One of the biggest questions facing home sellers during the holiday season is how to decorate. Done correctly, holiday decorating can help sell a home. Done poorly and you might turn off potential buyers. The big question is: where to draw the line?
There is one overriding factor that you have to keep in mind when considering the issue of if or how to decorate real estate. Your home is the Product. You have to make decorating decisions based on whether or not they highlight or detract from your product and not personal tastes. If you are just starting to dig into those storage boxes for decorations, consider the following before putting them up:
1. Not too little, not too much. When you consider what to put up this year, remember that sometimes, less is more. A few small items can help give your home that holiday feel without going too overboard. Holiday candles, stockings, a wreath or small tree, tastefully decorated are perfect. Do too much and buyers might see your home as cluttered and too small. Especially watch out for too many lights on the exterior, too large of a tree and too many holiday knick-knacks lying about.
2. Go for non-denominational. This is a touchy issue – some people are very proud of the religious nature of the holidays – but not everyone. I’m not a huge fan of political correctness – I feel that mutual respect of each others’ beliefs should rule – but in this case, it helps to down-play religion in your holiday decorating. Making buyers feel “at home” in your house is paramount and because religion is a very personal thing, overt displays really makes this difficult, especially if your buyers have different beliefs. Have fun decorating the tree, hanging stockings and putting up lights. But leave the nativity, menorah and other overtly denominational items packed up – just this year.
3. Avoid messy decorations. Real trees can dry out and drop needles, swags and other decorations made from living plants can drop leaves, sap or other detritus, still others can scatter glitter etc. All of these things can make it difficult to keep your home clean and tidy. This year, stick with decorations that won’t create or leave a mess.
4. Use decorations to accent. Decorations should highlight a home and not be the center focus. Remember, buyers will be looking at your home and not necessarily at your decorations. Keep the tree and wrapped gifts out of the way and underfoot. Stockings or candles can help highlight a beautiful mantle and a bow or wreath can help brighten up a doorway. Lights can help highlight
landscaping and holiday place settings can bring a holiday feel to your table.
Many of us (me included) really get into the holiday spirit and it can be a little difficult to distance yourself and take a critical look at how your decorations affect your product. For those of us that really get into it, your REALTOR or another neutral third-party is a great resource. Get a friend to take a tour of your home and ask them to honestly assess how your decorations affect it. Don’t hesitate to move or change anything that takes away from what you are ultimately trying to do – sell your home.