Contrary to popular wisdom…now is the time to buy or sell a house. A conversation with my favorite realtor, Sonja Matson, confirms this is myth.
I first met Miss Sonja at Cotillion. I know—another Cotillion girl. Squee. I was the manners teacher and she breezed in with her beautiful daughter Hillary, who is now a senior at USC studying psychology and marketing. Her impeccable dress, southern manners and charm spelled friend of mine right away.
Fast forward to today and, as the kids have flown the coop, she’s in real estate. She works valley-wide but Scottsdale and Paradise Valley are her specialty. It’s a perfect match for her given her style, interior design sense and love of all things lovely. And, yes, her home is to die for. You knew it didn’t you?
This Southern Belle grew up in the Carolinas and met her husband while she was in law school and he was in med school. They moved to Phoenix, babes in tow. In addition to Hillary, there’s Andrew, 25, a recent USC Law School grad who is an attorney in the Division of Legal Compliance for The Trojan Athletic Department and Austin, 24, studying aviation at SCC. Hashtag Proud Mama, non?
This night, as we sip tea at the Starbucks between our condos, she is nostalgic for the holidays of her childhood. “I love holidays in the South. Sometimes there would be a dusting of snow and our house always smelled of cinnamon and sugar cake.” She carries those memories when she searches for client homes.
“I love when a client finds their dream home. You can see it on their face.”
Another bonus? Those law school skills make her the perfect candidate to negotiate the deal, buyer or seller. No contract nonsense gets past her legal brain. But our initial conversation is about whether it’s a good time to buy or sell during the holidays.
“People are looking. Many companies make hiring decisions for the start of the New Year so there are buyers out there. The advantage is people believe it’s a down time so inventory is low, a seller’s advantage.
She agrees to some advice for sellers. Depersonalize. Put away photos and mementos so people can see themselves in your home. In closets, be able to put a finger between hangars. That way buyers perceive closets as big. Smooshed clothes trick buyers into believing closets are small regardless of size. Make your space welcoming and spacious. Spruce up the front door and entry—how about a poinsettia?
Her top tip? Make sure your home smells good. Don’t have fish for dinner the night before a showing. Light candles. Her recommendation? Trapp No. 4, Orange Vanilla. It can be had on Amazon. The orange scent appeals to female buyers and the vanilla to males. Who knew? Put a small votive in each bathroom, one in the kitchen and one at the entry. Fresh flowers are also a plus.
Is there still time to list your home or go holiday house hunting? She laughs. “Tell them to call. The cake’s on me!” Sonja’s with Berkshire Hathaway, 602-214-6653.