By Tracey Cole
Keller Williams/The Hernandez Group

Selling a home over the holidays was once considered the height of folly. Everyone knows that spring is selling season…right?  There may have been some truth to that in the past, but this year is different. And here’s why:

Demand exploded early this year and drove price increases unseen since 2006. Why? The economy is improving and buyers who have been waiting for the recovery decided to move. However, inventories were depleted and many buyers didn’t find the right house during buying season, were outbid in multiple offer scenarios or were too late and the house they thought was “the one” was under contract within hours.

Beginning in August the market changed. Price increases slowed down and even fell in many markets. Inventories at some price points are back to normal. Buyers who were disappointed last spring are searching online real estate sites just looking for a house like yours.  That said, there are still some obstacles, such as limited time frame and family distractions. Social events and bank holidays can limit showings and lender availability.

Here are 5 simple tips to selling your home over the holidays:

Work with a professional real estate agent.
Make sure the you work with a full time, professional real estate agent who understand your area. They will be able to guide you with regard to pricing, have the marketing resources, and will need to be available during the holidays to show and negotiate offers.

Price to Sell
This is not the time to try to squeeze an extra $10,000 of your home. Do your research on recent comparable sales. A knowledgeable agent will provide a good competitive market analysis. Pricing your house right is key to getting it sold. Even in a great seller’s market overprice homes don’t sell.

Stage Your Home
Your home must be in tip-top shape, ready to wow. Wash windows, paint walls (and trim), make sure it is white glove clean. Put away ALL of the extra stuff (clutter) that you don’t use everyday. Pre-pack your family photos and collectables. Be careful not to overdo the holiday decorations. Adornments that are too large or having too much can crowd your home and distract buyers.

Target Your Marketing
A professional real estate agent will be able to put together a good listing with professional photos and place it on the right sites. Buyers will make their first decision about your house based upon the online photos.

Be Flexible
Flexibility with showing times is crucial. Everyone is busy this time of the year. Buyers this time of year are often facing a deadline, relocating with work, or want to realize tax breaks with a 2016 purchase. Flexibility in showings and negotiations will streamline the process and create a win-win for both parties.

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