After Halloween, showings of homes generally drop off and don’t pick up again until after the New Year. But, there is good news if your home is on the market over the holidays. Buyers out looking over the holidays are serious buyers who need to buy and limited inventory actually makes it a great time to be a seller.
If your home is on the market this holiday season, just make sure your holiday decor helps you instead of hurts. Serious buyers won’t be impressed if it looks like Clark Griswold decorated your home. Don’t spent too much time decorating, but don’t be afraid to get into the spirit of the season either. Your family’s traditions are a part of what make your house a home, after all, and it’s okay for buyers to see that. Just be careful. Here are some tips to keep holiday decor appropriate for selling…
Reevaluate what you need. You don’t want to move things you will never use, especially if you plan to downsize. Use the holidays as an excuse to begin the process of thinning out. As you unpack your holiday decor, ask yourself whether you need it, like it, and will use it. If not, consider listing it on Craigslist right now. Not even Goodwill will take you holiday decor once the season has passed.
Follow the calendar. As disconcerting as it is to see retailers putting out Christmas decor before Halloween, holiday decor left lingering too long can suggest to a buyer that your home has not always been maintained in a prompt manner. So, be prepared to spend the first week of the new year packing up all that carefully placed holiday decor. And, of course, ask your agent to change out your home’s listing photos if they included holiday decor.
Remember curb appeal. Remember how important first impressions are. Keep it consistent with one type of lighting instead of having several different options fighting with each other and make sure any eaves or gables you line with lights are straight. Drooping lights can be distracting. The number one rule with outdoor lighting, though, is to keep is simple. Really, a few simple white icicle lights, pretty wreath, and holiday welcome mat are enough.Keep the giant plastic Santa and his reindeer in storage for your new place next year. What you find fun can actually be off-putting and distracting to potential buyers. The goal is still to get them inside the house, so make it inviting by keeping it simple. Same goes for your entryway. Motion activated music & lights and an army of nutcrackers is not very inviting when a potential buyer opens the front door for the first time. Make them feel at home, not part of the Nutcracker cast.
Keep it in scale. If you’re putting up a tree, take a good hard look at the room it’s going in. A tree scraping the ceiling and blocking all the natural light of the windows isn’t going to suggest a very spacious or livable home to a buyer. Choose an uncluttered space to display your tree. Keep traffic flow and ease of movement in mind. It may be this year you have to make due with a table top tree if that’s what really suits your space better.
Keep it simple. Ever notice how classically elegant ladies like Grace Kelly or Jackie O kept their accessories to a minimum with just a few gorgeous pieces? When it comes to accessorizing, it’s always better to make a statement with a large piece than to have several small pieces filling the same space. Tis applies to your home as well. Large presentations of nutcrackers, angels, snowmen, or holiday villages will overwhelm a buyer’s eye and distract them from really looking at your home. Try just a few generic winter accessories like candles or holiday garlands and pine cones instead.
Don’t overdue it. Limit the areas you decorate. Focus your attention where decorations will actually add to a festive feeling. Keep religious items at a minimum. It’s inevitable that religious decor enters into Christmas decorating. However, it’s best to avoid when staging your home for sale. Same goes for personalized decor. Don’t isolate potential buyers with cluttered images of other people’s puppies and babies. You want them to imagine themselves in your home. So keep it neutral. Opt for simple greenery, winter themed decorations, and candles instead.
Let buyers see what they are buying. Take it easy on decorating your home’s features. The fireplace is a prime example. A little greenery and sparkly candle can be just enough sparkle and cheer to make the room cozy, but don’t block that gorgeous marble surround with stockings or clutter the mantle with Christmas cards.
Set the mood by setting the table. Holiday time is party time. So go ahead and set out your best dishes, most festive napkins, get a lovely centerpiece, and set the dining room table. Make buyers want to come back for the fun times your home represents. The holidays are a great way to show off how well your home can entertain and host guests.
Here’s the final message, home sellers — Go ahead and decorate! You can enjoy the holidays while your home is on the market. Just remember a few key rules — follow the calendar, moderation, and tasteful touches. May the holidays bring you a successful sale and the new year a new home!