Holiday Decorating – Home Seller Beware

After decorating my front yard this past weekend as a scary cemetery complete with ghosts and ghouls for Halloween, it made me wonder what’s best for home sellers to do during the holidays, decorate or not?

Sometimes it’s hard enough to get sellers to agree to remove certain objects or tone down accessories in their home or front lawn. So, when it comes time to decorate for Halloween, display pilgrims and turkeys, set-up the menorah or Christmas lights and trees, what are stagers or even Realtors to do to make sure the home still appeals to buyers?

It’s hard to imagine buyers receiving a good vibe on a home if they’re walking up to the door surrounded by a makeshift cemetery. Plus, they may get distracted with the holiday d├ęcor and overlook the curb appeal. While Halloween and Thanksgiving are celebrated by most, Hanukkah and Christmas are religious holidays that buyers could discriminate against. So, it’s important for sellers to target buyers based on your neighborhood. If your neighborhood is festive during Christmas then a buyer would expect Christmas decorations at your home, on the other hand, if you live in a “politically correct” neighborhood with a mix of religious beliefs use more generic decorations to promote Season’s Greetings rather than your specific holiday.

While it’s easier to take your home off the market during this time of year, many sellers can’t afford to lose those months. Keeping your home on the market can be beneficial there is usually less inventory and those looking to buy are serious, but it may be hard to schedule appointments and many agents take time off then. If you do plan to keep that for sale sign up make sure you keep your decorations to a minimum.

Exterior Decorating

Keep the tinsel, garland and most of those blow-up characters in storage. The entrance should be simple. Use more natural elements: For fall add pumpkins, stacks of hay, cornstalks and don’t forget to plant some mums (you can also prepare the home for spring now by planting daffodils and tulips). For winter group poinsettias and use evergreens to create floral arrangements. Door wreaths welcome all to your home and set the stage for celebrating. Use holiday colors that blend in with and dress up your home’s exterior colors. Attach tree branches from your garden, gourds or flowers, and ribbons. Use a few strands of white lights for elegance or keep to a color scheme, forget about the multi-color strands this year. Most importantly, refrain from objects attributable to specific religions.

Scene Stealers Inside

During staging it’s important to make focal points stand out so don’t block or cover up fireplaces, stairs, and stained-glass windows those features that sell. Rooms filled with decorations can feel smaller and stops the buyer’s eyes from visualizing themselves in the space. Choose specific areas to stage with festive themes. You want buyers to see themselves celebrating their holidays in your house. To do this you want to create a simple, clean, cozy space with your decorations. Set your formal dining room for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. Bring in a Christmas tree making sure it’s not oversized. Again use natural elements to bring in texture and interest like an evergreen garland or pine cone centerpiece. Color is also important to keep in mind keep within a color scheme. Red is not only the color of Christmas, but it’s an emotionally appealing color that you are able to use in the space.

Don’t forget to think about what the holidays mean to you then incorporate that into your vignettes. Do you love decorating the tree? Creating a Gingerbread House? Making Apple Cider? Christmas Morning? Family Dinners? Or Sitting by the Fire? Create those imagines for buyers. Play into Using the Five Sense to make them feel at home.

And just because you may not be able to decorate as you would in the past, you can still celebrate those traditions, take part in holiday activities and get in the festive mood through ‘buyer’s eyes,’ it’s a spirit that may result in selling your home.