The Holidays: To Decorate or Not To Decorate

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Executive

December has arrived and that means the holiday spirit is in the air and holiday décor is popping up all over the place. As we enter this special season, I am often asked by sellers if it is ok for them to decorate their house for the holidays. Some would argue that it is not recommended as it can distract a buyer from looking at the house or could offend someone who does not celebrate in the same way you do. I am of the belief that if done properly and kept to minimum, there is no harm done.

If you are planning to keep your home on the market throughout December, here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Holiday decor should accent and not dominate your space. Less is more when it comes to choosing what types of decorations to use as well as how many items to place. The main goal is that a buyer can visualize the space and not be overwhelmed by holiday decor.  You want a buyer to be able to view your home's best features such as the fireplace, flooring, staircases and countertops.
  • Go with a smaller tree this year. This will allow the room to appear larger and help buyers visualize the space. If necessary, remove furniture for the holiday and keep wrapped presents in a closet.
  • Turn off lighted decorations for showings. Décor that is shiny, musical and has lights can easily distract a buyer from looking at the house.
  • Keep outdoor decor to a minimum. A few subtle decorations such as a poinsettia, wreath and a holiday mat at the entrance make for a perfect touch. It can also show that you are part of a community that celebrates the holidays and make memories together. However, this is not the year to cover the front yard with blow-up Santa displays and so many lights that Clark Griswold would be jealous.
  • Be sure your Christmas colors and decor match the style of your home. If your home is traditional, stick to traditional decorations.....if you have a modern style, you can go more retro with a silver tree. You do not want to use red ribbon if your paint colors are pastels. Try to match as best you can.
  • Do not display Christmas cards and photos. Instead of looking at the home, the buyers will be making comments about how funny a greeting is or how cute that baby is.
  • Be conservative with your choice of decorations. Some buyers may not express your beliefs or have the same holiday spirit which could cause them to be turned off by the home which is not your ideal goal.
  • Be sure the home is warm and welcoming. As temperatures can be cold at this time of the year, it is important that a buyer feel a sense of warmth and coziness while viewing. A cold home is never fun to show and it creates a sense of urgency to look and leave quickly.
  • Leave out some holiday treats. Buyers love to snack, so feel free to leave out freshly baked cookies or holiday candy to go along with the décor in the home.

I hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday season and that you have found this list helpful.

Jen Mildenberger

Posted by

With Jen You Win

Keller Williams Realty


Comments (5)

Victor Zuniga
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services California Properties - San Diego, CA

great tips for any seller on the market in the month of December. it's okay to decorate just don't go over board.

Dec 01, 2010 08:02 AM
Jen Wetzel
RE/MAX Executive - Fort Mill, SC
NC/SC Realtor-With Jen, You Win!

Thanks Victor!! I get this question alot and truthfully if done well, the buyers enjoy it!

Dec 01, 2010 08:12 AM
Jorge Martinez
North Orange County ReMax Realtor - Anaheim, CA
Espanol Spanish Bi-Lingual Agent

Great advice! Happy Holidays!

Dec 07, 2010 03:51 PM
Jen Wetzel
RE/MAX Executive - Fort Mill, SC
NC/SC Realtor-With Jen, You Win!

Thanks Jorge! I hope you have a blessed holiday as well!

Dec 08, 2010 04:17 AM
Paul Gapski
Berkshire Hathaway / Prudential Ca Realty - El Cajon, CA
619-504-8999,#1 Resource SD Relo

thank you very much for the informative and interesting post. I get so much out of the active rain network.

May 05, 2012 12:16 AM