In an average year, the period from November through January presents special challenges for selling your home. In this year’s anything-but-normal holiday season there are added difficulties of showing your home during the re-surging pandemic.
But if you need to sell your home at this time, take heart. There are a number of advantages in your favor:
• Holiday buyers are intent on completing a purchase.
• Inventory is very low so fewer homes are on the market and your home has less competition.
• Real estate transactions are considered to be an essential activity in Boulder County and can continue during level red as long as COVID-19 requirements are followed.
• Virtual showings have become widely accepted.
Let’s get the pandemic-oriented challenges out of the way first. According to the Colorado Association of Realtors, while open houses are not allowed during the level red classification, individual real estate showings are permissible as long as CDC and CDPHE guidelines are followed. Requirements include following social distancing parameters and cleaning between showings. It is a dynamic situation, so check with your Realtor for the latest updates.
For initial viewings, virtual tours can take the place of open houses with 360-degree virtual tours.
Whether showing your home in-person or virtually, the following tips from hgtv.com will help you take advantage of the unique advantages the holiday season brings.
Decorate lightly to get the best effect
Light holiday decorations showcase the warmth of a home like no other. Use general winter decorations such as greenery and candles to accentuate your home’s best features and avoid personal items or specific themes. Less is more when it comes to decorating, but a few touches like a bowl of pinecones, an evergreen wreath, or a pot of cider simmering on the stove can create a warm and festive feeling in your home.
Hire a real estate agent who will be available
Your agent needs to provide needed on-the-ground support during Christmas or New Year. Find an agent who will be available throughout the season and who is knowledgeable about the requirements of showing homes during mandated requirements during the pandemic. This will ease stress and give you more time to enjoy the season.
Target motivated buyers
Work with your agent to find buyers who are house hunting during the holidays due to a pressing deadline. This could be people relocating for jobs, investors, or college students and staff. In Boulder County’s competitive housing market, some home shoppers are strategically taking advantage of the reduced number of active buyers.
Bare trees mean your home’s exterior is more exposed. Make the most of your home’s appeal with exterior paint touch-ups, clean gutters and an impeccable yard. Remember to keep buyers safe with stairs and walkways free of snow and ice.
Make a video tour
Buyers will be more likely to shop online due to COVID-19 precautions, as well as inclement weather and busy holiday schedules. Hire a pro to shoot a high-quality video tour and post it online to attract house hunters. Many out-of-town buyers are looking at these tours.
Make sure your décor is inviting, warm and neutral
Encourage shoppers to spend more time in your home and admire its best features. Crank up the heat, play soft classical music and offer homemade holiday treats to set a cozy stage.
Follow COVID-19 pandemic requirements for showings.
Talk to your real estate agent to establish a hygienic showing protocol that follows the current requirements mandated by the state and county. Showings will be by appointment only with a limit to the number of people allowed per showing. You and potential homebuyers will certify (or sign) a form with questions about your exposure to COVID-19, for example, asking if you have traveled abroad, if have you been sick, etc. During the showing there is no handshaking and people must stay six feet apart. Potential homebuyers may also be required to use hand sanitizer when they arrive and leave, and to remove shoes or wear booties and masks before entering. Removing shoes not only reduces dirt coming in, but potentially germs. Homebuyers will be asked to avoid touching surfaces and view the home quickly. After showings, surfaces in your home should be wiped down.
These are among the many strategies for making a holiday home sale a winning proposition.
• See the full article at hgtv.com/design/real-estate/top-10-tips-for-selling-your-home-during-the-holidays.
• For more on the pandemic restrictions visit coloradorealtors.com/2020/11/18/governor-announces-new-covid-risk-level-changes-to-real-estate-activities-within-level-red or
By Tom Kalinski. Tom is the broker/owner of RE/MAX of Boulder, the local residential real estate company he established in 1977. He was inducted into Boulder County’s Business Hall of Fame in 2016 and has a 40-year background in commercial
and residential real estate. For questions, e-mail Tom at [email protected], call 303.441.5620 or visit boulderco.com.