas,  Tue Dec 7 2010, 16:04
Another reason to be on the market during the holidays in some markets is that if you're in a still declining market, if you wait 3-6 months for the busier season, you'll have that much less market value. You have to weigh a lot of factors and compare them to what's important to your need to sell.
By Hillary Nash,  Tue Dec 7 2010, 19:55
Great Comments Tara. As a disciple of Christ, I'm saddened by the amount of insensivity that other Christians have displayed on this board. I don't know where you guys live, but I live in Washington, DC. This is a melting pot of Christians, Muslims, Jewish, and Hindu faiths. YOU ARE ALL ALSO REALTORS!!! YOU GET PAID TO KNOW BETTER!! PUT THESE THINGS AWAY!!! Do you guys even represent Buyers?? Putting away a nativity scene has NOTHING to do with silencing Christianity. It has EVERYTHING to do with making sure that EVERYONE who walks through the door as a potential buyer CAN feel like this homes belong to them. If you aren't aware that people MOST CERTAINLY DO choose homes based on "how I felt" as they walk through, then you are in the WRONG business. I do not believe that JESUS would be offended if you put away a plastic version of his birth, and a tree so that you can go where he has planned for you. And as Realtors we must be careful; by law we are not allowed to discriminate based on religion, and it sounds like you defend nativity scenes as an attack on Chistianity today, and then the ability to choose who you sell to based on their religon tomorrow. Anyone who is a minority in another fashion can tell you today that it sucks to not be treated fairly becuase of who they are. ~ Luke 18:10-14 Happy Holidays to everyone!
By Marilyn Gibson,  Tue Dec 7 2010, 21:26
Homes that are simply decorated for the holidays are welcoming, warm, and festive. Warning, fellow Realtors: PLEASE remember to take & post fresh pictures after Jan. 1st. Nothing dates a listing more than having property photos that include holiday decorations when it is well into the new year.
By Doris Robinson,  Wed Dec 8 2010, 12:22
This is great information very informative if anyone has a buyer looking to purchase in the Houston TX area there's a 3yrs old 5 bedroom home on a corner lot in a cul-de-sac 2 story 3 side brick two car garage being sold for 125,000 propety is located near Katy TX in Cypress TX MLS # 69331868 address is 14402 Narnia Vale CT Cypress, TX 77429 Happy Holidays to all...
By Jacobo Van,  Wed Dec 8 2010, 14:50
Nice observations for an alert and motivated seller (buyer) who believe that there is never a bad time to sell! Kudos, J. van
By Amyund,  Wed Dec 8 2010, 15:00
I would never tell a seller to put away something they hold sacred, whether they are Christian, Hindu, Muslim..etc.. As long as the home is neat, clean and free from clutter, I don't see why a few religious items would hurt. I think the liberal media wants us to believe that everyone will get offended if we display our faith in some way. I don't think most people really care what faith we are, as long as we don't cram it down their throat. There are far more offensive items that I have seen during showings, like: nude artwork, and rooms with taxidermy all over the wall (rabbits, birds, etc..).
By KELLIE M. PLACE, Realtor C21,  Thu Dec 9 2010, 03:28
Love the advise and I plan on printing this and handing to my overzealous home decorators. A simple holiday table setting, non ethnic or religious, sounds perfect! And Marilyn Gibson, thanks to the shout out to change out the holiday pics. We have some on our MLS with tacky Halloween decor still. Nothing like dating your listing.
If you have any clients moving or selling in upstate New York, I'd love to work with you on a referral basis. Shoot me an email at kmplace02@aol.com.
By Darshui,  Thu Dec 9 2010, 10:04
I am a little shocked by how many realtors are totally out of touch here. There is absolutely no reason you or your clients should be offended by having a conversation about creating a neutral space for marketing a home. I have been with buyers walking into a house that was decorated in a Day of the Dead theme with lots of skulls and skeletons and these particular buyers were totally spooked by it. I think they even went as far as suggesting the sellers were devil worshipers! I personally found the art beautiful but would have advised these sellers (if they were my clients) to not just tone it down, but eliminate it for this exact reason. It isn't about religious freedom, or rights. It is about selling the biggest asset you have (in a down market). If your clients don't thank you for having the conversation with them, maybe you should think twice about working with them. If you aren't comfortable having this conversation with your clients, maybe you should think twice about being a realtor.

And why are people posting their listings here?
By Doug Francis,  Thu Dec 9 2010, 12:33
That is a great photo on the e-mail link, it should have been here too!
By Mark Neighbor,  Thu Dec 9 2010, 22:12
Great ideas. We are moving houses and this makes good sense. Thank you
By Robert Lei,  Fri Dec 10 2010, 20:28
I agree. If it's already mid December and you only have to wait a few weeks for January, then wait to put your home on the market. I've kept track of market activity and definitely the activity slows during the holidays.

