The Christmas season is approaching and most homeowners are starting to decorate their houses for the holidays. If your home is on the market, how you dress it up for the season can help enhance its appeal to potential buyers.
Wintertime isn’t the busiest time for home sales. Many potential buyers are too busy with holiday plans to spend much time looking for a new home. It’s rarely worthwhile to schedule an open house during December.
But those buyers who are looking this time of year are serious and motivated. So it’s absolutely worthwhile to have your house listed, and available for buyers to look at, during the winter holidays.
Families planning to relocate, for example, often start looking in the winter so they can make an offer in the spring, and move in mid-summer. That timing lets them avoid disrupting their children’s schooling. I had more to say about wintertime listings in a January 2014 article.
Having your house on the market in December doesn’t mean you don’t celebrate Christmas. It does mean you should think carefully about how to keep the house as appealing as possible to buyers.
My most important advice about seasonal decorating is: “Less is more.”
If you like to fill your yard with holiday decorations, this is the year to scale way back on your display. Keep that inflatable plastic Santa Claus in storage. You don’t want to distract buyers from your attractive landscaping or the house’s appealing lines and unique architectural features. That’s why elaborate strings of “icicle” lights along the roof line may not be the best idea.
If you have a pretty tree you can decorate in your front yard, and a tasteful wreath on the front door, your home will look attractive and appealing without having its best features obscured.
In the house, the “less is more” principle means: Keep it clean and clutter-free. Avoid anything that makes any space seem cramped. If you’ve had the home staged, use only those seasonal decorations that harmonize with the home’s other décor. So if bright reds or greens clash with your walls and window treatments, find ornaments in other colors.
A helpful trick is to accentuate the positive. Place decorations in ways that will bring attention to the home’s distinctive features. Have a neat archway? Hang mistletoe in it. Want to emphasize a grand staircase? Put tasteful, understated decorations on the banister.
A Christmas tree can be an asset, if it doesn’t overwhelm the space it’s in. A tall, slim tree can help to highlight a great room with a high ceiling. Nothing too wide; you don’t want to make the room feel too small. In a room with standard 8-foot ceilings, a shorter tree will help it to feel more spacious.
Many holiday traditions can lend a cozy, welcoming feel to your home. If you have a fireplace, have it burning when buyers come to look. Simmer some spiced cider on the kitchen stove to fill the house with seasonal aromas. Have seasonal music playing softly on your home entertainment system.
If any of your family’s holiday traditions are likely to clutter your house, this may be the year to let another relative host the Christmas dinner or other gathering.
A good general principle is not to overwhelm or inconvenience yourself, but have the house ready to show at any time. Also keep in mind that the less of your holiday “stuff” you bring out, the less packing you’ll have to do when it does come time to move.
Your bottom line is to help any would-be buyers visualize themselves as “home for the holidays” when they visit your house. That’s because people don’t just buy a roof and four walls; they’re also trying to satisfy the emotional needs the word “home” implies.
Have a question about buying, selling or any other real estate matter? Let me know and I’ll address it in a future article.
Michelle Clark is a broker with Intracoastal Realty, based at the Wrightsville Beach office. She is an Accredited Luxury Home Specialist, ALHS and also a Short Sales and Foreclosure Resource. Whether you are buying, selling, or investing, know that Michelle and her team will go the extra mile for you. To learn more about Michelle and Intracoastal, go to www.intracoastalrealty.com. You may contact Michelle at [email protected] or 910-367-9767. Like Michelle’s team on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MichelleClarkTeam.
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