Staging Your Home to Sell During the Holidays ~ Tips ~ Tricks and A Few Mistakes to Avoid
With only a couple weeks to Thanksgiving and eight weeks until Christmas it’s time for those who have decided that this is the time to sell, either through necessity or simply because the timing is right for you, to begin thinking about how your house will look during the holidays.
Even though everyone is telling you, do not put your home up for sale during the holidays take heart and look on the bright side – there is less competition and anyone who needs to buy now is probably more motivated.
If you are going to have your home up for sale from November through December here are a few tips ~ tricks and some mistakes, not to make.
Tip ~ Take pictures prior to decorating if possible. Most people start their search on the internet and you want some high quality pictures showing off your home looking its unadorned best. Also pictures including holiday décor creates a date stamp making a buyer looking for a home after the holidays clearly aware that your home has not sold quickly and has been on the market a while.
Tip ~ Make small vignettes of holiday décor in place of spreading it out over an entire area. Three items placed in two or three places will look a lot less cluttered than a bunch of pieces spread throughout an entire room.
Tip ~ Leave the overtly religious symbols in storage. This is your call entirely but small touches like a nativity scene or a menorah are usually not problematic but some buyers can be turned off by religions different then their own and to broaden the spectrum of buyers keep this in mind when putting out your decorations.
Trick ~ Use this opportunity to create a warm and inviting environment. Place some cider in the crock pot and set out a few mugs and cookies for your visitors. People feel right at home with a warm mug in their hands, the smell from the cider will make your home smell amazing. Light a fire in the fireplace, if you have one and turn up the heat.
The more at home someone feels the longer they linger in your home, it begins to feel like home increasing the chances that they will remember it long after they leave.
Trick ~ use holiday décor to draw attention to your home’s best features. Greenery on the bannister and beautiful accessories on the mantle bring attention and highlight the area, just be careful that your decorations do not block the view or draw attention to areas that are not good features for selling.
Now onto the mistakes…
Mistake ~ Not Decorating. Nothing says Scrooge faster than a home devoid of holiday décor. At the very least your home should have some touches of a festive winter nature sprinkled throughout.
The optimum words are sprinkled and of a festive nature.
Sprinkled because you need to refrain from every surface being covered with holiday. The rules of staging still apply: surfaces free of clutter and distractions kept to a minimum. Think about what people are buying: the walls, countertops and cabinets and if they are covered in holiday “stuff” they can’t see the space and may think that the house is too small when in reality there is space it’s just not visible.
And then there is the nature part of the equation. It is always better to bring decorations in from nature like pinecones, pine wreaths, greenery and cinnamon sticks.
Forgo the traditional holiday colors replacing them with more neutral and natural selections like earthy green, browns, beiges and choosing metallic colors of gold, silver and bronze.
If you put up a tree make certain that you have plenty of open space to walk and move around. A large tree takes up valuable space, buyers are more concerned about their furniture fitting and need to see room. Buy a small potted tree, place it in a basket and adorn it with white lights and maybe some bows and leave the large tree in the box this year.
Also forget the multi-color flashing lights, replacing them with white non-blinking lights creates a clean, less distracting and elegant appearance.
Mistake ~ Making the exterior look like a scene from the Griswold’s Christmas Vacation. Simple and elegant is the look we are going for. Using nature again with a pine wreath and a simple bow on the front door says welcome without going overboard.
Leave the plastic Santa and reindeer off the roof and no need to save the milk jugs for walkway luminaries this year. In their place add white twinkle lights on bushes and trees.
Keep in mind that lights strung on bare bushes creates ambiance at night but people will be viewing your home during the day when those wires will all be visible so keep the number of strings to a reasonable amount as well as doing your best to keep electrical cords criss-crossing the yard to a minimum.
The goal is to keep their focus on an entry that is clean, clear of trips hazards and a warm welcome in anticipation of a beautiful home lying right inside those doors.
Mistake ~ Not being ready to accommodating buyers. If you have chosen to have your home for sale during the holidays be prepared to be flexible about showings and vigilant on keeping the house neat and clean at all times. Of course you can turn down a showing if the timing coincides with your family get together but you have chosen to sell at this time of year. Your Realtor has committed to doing everything possible to get your home sold and that may require additional flexibility on your part.
Mistake ~ Not listening to your Realtor. Seasoned Realtors have sold at every time of year and know how to best market your home. We lived on a street dubbed Candy Cane Lane during the holidays. Known for its charitable work to collect funds for the local children’s hospital with Santa and his elves making a nightly appearance it was an amazing place to visit but would be immediately apparent to buyers that for over a month living there would be a nightmare scenario of cars backed up for miles. It would not have been the time to have a home for sale and our Realtor pointed out as much.
On the other end of the spectrum is the fact that you will need to find an agent who is willing to go above and beyond and will not disappear if the time of a showing or weather is not perfect.
Mistake ~ Refusing to take personal and property safety seriously. Safety is a big issue all year long and even more so at the holidays. Gifts laying under a tree are an invitation for a thief. Unsavory types are smart and an open house is an invitation to canvas homes during the holidays and you do not want uninvited guests visiting and ruining the holidays.
After an open house or showing they now know the layout of your home as well as where the Christmas bounty is located. Always place gifts out of sight and if possible completely out of the home. Check windows are locked after showings and don’t leave keys hanging on hooks by the back door. Safety is so important remember there will be strangers in your home so be aware and always error on the side of caution by locking up important papers, prescription medications, valuables and of course gifts.
I hope this has helped you a bit in making informed choices for selling during the holidays!
If you need more help staging check out my virtual class DIY Staging to Sell Classes which will walk you through staging your home to sell for the most money, quickly!
Blessings for a safe and successful home sale!