The Boxing Day bounce. You may have noticed that in recent years many agents run a campaign focused on launching your property for sale on Boxing Day. This is based on statistics from Rightmove suggesting that Boxing Day sees the largest number of people looking for properties. Here are a few stats from Rightmove for Boxing Day and post Christmas 2022/ 23
- A record number of new sellers put their property for sale on Boxing Day, a 46% jump on the previous year.
- Prospective sellers also got ready for a New Year move, with a number of people contacting estate agents to value their home between Boxing Day and New Year’s Day the highest number recorded in a week since early September, and 29% higher than the same period in 2021
- Boxing Day week (W/C 26th of December), saw the number of views of homes for sale on Rightmove jump by 20% compared with the previous week, as activity begins to ramp up ahead of the spring selling season.
Not all agents agree with this approach, and one of the big questions is how many of those searching are actually seriously looking to move and how many or simply “scrolling”.
In this month’s blog, I thought I would give some tips on how to approach selling your home if it is going to be on the market at Christmas.
For me, the challenge when marketing your property over the Christmas period (which let’s face it, seems to start earlier and earlier each year) is achieving the balance between decorating your home as you and your family wish to have it over the festive period and not overwhelming your potential buyers. Too much festive twinkle can distract potential buyers from seeing the actual property. They may spend too much time considering your decorations and when they left find they can’t remember the house itself. Top tip – don’t start decorating your property too early.
Less Is More
You have probably heard the expression “less is more” and I have previously mentioned the concept of “stealth wealth“. This term is also referred to as “quiet luxury” and refers to sophistication without showing off. It is all about subtlety. In the context of styling your home for sale over Christmas and the festive period, it involves decorations that are subtle, that still give the feel of Christmas and celebration, but without having too many and without being too obvious.
I have previously talked about the need for consistency when presenting your property for sale. It is important that you have elements that are common to each space in your property as viewers walk around, in order to create a sense of flow and togetherness. This applies to your Christmas decor just as much to your decor at any other time. So decide on a style that is appropriate for your property and the buyers who are most likely to buy your property. Never forget your target market. It’s a good idea to consider the colours that you have used as accents in your property and carry those through to the colours of your decorating scheme. Natural materials and white and silver enhance rather than take centre stage.
I’ve seen an increasing trend for people (particularly families) to lavishly decorate the exterior of their properties at Christmas. It can develop into a bit of a competition among the neighbours. This could include not only lots of fairy lights, but the whole works – the sleigh and reindeer on the lawn, lights strung everywhere, and maybe even Santa disappearing down the chimney. Whilst I get this when it comes to families, too many decorations can distract from an attractive exterior, and perhaps not every potential buyer of your property is a family. If you have a property with a photogenic exterior don’t risk masking it with your decorations. A wreath hung on the front door with bay trees or holly trees either side, and a group of lanterns in a porch are always good ways to make your entrance appear festive and welcoming.
The entrance hall is the first space that potential buyers will experience when they step through the front door so it sets the scene. Style a console table with a small decorative arrangement or a tray with a scented candle and a few baubles in a dish and candlesticks either side for symmetry. If you have a bigger entrance hall with a staircase, a festive garland wound around the bannister works well as does a seating area. The larger, the space the more the scope.
The lounge is obviously the prime space in your property, so you need to think carefully when styling it for viewings over the Christmas period. Generally the starting point will be the tree. It’s important to choose one that is an appropriate size for the space. It’s tempting to go for the largest you think you can fit in but unless your lounge is very spacious a large tree might seem out of proportion. In smaller spaces consider opting for a slimline tree. Bear in mind the theme you have chosen when choosing your tree, do you want a real tree or an artificial one? Don’t overdo the decorations and stick to a colour palette. A single colour using different textures can look very effective especially for a contemporary scheme. A feature fireplace suits a simple garland and some candles. Add throws and cushions to sofas and chairs to make the space feel cosy.
I love styling a dining table, they are great for capturing lifestyle images. Rather than opting for the full on Christmas dinner vibe stick with a more pared back look. I would include a simple table runner and mats with a central decorative arrangement and string of lights or garland, then plain white crockery and nice glassware. Finish with a napkin tied with a ribbon and sprig of greenery.
The master bedroom is another of those principal rooms in the house that you need to pay attention to. Avoid the Christmas themed bedding and opt for plain white bedding textured throws and cushions. Faux fur or cable knit are perfect. Add pops of your accent, colour in velvet cushions. If you have an Ottoman, bench seat or chair style with a tray accessorised with a festive scented candle, a book and a Christmas ornament. In a large space a small Christmas tree in a corner or on a table is attractive, but again keep the decorations on it simple.
Many of us will be hosting friends and/ or family over the Christmas period and your buyers may also be doing so. It is therefore a good idea to think about the presentation of a guest room. Consider those welcoming touches that you would provide for guests. On bedside tables have a good selection of books and greenery, such as a small poinsettia or cyclamen in a silver or gold pot. The provision of tea and coffee making facilities is always a good idea with a selection of beverages so that guests can make themselves a bedtime cocoa or early morning cup of tea. Add some luxury biscuits and chocolate. Make sure that there is a selection of blankets or throws, so that guests won’t wake up feeling cold.
At this time of year it’s easy to neglect your outside space but don’t because your prospective buyers will still be interested in it. The key things are to ensure that it is neat and tidy. Book that final cut of the grass if you haven’t already, sweep up any fallen leaves and tidy up any straggly shrubs. Whilst you will no doubt have tidied away the garden furniture, it is still important to make sure that your outside space looks attractive. The easiest way to do this is plant up some pots and hanging baskets with winter foliage. I currently have a pot planted with a mixture of cyclamen and ferns on my patio which looks very attractive and provides bright colour. If you have a viewing on beautiful sunny day you might put out a bistro set and drape the chairs in blankets so that buyers could imaginee sitting with a hot chocolate or warming mulled wine
Here are a few things to bear in mind if you are expecting viewings over the festive period
- Check outdoor lighting so that the way to the front door is clearly illuminated. Not only does this ensure the safety of your viewers, it also looks welcoming
- Check paths and driveways for any leaves or other debris that could cause a slip. This applies also to outdoor decking and patio as viewers might venture out onto those areas.
- Consider the temperature of your home. Viewers are likely to be wearing outdoor clothes so you don’t want the heating to be on full blast. At the same time you don’t want your property to be freezing cold. You want to ensure that your viewers feel comfortable and able to spend as much time as they need viewing the property rather than focus on how uncomfortable they may be feeling. If people are gasping for fresh air or are shivering they won’t linger.
- It’s a nice touch to have some tea and coffee making facilities available that can be offered to viewers, particularly if they are likely to have travelled a distance and or been viewing several properties. Have a plate with some mince pies that can be offered although do be wary. If there are likely to be children on a viewing you don’t want dirty fingermarks on upholstery or walls!
My key takeaway, if you are selling during December or over the festive period is “less is more“. Keep decorations few in number, subtle and simple and in keeping with your overall decor. Keep decorations in proportion to the size of the space. Never forget who your target market is and be prepared to do things differently to how you might normally, it’s only for one Christmas. Above all, don’t forget to enjoy your own Christmas!
If you would like to learn more then call me on 07745 876182 to arrange a free no-obligation chat. I cover the Wirral, Cheshire and North Wales