8 Decorating Tips for Home Sellers During the Holidays

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I recently received a question from a seller client whose house is currently on the market. She asked if she could decorate their home during the holidays. This is a great question because your personal holiday decor will affect the way a buyer reacts during a showing. If they are looking during the holidays they are serious buyers, so the recommendations I make for staging a home during the rest of the year still apply. I love holiday décor and friends that have been to my home know that I probably go a little overboard. But when selling your home, I have some holiday staging tips to ensure you don’t offend or turn away buyers but can still enjoy the seasonal décor. Buyers expect to see some holiday décor, but the question is what kind of decorations?

1. Before You Decorate for the Holidays, Stage Your Home and get photos taken: If you already have too much furniture, knick-knacks and clutter. Holiday décor will just add to the overcrowded feeling. Have your home professionally prepared “staged” to attract buyers and make sure your professional photos are taken without the holiday décor!

2. Curb Appeal is Still Important! – Simplicity is best! Simple garland, lighting and wreaths vs the blow-up Snowman and plastic reindeer on the roof is recommended.

3. Don’t Over Do It! Too many decorations can easy become clutter. So it is best to go with a few colorful, simple decorations. The saying in staging goes “You want buyers looking at your house, not your stuff/clutter”. You don’t want buyers looking at your holiday decor, you want them looking at your home! Use the staging rule of “3”. Put out 3 Santa’s instead of the entire collection.

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4. Complement your palette. Make sure your holiday décor matches your current color palate. If your living room is painted a soothing ocean-blue hue, skip the clashing red garland and opt for a white and silver theme. If you’ve got an earthy color scheme, accent with rich tones like cranberries, forest greens and gold.

5. Accentuate the positive. The right accessories can draw attention to your home’s best features. Frame your fireplace in fresh garland and make sure you have a fire crackling, or display a small holiday arrangement on the ledge of a bay window; just don’t block a beautiful view with stick-on snowflake decals or clutter an elegant fireplace with personalized stockings.

6. Mind the tree. A tall Christmas tree can help you show off your two-story great room, but make sure the wide base won’t overwhelm the floor space. If your living area is on the small side, save space with a skinny tree. Swap the “fancy” heirloom ornaments and trim your tree in a cohesive theme such as white lights and silver balls, for example, or blue and gold glass balls. Keep presents stored until the big day!

7. Keep It Neutral and Natural. Keep decorations neutral. Religious decorations might make some buyers uncomfortable. You want to appeal to everyone. Natural garland, wreaths, berries etc. are subtle and sophisticated yet won’t offend a buyer.

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8. Make a Holiday Treat. During an open house or to leave out during a showing, serving a special holiday treat will make your home smell great and be a big hit with buyers.

Remember this sacrifice is only for one year. With a little luck, you’ll be celebrating next year’s holidays in a new home. And you can decorate that place any way you please.