Keeping Current Matters

National Association of Realtors

Monday, December 5, 2016

10 Tips For Decorating Your Home For Sale During The Holidays

If you're planning to put your home up for sale during the holidays, you have a lot of things to consider - most importantly, how to price it right to attract buyers during this busy time of year. But home staging is always a concern when selling a home, and during the holidays, it becomes even more important.

"Although the holiday season can be a hectic time for showing and selling your home, there is a major advantage to  staging and showing your home at this time of year: You have a chance to show your home at its very best, adorned with warmth and cheer that's sure to charm," said

Indeed, the good news is that tasteful holiday d├ęcor can enhance a home and make it feel inviting. They bad news: Your collection of one-hundred-plus holiday snow globes may have to take a hiatus this year. "You want them to be impressed with your house, not distracted by decorations," said Houzz. "So keep it simple this year. If minimizing the ‘ho ho ho' cramps your style, just remind yourself that you can go all-out next year in your new home."

Follow these tips to hit all the right notes when staging a home for sale during the holidays.

1. Remember the curb appeal

You might like the idea of being the neighborhood spectacle, with every inch of the lawn covered in dazzling displays, but that might have to wait until after you move.

"Step away from the inflatable snowman, Clark Griswold," said HGTV. "One man's ‘merry' is another man's ‘tacky,' so tone down any garish light displays while your home is on the market. (No, your neighbors didn't pay us to say that.) Instead, use simple string lighting to play up your home's architecture or draw attention to the gorgeous fir tree in your front yard.

2. Don't overdo the indoors either

You don't ever want so much holiday decor out that people can't see the bones of your house. If you've covered up your countertops and every other surface, you've probably gone slightly too far.

3. Declutter before you design

Decluttering is the No. 1 tip for staging your home for sale at any time of the year. When you know you're about to layer on a whole bunch of accessories and bring in an actual tree to the home (real or otherwise), paring down is even more critical. "If your living room is already piled high with clutter, your ceramic reindeer collection is only going to add to the sense of overcrowding," said HGTV.

4. Make your fireplace shine

Your fireplace mantle is always a favorite place to decorate for the holidays, and drawing attention to this important focal point is just plain smart at the holidays. Drape some holly intertwined with white lights, create a display of pine cones and candles and you're good to go.

5. Be sensitive to different cultures

While pretty much everyone can appreciate pretty holiday lights, an abundance of religious imagery might turn off some of your potential buyers - especially if you're in an area with a multitude of cultures.

6. Mind your colors

A home that's decorated in Earth tones may be able to handle a bright red-and-green Christmas display, but what if you've recently painted your living room navy blue? Complementary colors can make all the difference in creating a soothing and special design.

7. Make your holiday decorations fit the style of the home

You'll also want to take a good look at the style of your holiday decorations. They may reflect a couple of decades of family traditions that are special to you, but if they don't match your home's style, potential buyers may not receive them so warmly. "If you have a modern home, consider tasteful modern holiday decorations," said Parade. "Selling your home at the beach? Your decorations should reflect this vibe."

8. Smell your way to a sale

Holiday scents are enticing. Put them to work for you when selling your home this season. Just remember to "use them judiciously and avoid the cloying and artificial," said Houzz. "Try a nice basket of scented pinecones, simmer cinnamon on the stovetop or simply allow the subtle and fresh smell of a fir wreath to tantalize and mesmerize."

And don't forget to pay attention to any existing odors in your home. "No matter how many cookies you bake, nothing will hide the smell of kitty litter or wet dog. Deep clean and then use scent to enhance the cozy vibe."

9. Pay attention to scale

You may not even have noticed that the artificial tree you use every year is way too big for the room, or it may not bother you that it's so tall it hits the ceiling. But a buyer will notice. If the tree is either too large or too tall for the space, it could make the room feel tight. Investing a few bucks in a smaller tree that's more appropriate for the space could pay off big in the end.

10. Skip the big holiday greeting card display

It may be a tradition in your house, but those cards can get in the way when buyers are trying to make a connection with your home. "They become like family photos - another distraction that prevents buyers from ‘seeing' themselves living in your house," said Parade. If you just can't give up the display, make it moveable so you can put it away or take it out of the area during showings.

Written by Jaymi Naciri

Nancy M. Alexander Stone Harbor and Avalon NJ Real Estate, Long & Foster Avalon