Should you decorate your home during the holidays when you are on the market? Absolutely! Buyers are feeling very cheerful around this time of year and a cheerful home will stick favorably in Buyers’ minds. Buying a home is usually very emotionally driven. A home is typically the most important purchase a family or individual can make, and its a decision that takes the family traditions into account. So take advantage of the opportunity to show that your home has what buyers want: Happy Family Memories in the making. Classy, warm and traditional is the mantra and don’t forget it! Here are 5 things you need to remember when preparing your home for holiday home viewers:
- Go easy on lawn and exterior displays: Too many lights, inflatables, over the top decorations: these are NO-NO-No’s! Remember that Buyers decide which homes they want to see by driving by and looking at online photos. First impressions are everything, and the impression you want to lead with is one of elegance and class. You might love your 10 foot inflatable Grinch or life-sized electric carousel, but many buyers find it busy and distracting at best and tacky at worst. Better to err on the side of minimal good taste and add traditional touches like natural garland, white lights and single color bows, red or gold or white (not red, gold and white).
- Faith Neutral decor: For most people, the holidays are a celebration of faith. However, there are many different religions, denominations, sub-sects and groups including non-believers. And a member of any one of them may be the buyer for your home. You don’t want to risk offending any of them. Homes can hold a certain spirituality for a family, and buying a home that was owned by a family of different, mis-understood or even competing denominations, can be dis-comforting. The one thing all people embrace is family winter celebration. So decorate with symbols and colors of the season, such as natural evergreen garland, pine cones, nutcrackers, gift boxes, pointsettias and other plants, christmas trees with general ornaments, wreaths, gingerbread houses, and bells. Avoid religious objects such as nativity scenes, dreidles, and crucifixes, etc.
- Accessorize to accentuate your home’s features: Got a fireplace? Call attention to it’s coziness and holiday importance by decorating it with garland, ornaments, candles, etc. A word of caution though: stockings can distract, so go easy with them. Use only 1 or 2 very elegant stockings hung in one corner of the fireplace to add to, not block the view of the fireplace. Great counter tops? Add a festive bowl of fruit, ornaments or fragrant pine cones or potpourri. Beautiful spa bathroom? Decorate with seasonal towels, candles and soaps.
- Be extremely mindful of the size and scale of your christmas tree. A very large tree can make a room look really small. Make sure the base of the tree leaves at least an 18-in perimeter between the tree and the furniture. Ideally you’ll want to see floor and wall space around the tree, which extends the size of the room in a Buyer’s view, making it seem larger. Decorate with simple but elegant ornaments. If the tree is too individualistic, it can distract from the qualities of the room. So leave the personalized ornaments in the box this year.
- Make Buyers remember your home favorably when they leave: And lastly, give your Buyers and Buyer’s agents a treat. In the kitchen or foyer entrance, leave a holiday treat and a note thanking them for viewing your home. Simple treats like holiday candies or cookies on a decorative plate with a note that says “thanks for viewing”. Light candles, plug-in air fresheners etc. to give your home a warm, festive holiday scent. Consider scents such as Glade “Peace”, that smells like christmas trees and snow or Air Wick’s “Enchanted Holiday Snowfall”. My favorite is Aromatique’s “snowy evergreen”. Don’t overpower, you don’t want Buyer’s to have to go outside for air. Instrumental holiday music can also add to the “good holiday cheer” ambiance to your home.
- Update MLS, online and flier photos: Make sure your Realtor is updating the photos of your home regularly, especially if it’s been on the market a while. New photos make the listing feel new to agents and buyers viewing the home online. It also highlights that your home is a good buy any time of the year, especially at the holidays. Of course if you don’t sell by mid-January, you’ll want to update the photos again. MLS and online photos should be changed every 90 days regardless.