It’s that time of year when Thanksgiving quickly turns into Christmas and some of us have leftover decorations from fall on our dining table while we have partially clad Christmas trees in the family room. How do you make the transition to capture family traditions, prepare for holiday parties and family times while at the same time trying to keep your house “ready” for any potential buyers?
Many people believe that the holiday season causes the housing market to decline November through January. Actually, buying and selling property stays just as busy as the holidays themselves during these months. Buyers aren’t steered away from looking at homes during the holiday season. Many buyers are ready to purchase and close by year-end for tax purposes and homestead exemption. Sellers, on the other hand, may be ha bit more hesitant, dreading the call “to show “with holiday décor strung all over the house.
A tastefully decorated home during the Christmas season can be inviting and glow with holiday cheer making a good first impression. However, the thought of showing your home during the holidays can present a few stresses. A seller who has staged their home and planned their holiday decor, can avoid that mad dash to hide the excess holiday decorations when the “showing call” comes. Following a few simple basic tips for selling your home during the holidays can help alleviate anxiety and lead to an enjoyable and rewarding experience for both buyer and seller.
- Clean and Stage before decorating: Begin by cleaning, de-cluttering, and staging your home before decorating for the holidays. Christmas décor should not compete but rather compliment your home décor. Clear out the collections, clutter and personal items to streamline and make room for added Christmas decorations. Holiday décor may be a bit overwhelming if cleaning and staging hasn’t been done first. Here is an example of what NOT to do when selling your home during the holidays.
- Don’t miss Christmas: A seller may want to skip decorating altogether when their home is listed for sell, but don’t let the selling process keep you from the festive spirit and family traditions of the holidays. Keep it simple. Don’t unpack all the holiday decorations; after all you’re getting ready to move.
A few well-placed subtle touches of Christmas décor will be enough to reflect the feeling of a warm cozy home. When it’s time for a showing, try diffusing soft aromatic hints of the season, such as, the smells of fresh cider or pine.
- Lights: Go lightly on the lights inside and out. A soft glow is pleasant and soothing but it may be difficult for a buyer to image living in the flashing neon LED world of too many lights. If you are going to string lights, they should enhance and compliment the décor and structure of the home, not distract.
- Compliment your home décor: Compliment your existing color scheme when you decorate for the holidays. For example, if your decorations are primarily red and green and a tad country but your room has a casual coastal look, opt for a few new classy decorations that compliment the colors and style of the room. Leave the decorations that clash packed away. Holiday décor should reflect the continuity and flow of your home, so the buyer is not distracted by too many color and style variations. Here is a sample of a “Coastal Christmas” décor that may fit into your home.
- Oh Christmas Tree: The size of your tree can accent or overwhelm and minimize your space. A ten-foot tree can be a focal feature in a large room with a fourteen-foot ceiling, but when the size of the tree is inappropriate for the room, it can feel crowded and much smaller than it actually is. You want the buyer to remember the features, size and architecture of the rooms not focus on the impression the tree made.
- Stay neutral: Remember the goal is for the buyer to feel this could be their next home. We all have the children’s hand made items and personal collections and photos we’ve saved throughout the years that we display. Though personal memorabilia are meaningful to the homeowner, the focus should be for the buyer to see the features of the home. Too many personal items on display can make a buyer feel like they’ve crashed your Christmas party rather seeing the possibility of having their own Christmas events there in the future.\
- What’s in your yard: Is that 12 reindeer I see on the roof and a 14 foot snowman in the yard? If so, Dancer and Prancer need to fly away. Items on the roof give a buyer reason to wonder what damage may have been done to the roof in putting up the display. Also, the inflatables that lie flat throughout the day do not leave a great first impression. Be discrete with yard inflatables and yard ornaments. What may seem like a little to you may cause a buyer to pass on viewing the inside after a drive by look. Buyers need to see the home features not a theme park display. However, don’t be the only house on the street without a holiday festive spirit if the rest of the neighborhood decorates. Just remember “the less is more” theory when selling.
- Take Caution: Use caution and discretion when placing gifts under the tree. Gifts beautifully wrapped under a tree are a nice touch, but unfortunately they can also be a temptation. Also, refrain from placing money or gift card envelopes on the tree. Put away anything that is valuable or leaves clues for identity theft.
The beautiful sights, decorations, and smells of the holidays can bring nostalgia and wonderful memories. The goal when selling your home is for the buyer to have pleasant memories of your tastefully decorated home and view it as one where they would want to spend their next Christmas.
If you’re in question about what holiday staging should consist of, call Inspiring Homes Staging & Redesign. A Professional Home Stager can help you simplify, style, and streamline your holiday home décor for the best first impression of the season.
Written for Action Realty, LLC by Lydia Goode for Michele Carpenter at Inspiring Homes Staging & Redesign