By Mike Baird
When it comes to selling houses, there are all kinds of “rules” about when you should list to get the best price and the quickest sale. Those are all fine and good when you’re selling your home and you don’t have a specific timeline that you have to move it by. When we’re talking about your real estate investing business, though, it’s a whole different story. If you run your business right and you’re consistently finding and following up on leads, you’re going to find yourself flipping houses throughout the year, and that includes during the holidays.
Just the idea of selling houses at this time of year can be exhausting. Starting around Thanksgiving and going till the New Year, it feels like you’re going full-tilt. Your family is coming into town or you’re going out of town. You have dinners and parties to think of and decorating to do at your own home, let alone any decorating you want to do at your flip houses… It’s enough to make you want to quit until January. Fortunately, though, house-flipping during the holidays really isn’t as chaotic or bad as you might think. In fact, it can really be a breeze if you do it right.
Choose Evergreens to Improve Curb Appeal
First of all, curb appeal can be a little tricky in winter, since all of your deciduous trees (oaks, elms, poplars, etc.) are going to be bare. However, if you landscape with some evergreen shrubs along the front walk and around the house, you can really make it look more alive and inviting to people driving or walking by.
Go for Warm, Festive Staging — But Don’t Go Overboard
Next, a wreath on the front door and a few festive holiday accents will make the house feel warm and inviting. When potential buyers come in, they’ll be able to easily picture themselves living here and how they’d decorate for the holidays in this beautiful home. Don’t go overboard with decorations, though. You don’t want people to see how you would decorate the house, and you don’t want it to feel too lived-in.
Honestly, when it comes to tasteful, minimal decorations, I usually let the stagers do them. They’re the pros, and they always do it better anyway. That said, if you’re not staging the house, you might still want to put a wreath on the front door and a few Christmas lights up in the yard, so that the place doesn’t look dark and deserted in comparison with the other houses in the neighborhood.
Keep Your Price Competitive
Finally, most people aren’t necessarily going to be looking to move during the holidays, but they’ll jump at a really good deal on a beautiful house in the right neighborhood. Fortunately for you, if you keep your rehab budgets tight, you don’t need to get a high price on your flips to make a profit. You can even cut your asking price a hair under market value to entice buyers to jump on such a great deal.
If you do cut your price, though, be careful. Don’t cut it too low, or people will wonder what’s wrong with it to bring it so far down in value. Instead, set your asking price right at or just a couple of thousand dollars below the market prices for the comps in your area.
Follow these tips, and you shouldn’t have any trouble flipping houses during the holidays. The real estate investing business may have peaks and valleys throughout the year, but it really is a year-round industry if you know what you’re doing.