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Surviving a Holiday Home Sale

A holiday home sale, typically taking place from November through January, is a daunting process during a very busy friends-and-family season. But truly, there are ways to mitigate the disruption if a sale is a must.

Attracting the ideal buyers with the best price point, perfect curb appeal, and attractive home staging are proven strategies to close a sale quickly, but in the meantime, how do you jump into survival mode and get through the process?

Keep these answers and suggestions in mind; they’ll save a bit of sanity:

Why are you selling?

Identifying the fundamental reasons for the holiday home sale grounds anyone drowning in open house chores. Reframing your attitude to see the big picture while imagining the future ahead are certainly motivating factors.

  • A PCS to a better or new job is exciting and could mean positive outcomes for the whole family.
  • With retirement straight ahead, starting the next chapters of your post military life in a new city or new home is rewarding.
  • If your small house no longer suits the needs of those who live there, the upgraded options are certainly attractive if it means more space or better amenities.
  • Your real estate agent may know your market well enough to forecast enthusiastic holiday season buyers. Perhaps he or she thinks it’s a great chance to get a deal made because holiday home shoppers are motivated and inventory is likely low.

You can control the inconveniences.

A strong relationship with your real estate agent is mandatory during an extra challenging time like holiday selling. Effective communication detailing your desires to stabilize the interruptions at your preferred level should be one of their top goals.

  • A savvy agent working for your best outcome knows the nuances of a holiday sale and tailors strategies to suit your needs.
  • Agents should offer creative solutions to keep the chaos to a minimum, such as: daily scheduled showings, blackout weeks, or specific dates that are off limits.
  • Create a checklist system that works for your household. Perhaps an all-hands-on-deck speed cleaning session every evening will get the job done.
  • It’s normal to travel for long stretches during the holidays. Take advantage of a clean house and hit the road. An experienced agent is able to handle any details you need taken care of while away.
  • If your pet cannot attend the vacation plans, find alternative care outside of the home. This eliminates the need for more pet hair cleanup and yet another person entering your house.

Keep in mind…

If you and your agent agree the house is in great shape and at the right price point but you’re not getting a solid offer, it’s time to gain more perspective, look to the future, and take some steps to ease the stress.  

  • Ultimately, if the holiday season ends without a sale, there are two more key timeframes ahead: the new year (new hires often begin after Christmas and New Year’s Day) and the approach of spring and the next cycle of traditional home selling.
  • Some transitioning people have the luxury of spending time in their home and choose not to move during the holiday season. But, they’ll be willing and more than motivated to start the year with a real estate transaction process.
  • Your real estate agent works for you. You don’t have to take calls or showings if you don’t want to. Understand that, however, they’re working to sell your house quickly. Don’t tie your agent’s hands with minimal access and expect an overabundance of offers.
  • Hotels are there for your escape. A couple nights’ getaway could do wonders for your state of mind. It doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive. Military installations have temporary lodging or hotels available, and many even accept pets.
  • Your family and friends should understand what a home sale entails. Take them up on offers to host holiday celebrations.  

Holiday decorating for a home sale.

One of the tricky parts of putting your home up for sale during the holidays is knowing the right amount of decorating to include. Either way, if it stresses you out to have/not have decorations, go with your gut.

  • Eliminating holiday decorations altogether removes two rounds of put up and take down messes. It also eliminates the need for two sets of pictures of the house. Although the online holiday photos will look great in November and December, it’s just another task to reload the regularly staged photos.
  • It’s detrimental to a future sale if a buyer scans the online photos in March and sees Thanksgiving turkey décor lying around. This means the house has been on the market a long time, and they’ll ask why.
  • If it pains your heart to spend a Christmas without a tree, by all means go ahead, but keep the whole décor ensemble simple and constrained. A house full of holiday gear makes the space seem small. Festive touches do make the house feel like a well-loved home, however. Cozy linens and a few stockings over the fireplace equal charm to buyers.

Military life doesn’t lend itself to many perfectly timed choices in real estate. If a holiday home sale has to be done, then prepare the house early and take the time to research an agent who is skilled in both working with military families and with selling property during the holiday months.

By Dawn M. Smith for MilitaryByOwner


  • MilitaryByOwner Advertising Inc

    In 1999, the owners of MilitaryByOwner Advertising, Inc, David, (USMC,Ret.) and Sharon Gran, were stationed in Germany faced with a move back to the states. This move triggered the idea of linking relocating military families. In 2000, MilitaryByOwner was launched. Our website offers advertisements of homes for sale or rent near US military bases. Our home advertisers connect with other families in need of living near a military base. Our business advertisers provide valuable resources to help make a PCS move a smooth one. For more information, please email We strive to provide superior customer service by being available for questions through our live chat online, email and office hours. The majority of our staff is either military spouses or dependents who can relate to the joy and stress of a military move. Don’t hesitate to contact us by phone, email or live chat!


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