Home Staging During the Holiday Season

I have heard many things said about the holiday season throughout the years, but you definitely don’t hear anyone say “Isn’t it a great time to move?”.

After Halloween, showings of homes generally drop to a low and don’t pick up again until after the New Year. The good news, however, is that the sellers at this time of year are selling because they need to sell, and the buyers are out looking because they need to buy. So, you can be assured that everyone selling their home or looking for a new one is serious and you will not waste your time with casual shoppers.

If your home is one of those on the market right now, you need to make sure that your holiday decor helps you sell instead of hurting you.

Holiday decor has always been one of my decorating passions, but it is also very painful for me to look at when I see it done wrong.

Of course decorating is very personal, but I can remember some large outdoor multi-colored lights on indoor Christmas trees, and then to decorate it with awful strands of static-cling tinsel that got tracked all over our house. Every neighborhood always has the local “eyesore” that everyone cringes at. Each year, some homeowner will inevitably add to his crazy display of reindeer, snowmen, blow up objects, and top it with a menagerie of mis-matched lights including the white light landscape nets, the large multi-colored carnival looking lights, and the “chasing lights” that make you dizzy!

Today the reality is that tacky holiday homes can be found pretty much anywhere, and other people love to be critical of them! If your home is on the market now, you need to be especially careful not to fall into the tacky category and turn off a potential buyer. You shouldn’t put in too much extra time and effort to decorate, but you don’t want to look like the Grinch house either. If you have young children at home, you will still want to keep with the holiday spirit to see the excitement on their faces.

Here are some tips to keep holiday decor appropriate for selling, with do’s and don’ts to keep things classy in general. . .

Exterior Lights

White lights are by far the safest way to go and if in doubt and are also the most elegant. If you line your eaves and roofline, try to hang the strands straight and even instead of unevenly attached so that they blow in the wind.  Small white lights in the landscaping always look beautiful with the exception of the “nets” of lights which never look right.

Tasteful displays of white, green, and red lights in trees and bushes also look great but whatever your style is, the goal should be to try and make your home look consistent. Keep it simple with one type of lighting instead of having several different options fighting with each other. Avoid all the yard clutter which will make everything look busy, especially plastic displays and figurines.

Warm up your home without filling it up. . .

Everyone loves Christmas decor because it makes the house look warm and inviting. A little here will go a long way. The key is to add some holiday accents and avoid holiday overload. To keep your home from looking small and cluttered, avoid displaying any collections with small pieces. Large presentations of snowmen, Santas, nutcrackers, and holiday villages, will overwhelm the buyer’s eye and distract them from really looking at the features of your home that you want to showcase. Instead, add a few generic winter accents such as small white lights, holiday garlands, pine cones, or candles into your accessories. When accessorizing in general, it is always better to make a statement with a large piece than to have several small pieces filling the same space.

Reevaluate what you need.

You don’t want pay to move things that you will never use. I have been collecting holiday decor for years and have dozens of boxes and bins in my basement, some that haven’t been opened for years. If you are planning to downsize soon, maybe begin the process of thinning everything out and only keeping your favorites. Ask yourself if you love it, need it, or get good use out of it. If the answer is no, than get rid of it. Craig’s list is a great resource to get rid of your extra stuff, or donate it to charity.

Holiday Photos on MLS

A bad photo on line today can kill your chances of getting a showing. If your oversized Christmas tree takes up half of your room in a photo, buyers may perceive the house as being too small and cross it off their list. Your rooms will photograph better without a tree, so photograph first, and then put up a small one afterwards if you must.

Also keep in mind that in mid-November, if it will be obvious that your exterior MLS photos were taken on a summer day, the perspective buyers will immediately know that your house has been sitting on the market for a while. Update your photos so that they look current to avoid an immediate red flag.

After the Holidays?

If your home is still on the market, or if you plan to list it after the New Year, make absolutely sure that all of your holiday decor is packed away. It is not a good sign to have anything left up. Then, of course, change your MLS photos if they included holiday decor. Furthermore, if you still have Christmas lights on your home by the time February rolls around, it sends a strong message to everyone that your home is not well maintained.

One final note:

Be prepared, be organized, and it will help you sell fast!  Give your Professional Home Stager a call for quick holiday styling help. For the cost of what you likely would have spent on new holiday decor, you’ll be making an investment in a shorter selling time and be closer to a reason to celebrate the New Year!

I hope everyone has a wonderful Holiday Season!

Andy Kogan

I am a Realtor with Weichert Realtor’s, Graham-Welch, The Sharon Sigman Team. I am a Kansas City native, and very experienced working with clients and assessing your wants and needs.

I specialize in residential and commercial real estate sales in the Kansas City Metro area, and offer all my clients personalized service.

When you’re getting ready to buy or sell a Kansas City area home, you need someone who knows the Kansas City market. I can help you through the process, giving you the best service and making the experience as smooth as possible.

I cover the entire greater Kansas City area, including Overland Park, Riverside, Independence, Ray Town, Edwardsville, Liberty and more.