One caveat is if you are selling to move up. In that case, you have to take into account that if you are selling during a slow time, you are also buying during a slow time. You might be selling at a slight discount but if you can buy the more expensive home at the same percentage discount, then you end up saving money in dollar terms.
By Roberts Investment Properties,  Mon Dec 13 2010, 17:15
Nice post Tara. We would also add the following. (1) Be sure to have a property in the right/desirable location (this pretty much goes without saying). (2) Just like Tara posted, do the right things to have the property in the best possible condition. (3) Last but not least, price it to sell from the start.

- Amy & Dustin Roberts

http://twitter.com/robertshouses
http://linkedin.com/in/robertsinvestmentproperties
http://www.robertsinvestmentproperties.blogspot.com/

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays to all.
By Joe Walusis,  Tue Dec 14 2010, 10:14
I think that many of us might be showing our frustrations with the constant badgering from the "PC" police and that is bubbling to the surface here. I for one laugh every year when a good portion of the Realtors roll the sidewalks up and take mid November through the first of the year off, because the "market is slow and there isn't much activity out there". I've had some of my best months in December and I live in the snowy Midwest in Dayton, Ohio. To me it's a mind set that we as Realtors place on ourselves and our clients. Some have pointed out that this is a business. What businesses do we know that close down because they might not get the traffic it desires for a month and half (unless of course it is a seasonal business, that being the exception to the rule) and goes home to sit it out? You don't want to give the impression that you are not working or do not want the business at any time, especially in this market.

On a note of how to display your home during the holiday season, I agree that it should be done tastefully and with simplicity in mind, no matter the time of year. I would not direct any of my clients to put away articles that have a religious connotation, because they might be offensive to a potential buyer. If the house is priced correctly, has the amenities they desire and is the right location, then a nativity display, menorah, Buddha or any other "religious" article should not be a deterrent. If your client tells you that is the reason for them not to make the purchase, then they didn't want the home in the first place. There is a reason for the season. Merry Christmas to all.

Joe Walusis
Keller Williams Advantage
Dayton, Ohio
By Jan Milstead,  Tue Dec 14 2010, 20:12
Another Great Article !
By Tean Wong,  Wed Dec 15 2010, 15:27
some agent even take listing off the market during holiday.
By Susan,  Wed Dec 15 2010, 18:37
By Susan Metz WED.DEC.15 2010
We have needed to move several times near Thanksgiving and Christmas. When i viewed a home that was
uber decorated or had children and no note on the fact sheet that" the owners had other living arrangments ready for them and would love a quick escrow" there was no way that i was going to displace this family and
be the cause for any holiday trauma....because i needed to close in 30 days. so I usually choose empty houses.
If you are seriously ready to move have some boxes taped and fact sheet note.to the speed of moving planned.
Buyers have hearts so remove that doubt about hurting family. Decorating is fine -just light please
By Lisa and Goran Forss (Broker),  Fri Dec 17 2010, 18:00
We have noticed in our area that the traffic is lower during the holidays but the home home buyers appear to be more motivated.
By Van Purser,  Mon Dec 27 2010, 19:34
Comprehensive, selectively applicable, and engaging. Additionally…

Advice that suggest that one filter WHAT we do by anything other than WHO we are, is advice that suggest we change WHO we are, in order to accomplish WHAT we want.

Van S. Purser - Managing Broker & Investor
Van Purser & Associates LLC
http://www.VanPurser.com
By Torquil Creevy,  Thu May 19 2011, 16:03
Thanks for such a well presented topic. Sellers can be so upset when these types of suggestions are made. But, it is about SELLING the HOUSE and I agree with you comments!!
By Voices Member,  Fri Jun 21 2013, 12:56
I like to keep my open houses festive regardless of the holiday season. I have been having some success, though!

David | http://www.lakesidespa.ca/cm1.cfm?fid=19&extranet=0&lang=1&html=massage_therapy.html
By Kevin Vitali,  Sun Nov 24 2013, 08:39
I have been doing real estate fill time for twelve years. I have always put several homes under agreement between mid November and the end of December her in Massachusetts. That means the Massachusetts cold!

What I can tell you is that when I am working with a buyer this time of year is they are serious and they are anxious to get into a new home. I think if it is time to sell for the sellers, they should not hold off for the holidays to end.

My one advice is pare down the decorations keep them simple and tasteful.
By bengibson4113,  Tue Dec 10 2013, 17:56
You know this may sound a little weird, but the more professional you look the better chance you'll have at selling, even during the holidays. I had dental implants put in here in Crest Hill, IL & I swear my sales have doubled. Maybe it's just the extra confidence, but look your best & don't ever judge a book by it's cover! http://www.cresthillfamilydental.com/Implant-Dentistry/

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