first time homebuyer purchasing guide

During the winter holiday season, the last thing usually on anyone’s mind is selling their home. But did you know some data shows that more homes sell during the holidays than at other times of the year? 

This is because even though there are fewer buyers and bidding wars, those looking for a new home at this time of year are more serious buyers. Plus, with less competition due to fewer homes being on the market, it’s more likely your home will stand out. 

While the National Association of Realtors (NAR) will tell you that the housing market starts to heat up in the springtime and the best months to sell are in the summer, don’t overlook selling your home during the holidays. 

Let’s get into this homeowners’ guide to the dos and don’ts of selling during the holiday to ensure you get a great home sale this winter. 

Do: Stage Your Home for Selling During the Holiday

The holiday season is personal on many levels, but when it comes to home staging during the winter months, try to stay neutral. You can certainly get into the holiday spirit by hanging a wreath or holiday-themed welcome sign on your front door. 

If you celebrate Christmas, let potential buyers see your Christmas tree! But be mindful of how much you decorate, and don’t go overboard. 

Although holiday decorations can help potential buyers see themselves in the home, you don’t want a Christmas tree so large that it engulfs the living room floor, making the room look much smaller than it is. 

Keep your decorations simple and use them to enhance the home’s best features rather than bury them. When in doubt, check out the dos and don’ts of holiday staging for guidance. 

Do: Create That Warm and Cozy Feeling 

Leverage holiday decorations for curb appeal and to make your home feel warm and cozy. Even though we have great winter weather in Tampa, people still want to feel close and connected during the holidays. 

Buyers are more emotional during the holidays, so they may make a feelings-based decision to purchase your home when they step into it for the first time during an open house. 

Don’t: Let the Stress of Selling Your Home Overtake the Joy of the Holiday Season 

When discussing how to sell your home in Tampa during the holiday season, it’s essential to highlight that the home-selling process should never stress you out to the point where it kills the joys of the holidays. 

While a lot is going on during this period of time, having a real estate professional guide you through the selling process will ensure you sell your home and enjoy the holidays simultaneously. Let your real estate agent worry about finding the perfect buyer. 

Do: Price Your Home to Sell

Selling a house during the holidays doesn’t mean you must compromise on the sale price. But that doesn’t mean you should overprice your home, or it will never sell. Of course, this advice is valid year-round, but it is crucial during the holiday season when fewer buyers are in the market. 

You can use online resources to get an idea of what your home is worth. This way, you have a baseline idea of what your asking price should be. Then, your real estate agent will offer their advice on the best price to set your home at based on current market conditions, neighborhood comps, and their expertise. 

Don’t: Forget to Keep Your Property Safe for Homebuyers 

In the warm Tampa climate, home sellers don’t need to worry about buyers slipping on ice or snow as they do in New York or Illinois. However, it’s still important to keep safety in mind when listing your home during the holidays. 

For example, you don’t want decorations cluttering the walkways, impacting accessibility. Should a potential buyer trip and fall over some ill-placed string lights, you likely won’t get a home sale from them, and you may also have a liability issue on your hands. 

Do: Take Advantage of Year-End Job Transfers

One of the top reasons to sell your home during the holidays is because the end of the year is when many people find out if they will receive a job transfer for the new year. People moving for work usually need to find a home faster than other buyers. 

This is a significant advantage of selling during the holiday season. You get access to buyers looking to close on a home promptly. Often, they will already have a lender’s pre-approval for a mortgage and be ready to go into escrow. 

Do: Consider End-of-Year Tax Breaks

Tax incentives could motivate some buyers to move during the holidays rather than waiting until the spring. This is because buyers can deduct the following costs from their tax filing if a sale closes on or before December 31: 

  • Loan interest costs 
  • Mortgage interest 
  • Property taxes 

But also, don’t forget these tax deductions when selling a home, such as capital gains exclusions and home repairs. End-of-the-year buyers could significantly reduce their tax bill by maximizing all the deductions the IRS offers. 

Not to mention, some buyers want to reduce their tax bills for years to come, which is why Florida has become an attractive place to live for many, especially those previously living in high-tax states like California. 

With lower tax rates and beautiful weather, buyers from cold, dreary states are more likely to consider moving to the Tampa area during the winter. 

Ready to Prepare for Selling Your Home During the Holidays? 

If you’re a Tampa first-time home buyer, bookmark this homebuyer education guide to help you through the home-buying process. When you’re ready to begin, search my listings and get in touch with me, Kimmie Fine, to learn more about buying your first home! 

As a prominent figure in the Tampa real estate with 19 years of experience in real estate sales, I know the market better than anyone. You don’t have to go through this process alone—let’s make this dream happen together.