While the market is often smaller during the colder months, people still want to buy homes in winter. In fact, they’re often more serious about the whole process. Preparing a home to sell during this time, while still enabling the family within it to celebrate the holidays, means finding a balance between the two.
The holiday season can work to your advantage if you’ve decided to list your home, says Spaces That Speak. Stage your home to sparkle, and you can reach the emotional senses of the homebuyer. This may make your house even more attractive. With the right care and planning, it could create the warm, cozy feeling that quickly enables others to see your house as their next home.
Stage before you decorate
Even before the holiday decorations come out of their boxes and crates, it’s best to stage your home. This means mostly decluttering and depersonalizing. Create a place that’s easy for anyone to envision as theirs by getting as close to blank slate as possible.
You may want to rent a portable storage unit to pack up all the family pictures, extra books, and special knick knacks you usually have around. Regardless of holiday decor, you don’t want all this extra stuff crowding your space.
Also, take this time to do a thorough cleaning of your house. Even if you’re going to host a holiday meal, it’s important to keep your home as close to spotless as possible when it’s on the market.
Buyers take overall cleanliness into consideration as much as the layout of your house when they’re looking. A dirty home gives off the impression that things aren’t well cared for, and this can translate to concerns across the board.
Pick classy over customized
We all celebrate our holidays differently, but when you're staging a home, you want it to feel more generic. This way, anyone can envision their own holiday celebration inside.
Whether it’s Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, or another winter holiday, it’s best to keep your decor classy. This means keeping things simple and minimalistic when it comes to decorating choices.
Opt for a low-key holiday wreath over something covered in holly berries or Thanksgiving turkey cutouts. Replace your usual indoor decor with a simple bowl of pinecones and some subtle touches. Unfortunately, this might be the year to keep your nutcracker collection in the attic.
Make a simple statement
Not everyone celebrates the same holidays as you, and it’s important to take that into account when staging your home. You want your decor to take on a more equal-opportunity approach.
If you traditionally put up a nativity scene, consider keeping it in storage this season. Think seasonal over spiritual when it comes to decorating. Focus on neutrality in your decorative choices so that even if you celebrate Christmas, but your buyers don’t, it won’t matter.
Take a less is more approach
This is especially important when thinking about holiday lights and yard decorations. Too many outdoor lights can distract from the beauty of the exterior of your home. The same issue occurs with too many blow-up Santas and snowmen.
You want prospective buyers to see your home for what it is all year round. Covering up your beautiful lawn and the lovely color of your siding can impact the interest in your house.
Keep your exterior easy to see without sacrificing your joy for the holiday season. Do a little less this year than you normally do.
Avoid inside clutter
The less is more approach applies to the inside of your home too. You don’t want your holiday decorations to make your house feel cluttered. Adding too much can overcrowd shelves and leave rooms feeling cramped.
Consider pulling one everyday decor piece for each holiday decoration you put up. This will keep your overall count the same. Since you’ve already decluttered in preparation for listing your house, this strategy keeps things feeling open and airy even with the extra holiday cheer.
This also means being careful about your Christmas tree if you put one up. A tree that’s too large for the space can instantly make a room feel smaller. Likewise, too many ornaments on a tree can distract from the other features of the room.
You may even want to consider getting a fake tree this year rather than a real one. It means less cleanup and ensures you don’t aggravate anyone’s allergies as they come through the house.
Stick to the existing color palette
Even though the holidays have their own distinct signature colors, you don’t want them to invade your current aesthetic. Nobody wants to walk through a living room full of clashing colors.
Instead, use the holiday palette to enhance your space. If your room features soothing blue tones, says HGTV, go for silver holiday accents. If the space has a more earthy feel to it, use a little gold and green.
Keep the stockings stowed
Those who celebrate all want our stockings hung with care well before the big night. But, when staging your house during the holidays, wait as long as you can. Stockings, and anything on the mantle, detract from a key selling point — the fireplace.
According to Angie’s List, “The mantle should be free and clear and uncluttered… Let your buyers visualize decorating the mantle themselves.”
You most likely won’t have any showings on Christmas Eve, so delay your stocking hanging until then.
You may also want to apply this strategy to the gifts under your tree. Keep them hidden until the very last minute to avoid clutter.
Introduce the right holiday aromas
There are so many smells associated with the holiday season that you can use to your advantage when staging a home. Bring in seasonal flowers to give off a soft scent of the holidays. Keep a few gingerbread or holly candles in glass jars to light.
If you have the time, bake up some cookies before buyers come through to fill the house with one of the coziest smells out there. You can leave the cookies out on a platter as a special treat too.
Go back to neutral quick
Once the holiday season is over, make sure not to let your decorations linger. Take down and put away your decor as fast as possible to return the house to its neutral, staged, state. Don’t let clutter creep back in either.
Resetting the home quickly shows prospective buyers you’re on top of things at home. They’ll apply your fast work here to how you care for your house, assuming you’re just as fast to make necessary repairs.
Successfully staging around the holidays
Deciding to sell your home in winter doesn’t mean you have to spend the season not celebrating. It’s perfectly okay to decorate for your favorite holiday. The trick is to look at your decor through the lens of staging your home, keeping it simple, neutral, and deliberate. This then creates the maximum effects of warming the hearts of potential buyers and making your home look its wintery best.