7 Holiday Decorating Tips if Your House is for Sale

I stopped in a drugstore earlier and on my way out I had to walk through an area that was deluged with holiday items.  I then proceeded down an aisle that was squeezing me with all the red and green paraphernalia combined with a some very strong scents.  Phew!  I couldn’t find the door fast enough.

I remarked to the cashier as I left saying, ’Looks …  and smells … like you’re ready for the holidays’ and she remarked, ‘ this is only the beginning’. What?  Where will I walk the next time I stop in?  Better bring a clothespin for my nose as well.

The experience made me think of a house I had shown a few years ago that was FULL of Christmas items.

On the exterior, there were mismatched icicles all around, trees lit, and a bunch of random blowup carnival-looking characters grouped on the front lawn.  One had clearly expired. It didn’t look as overdone as the Christmas Vacation movie, but it was distracting nonetheless.

The interior had multiple santas, trees, things that made sounds (actually danced) as you walked past, and well, I am sad to say, a lot of Christmas “chachkies” on display.

Don’t get me wrong.  I LOVE Christmas, but there is a time and place for everything and decorating your house that is for sale with a little too much spirit is distracting to say the least.

Remember that buyers looking at houses during the holidays are generally ready to buy. I placed an offer on my current home on December 8 and was in contract before Christmas. So I am living proof that buyers DO buy during the holidays.

So, if your home will be on the market in the coming weeks and you like to decorate it, by all means keep your ‘sprucing up’ to a minimum and for enhancement purposes only.

Here are some holiday decorating tips if your house is for sale:

  1. Remember how your agent badgered you to de-clutter your house before you listed?  Don’t re-clutter it  with lots of decorations and dancing santas.
  2. If you historically put up a huge tree, think about downsizing a bit.  While a tree can add appeal to a room, it shouldn’t take up too much space and should be in an out-of-the-way corner.  Remove a piece of furniture or two if you have to in order to compensate for the space the tree is occupying.  Leave the buyer some ‘room’ to envision living in that space.
  3. If you like to display gifts under the tree, now is not a good time to do that.  Tuck them away securely and enjoy them on your holiday.
  4. Keep outside lighting and any seasonal wreaths, sprays, bows, to a minimum remembering that the exterior can generate that cluttered…and unappealing….look as well.  Maybe just use a front door wreath with a soft spotlight and some candles in the windows.  Understated yet inviting.
  5.  Invest in some flameless battery operated candles and place them strategically around the house to create a warm, cozy feeling.  Maybe use in a festive centerpiece, fireplace mantle, or even in the bathroom.  The ambient glow will convey a nice, homey appeal.
  6. If you have a fireplace, you might consider getting a fireplace candelabra and lighting that up with battery operated candles to show off the fireplace, set the stage and help the buyers imagine themselves using that room and fireplace.
  7. Be careful with using scents. Whether it’s potpourri or maybe lighting a scented bayberry candle to make the house smell good (to you but maybe not to someone else)  before showings….. just leave it for another time.

Prepare your home for sale AND the holidays by strategically enhancing its appearance and ambiance with tasteful, minimal holiday decorations.

By doing so, you just might be on your way to getting something special in your Christmas stocking and some GREEN in your bank account!