The idea of staging and showing your home over the holidays perhaps has you less than enthused. One more thing to deal with during an already incredibly busy season, right? Besides, who’s looking at houses this time of year anyway? You might be surprised to learn that this can, in fact, be a great time of year to show your home. Anyone who is voluntarily subjecting themselves to a home purchase over these next couple of months is inclined to be someone serious about buying. Like a military family with a particularly difficult PCS window.
Potential buyers with a deadline, fewer homes on the market, and a magical time of year? These can all work to your advantage when you’ve got a home to sell during the holidays.
Make sure the basics are covered first. You’re likely already familiar with this “to-do” list for showing your house. Fix the broken things. Clean the dirty things. Get rid of the unnecessary things. And that’s all sound advice year-round. But once those tasks are taken care of, here are some tips unique to staging a home during the holidays.
Consider what puts you in a festive mood. Is it the smell of hot cider or cocoa? The sounds of holiday tunes playing in the background? Stockings on the mantle? Mistletoe over a doorway? That feeling you get when you sense those things is the feeling you want your home to give.
Don’t be a Scrooge. Perhaps you’re not feeling particularly festive. Or you’ve got complicated feelings about what may be your last holiday in your current home. If you’re unmotivated to decorate, don’t pass on the holiday cheer just yet. You can project a warm and inviting feel with even a few small touches around your home—a couple strings of lights, an apple spice candle, a simple wreath on your front door can all make it feel like a special time of year without requiring any major decorating effort on your part. For a potential military-connected buyer, who has no doubt spent his or her share of holidays celebrating with stockings in a motel room while living out of boxes mid-move, those small touches will have a big impact.
But don’t go overboard either. Those people who start decorating in October to get all ten thousand figurines in their yard in time for the holidays? Their houses are great to visit, but they aren’t the house a buyer wants to see when pulling into your driveway. If in doubt, think elegant, timeless, and classy rather than penguin family on a sled. Save that for the front yard of your next home.
Be mindful of diversity. Yes, it’s the holiday season. But it’s not a one holiday season. You want as many prospective buyers looking at your house as possible. And Christmas may not be the reason for the season for all of them. Choose more neutral trimmings over those with religious connotations. Clear lights, evergreens, etc. are flattering to all homes and unlikely to be off-putting to a potential buyer. Remember that staging your home for the holidays is more about what will be appealing to a buyer and less about what is meaningful and significant to you and your family.
Remember your goal. Your end goal is to sell your house. The trimmings and good tidings are a fun and beautiful part of the season that can also put your house in the best light. But at the end of the day, a potential buyer still wants all the things that buyers want—open spaces, nice lines, counter space, etc. Make sure that whatever additions you make in the name of decorating don’t conflict with that.
Involve your real estate agent. She has shown her share of houses. He knows what will make your home more appealing to a prospective buyer (and what to hide). She has a vast network of local vendors and businesses and likely her own supply of furniture, accessories, and decorations that can brighten up your space. Ask your agent to walk through your home and provide feedback about staging it to show its full potential. You won’t regret it.
Potential buyers want to imagine themselves and their families living in a house and creating their own special memories there. With the right touches, they’ll be picturing their first holiday season in their new home when they walk through your door.