This holiday season, Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles stars David Parnes and James Harris have a very important client: the Gingerbread Man. The real estate duo partnered up with online real estate destination Trulia to find a new home for their sweet customer (dubbed Ginger Fred) and his expanding family.
Here, Parnes and Harris share why winter is the best time of the year to buy a new home (hint: there’s less competition) and how, like Ginger Fred, you too can find the perfect place that’s anything but cookie cutter.
Why is buying a home during the holiday and winter season ideal? James Harris: Firstly, sellers are in a more unique position where they may take less for their house. Some people want to sell by the first of the year for tax reasons, and a lot of agents and their assistants typically shut down for the holidays. It’s a unique time for us as agents to take advantage of the market.
What are your tips on shopping for and selling a home during the winter? David Parnes: I think the best thing about the Christmas and winter period is that if you’re a buyer, the sellers are serious. If you’re a seller, the buyers are serious. So each side should be looking to do a nice, good, quick deal and make it happen. JH: Always de-personalize and de-clutter your house. If you have a chance to put a Christmas tree up and lights around the house, that’s always nice. Make it cozy and warm, and create that seasonal feeling that a buyer is looking for at this time of the year.
What is your idea of a non-cookie cutter home? DP: Cookie cutter houses are typically in a flat [area]. You’re basically in a grid system. The less cookie cutter deals would be the ones where the slope is different. For example, every lot in the hills is rather unique as far as how high it is, what kind of views they have, what kind of shapes they are, and how much of the lot is flat. Where there is more hill, they are less cookie cutter.
What’s trending in LA real estate right now? JH: The main trend I would say is modern contemporary and architectural.
What are some things sellers can do to increase the value of their home? DP: De-cluttering is always the best thing to do. Take away personal stuff like photos, because when someone comes to your house as a buyer they want to see it as neutral as possible. Paint the walls white and—if you can afford it—stage it. It makes a big difference.