Contrary to popular belief, there ARE home buyers braving the winter elements to find the perfect home. The holiday season can be a great time to sell your home, because there is less competition for buyers, with fewer homes on the market.

So, in the midst of your holiday party planning and gift-buying, if you plan to have your home on the market, you need to think about how to stage your home to feel festive, without looking like Clark Griswold and Betty Lou Who had a holiday lights competition in your yard. Tasteful and understated decorating can give your home holiday vibe and avoid assaulting the senses of your prospective buyers.

Check out these tips to get your buyers in the holiday home-buying spirit:

Stage first, decorate later.  The very first step is to clean your home from top-to-bottom, and declutter, declutter, declutter. If your mantel is already overflowing with knick-knacks and photo frames, then adding in your Bavarian Nutcracker collection will just be overwhelming.

Less is more. This is the home staging mantra any time of year, but don’t assume that it means you have to be a Scrooge and forgo the holiday spirit. It just takes some careful and thoughtful planning. Try a bowl of pine cones on a sofa table, or an evergreen wreath over the fireplace. And don’t forget subtle smells! Simmer a pot of spiced apple cider before open houses, or bake a plate of sugar cookies!

Choose complimentary colors. Contrary to popular myth, not all holiday decorations have to be a riot of red and green. Consider the colors of your decor, and choose decorations that work well with those colors. For instance, White and silver work well with blues, and green and gold work well with the more neutral earth tones.

Show off your home’s best features. While abiding by the “less is more” rule, think about how your decorations could show off some of your home’s best features. A sprig of mistletoe in an elegant arched doorway, or a pot of poinsettias in a bay window can draw the eye to the features you want your buyers to see. Don’t forget the kitchen! Instead of a bowl of fruit on the counter, try a bowl of cinnamon scented pine cones or delicate Christmas tree ornaments.

Go easy on the outdoor decorations. Curb appeal is still important, even in winter. Imagine your buyers approaching your home at night, and they can’t see your home for the forest of inflatables and animatronic reindeer.  Opt for a small, tasteful strand of lights to highlight your home’s exterior features, or to showcase that evergreen in your front yard.  Turn on all the lights inside your home, which allows your tasteful interior staging to invite your buyers inside.

Go light on the religious flair. You don’t know who will be touring your home and what religious traditions they may follow. So opt for “equal opportunity decorating”. Does this mean you have to remove all religious decorations? No. Leave your Menorah on the table, or the elegant Nativity set on your mantle. But you may want to think twice about the kitschy light-up Nativity in the yard or the choir of angles hanging from the ceiling.  Remember, you can decorate your new home however you like. This one needs to appeal to wide variety of buyers.

Consider tree size and decorations. That huge 10 ft tree in your great room may be an awesome way to show off the high vaulted ceiling. But if the base of the tree takes up most of your available floor-space, then it’s not really good optics for a potential buyer. Tall skinny trees are good for tight spaces. Also, consider matching your tree decorations and lights to your overall theme in the room (See the “Choose Complementary Colors” section). If you are using silver and white in a blue room, then choose tasteful white and blue baubles for the tree with silver tinsel. Or think jewel tones in a more earthy decor.

With all these ideas, the universal rules of decluttering should always be top of mind. We know this will be hard for some people, particularly those who have trees in every room by the end of October. It may be hard to resist putting up every single decoration stored in your attic and filling every corner of your home with holiday cheer. But if your goal is to sell your home during the holiday season, then you want to show off your home, not your stuff. Next year, you can haul out all those boxes of decorations in your new home, we promise.

No matter the season, we can help with every step of buying or selling your home. Our main goal is to help you achieve your dream, as well as facilitate a smooth sale and closing. As always, if you or someone you know need help selling or finding a dream home in 2018, please do not hesitate to call us. Contact Jason at 703-298-7037 or Jason@JasonAndBonnie.com.