There are many reasons to consider putting your home on the real estate market during the holiday season: there tends to be less inventory to compete with and potential buyers booking showings are likely more serious than people who might pop into an open house on a warm spring day. However, listing your home while also trying to celebrate the holidays requires a delicate balance between decking the halls and showing off your home’s best attributes. Here are a few DO’s and DON’TS when it comes to selling our home during the holiday season.

DO Keep Decorations Light

It’s important not to let holiday decor steal the spotlight. You don’t want decorations detracting from home staging’s overall goal, which is to show everything that is wonderful about your house. However, you can use decor to elegantly accentuate the most positive features of your home. Dangle mistletoe from a stately archway, wrap some elegant garland around the railing of a beautiful staircase, or hang a fresh wreath on the doors of a grand entryway. Just don’t clutter your entire home with every holiday decoration you’ve been putting up since childhood.

DO Photograph the House Before the Holiday Decorations Go Up

While holiday decorations can be beautiful, you don’t want the decorations to distract potential buyers. You also don’t want to date the listing photos if the home is still on the market after the holidays.

DO Consider Skipping the Christmas Tree This Year

A tree takes up significant space in what is probably your largest and most-used room in the house. It can make your home look overcrowded or smaller than it is. The goal of staging is to make everything look as spacious as possible. A large tree can block light from the windows, hide your living room’s typically impressive floorspace, or simply block the flow that potential buyers would use to walk through the home. If you can’t bear the thought of a holiday without a tree, stick to one that is tall and slender with a narrow base so that it doesn’t take up too much floorspace. Decorate it with a neutral or monochromatic color scheme and place it somewhere that it can highlight a great feature of the house, such as tall ceilings.

DO Compliment Your Color Palette

Not every home’s decor is conducive to red and green trimmings. Only unpack the holiday accessories that compliment your current color scheme. Depending on your color palette, consider a silver and gold tablescape with white candles or accessorizing with throw pillows in neutral earth tones, such as forest green or cranberry.

DO Use Scents to Create a Cozy Vibe

Scents are another way of communicating with a potential buyer, and you can make your house feel like a home by filling it with warm and nostalgic winter scents. Consider simmering some apple cider on the stove or baking some sugar cookies before a showing to offer a tasty treat that leaves behind a homey scent. You can also light up a gingerbread-scented candle or create a potpourri with cinnamon or pine.

DO Light A Fire in the Fireplace and Turn Up the Heat

Firing up the hearth draws attention to your fireplace, which is a feature many buyers are seeking. It also creates a warm and cozy ambiance that casts a flattering glow of light. Be sure to crank up the heat a few degrees before a showing so that your home feels like a welcome sanctuary to escape from the cold.

DON’T Display Your Religious Decorations

Not everyone has the same holiday traditions, so decorating in a way that appeals to a diverse group of people is the best way to ensure everyone who enters your home feels welcome and can envision their lives in your home. Pack away your treasured nativity or menorah to keep them safe, and instead accessorize with items such as snowflakes, candles, nutcrackers or pinecones.

DON’T Leave Gifts Lying Around Your Home

Select a safe, out-of-the-way place to accumulate the presents you buy for your loved ones throughout the holiday season. Not only does a pile of presents create clutter, but it also runs the risk of something going missing.

DON’T Go Crazy on Outdoor Decorations

A tasteful string of lights can add a little holiday sparkle and curb appeal, but an elaborate display can be distracting. It can also make potential buyers wonder if any damage was done to the exterior of the home due to your Clark Griswold-like display.

DON’T Hide the Mantle

You want to highlight the house’s best features, so if your home features a beautiful mantle, don’t cover it up with garland and personalized stockings. Instead, you may want to draw attention to this feature with some elegant candlesticks or some season-appropriate flowers.

DON’T Forget to Clean the Clutter

No matter what time of the year you choose to list your home, you want to clear your home of clutter and more personal items like family photos or your children’s artwork. The goal of staging is to allow every person who walks in the door to see themselves living in that home. Sift through your closets, clear off the countertops and take your holiday cards off the fridge.

If you’re thinking of putting your home on the market this holiday season, consider calling the professionals at Creative Home Stagers. We can walk you through all the do’s and don’ts for successfully staging and selling your home all year round.