Monday, November 24, 2008

Holiday Decorating for Home Sellers

The winter holidays are coming quickly. A quick glance in the window displays downtown and at the yards in town are enough to let us know even without a calendar.

This time of year is both harder and easier to sell a house. Traditionally, fewer people are looking to move in the next five to six weeks, so there are likely to be fewer showings. However, the buyers coming through your home between now and January are not tire kickers. These people are usually serious about buying a home. When sellers get a showing request during this time, they need to be sure that their home is in tip-top shape.

This is the time where a little extra effort can pay off big. Do something to set yourself ahead of the competition.

Many people like to do a little holiday decorating, and this is an area where some sellers slip up. Remember that you are hoping to move. This is not the year to set up a lights display that rivals the local landing strip. Start transitioning to your new home already.

Maybe you always have a yard full of decorations and your house draped in garland. Break that tradition this year in preparation for your move. Begin the mental process of moving.

As a general rule, less is more with holiday decorating and home selling. Take a minimalist approach. One arrangement on the dining room table. One holiday tree. A tasteful wreath on the door. Buyers do expect to see some holiday decorating. Do not forgo decorating completely, but do not over do it. A simple set of holiday towels can add a nice accent to a bathroom. The towels, a mini tree, scented pinecones and a holiday bathmat is overdone.

Ask your Realtor for frank and honest feedback on your holiday decorating plans, and follow his or her suggestions. You are paying for the Realtor's expertise, so use it.

Keep it neutral. Avoid highly personalized decorations like the handmade stockings with all the children's names embroidered on them. The point it to help the buyers see themselves living in your home. Also, ours is a multi-cultural society. While many do celebrate winter holidays, it may not be the same holiday as you. Bring out the creche or menorah for your celebrations, but not during showings.

Buyers can be sensitive to scents and noises, so choose yours with care. During the holidays, sellers may have strongly scented potpourris or spice scented air freshners out that are competing with the tree, the cookies they baked the day before and more. Keep scents soft and neutral. The same goes for music. Holiday music can be easily overdone and many get their fill from stores, elevators and more. Go neutral and non-holiday with your musical selection.

Once the holidays are finished, remove the decorations promptly. Those decorations can seem stale to buyers looking in January, so be sure to pack them away instead of putting it off.

May all of our home sellers receive the best holiday gift of all - an accepted offer.

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