5 Tips on Open Houses during Holiday Season
Industry veterans and sellers alike feel winter isn’t the ideal time to put a home on the market.What can you do to make your wintertime open houses a top dollar sell?
1. Market Early to a broad market with a Creative Flair
The buyers venturing out in the wintertime are serious buyers. How can you tell? A) It’s cold outside B) The holiday season is here, not coming, here and C) Most likely has a family. If you were house shopping with a family in the holiday season how serious would you be about house hunting?
Start event marketing ASAP, feature it in your blog and social media messages. Put signs up at any nearby public places or better yet a holiday fair or festival to attract any interested attendees.
Don’t forget the free online sites like Craigslist and Zillow by going to the listing and add your open house information.
Your buyer can come from anywhere so think creatively! Invite the neighbors into the open house a few hours early for a sneak preview. How about organizing a holiday block party? Give you’re attendees a chance to look around they can pass the word along to family and friends. People host out-of-town relatives during the holidays, perhaps some of them are interested in moving closer to family. If a buyer is relocating, they might have already planned a trip to your area, so post your open house information to as many online outlets as possible.
2. Keep entry ways safe on the outside
By keeping the driveway, curbs and walkways clear of snow, water, sand dunes and ice makes the home approachable, inviting and safe. Illuminate walkways and driveways for visitors, Think about how a layer of sand keeps attendees safe when the walkways ice over.
Clear any icicles off the overhangs and brush off any precarious clumps of snow or sand that could fall on an unwitting buyer. Set a timer on the porch lights can ensure that buyers easily spot the house number.
Not to mention how nothing says home like a welcome mat for wet or muddy feet, a floor runner and coat rack in the entryway.
3. Let’s talk ambiance
Although beautifully wrapped gifts and collectible seasonal decorations create a festive ambiance, The opportunistic thieves who sometimes target open houses can make away with these. So, keep all valuables out of sight (jewelry and prescription drugs). Keep the thermostat at a comfortable level. Hot cider, cocoa and cookies are a great way to keep attendees looking at the property longer and make it feel just a little like home. Leverage as much of the natural light as possible. To have seasonal items as part of the ambient décor, wrap empty cardboard boxes and use mass-market decorations as decoys, hints of seasonal scents, evergreen wreath on the door, shrubbery trimming in urns on the porch —keep it tasteful; buyers want to focus on the features, not the festivities.
4. Update the exterior
Make some off-season updates in preparation for your open house. Wash the paint or siding with warm soapy water to immediately spruce up the outside. Polish the windows to allow more natural light to shine through.
Prune the shrubbery and trim any tree branches that might be laden with snow. It makes the home look maintained and it’s a safety measure against potential damage caused by limbs cracking under the weight.
5. Keep the momentum
During the holidays when weekends can be jam-packed with get-togethers. Organize creative open houses to better accommodate both you and the seller and attract more traffic.
A weekday evening — perhaps catching the attention of commuters heading home. If you decide to keep your open house on the weekend, earlier in the day — when you can take advantage of natural light — is better.
Try a Saturday morning and offer brunch snacks and have cartoons playing for the kids. Another idea is to hold it during a football game and give the event a tailgate party theme.
Don’t forget to add your open house guests to your CRM; following up with every single guest is a great excuse to add them to your holiday card list.
Not many people can take the entire winter off. If you happen to have clients motivated enough to sell their home during the holidays, pulling off high-traffic, well-staged open houses can be the key to staying busy and increase your listings.
Motivated buyers don’t care what month it is; they just want to find their next home and sign the papers. An open house during the holidays should showcase a warm and inviting home that can attract buyers willing to pay premium prices and act quickly.