Selling during the Holidays? Set the Stage for a Successful Sale

By
Home Stager with Home Star Staging

ImageChef.com - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more If you are planning to or already have your occupied home on the market for the holidays you may be wondering whether or not you should decorate. I'm no Scrooge so yes, I feel you should decorate if you feel so inclined but MODERATION IS KEY!

Believe it or not, buyers who are looking at homes during the holiday season are probably more serious about purchasing a home otherwise why would they be out looking at properties rather than enjoying their nights and weekends celebrating or shopping?

Some quick tips are listed below to help you navigate through the sale of your home this holiday season. 

  1. Welcome your buyers with a tasteful wreath or fresh seasonal plants or flowers in nice planters. There are adorable Rosemary topiaries for sale everywhere these days and they smell wonderful. They'll last through the winter months, be sure to keep watered and put them in full sun once in a while.
  2. Pare down the excessive yard decor.  As fun as it is to see at night, those inflatable blow up thingies look terrible flat on the lawn.  Keep curb appeal in mind as you would if you were not selling during the holidays.
  3. If you celebrate Christmas, feel free to set up ONE moderate sized tree.  Multiple trees or very large trees in a small house or even if your house can handle it will take up valuable square footage. Show the prospective buyer what you're selling, not the fact that you can fit a tree in every room.
  4. Keep presents out of view until the morning of.  Again this takes up floor space as well as invites others to see all the gifts you have (possibly exposing you to theft)
  5. Go ahead and decorate the mantle with garland and stockings. But if your stockings have family names on them, just for this year, purchase uniform, non-personalized stockings and pack the personalized ones for your new house. 
  6. For an open house, make sure the fire is crackling. Not only is it warm and inviting but it shows that your fireplace is in working order. Fireplaces are a good selling point. 
  7. Cinnamon pine cones or other wonderful smelling potpourris that are available at this time of year are a nice touch when put in decorative bowls or baskets. They add a warm, welcoming touch. 
  8. Remember, the buyers will be envisioning their family celebrations here one day!
  9. Keep in mind, MODERATION IS KEY!

After the holidays are over, and your house may still be on the market, the best thing you can do is pack up all your decor and move it to storage.  This will save you time in the long run, especially if you keep your items in closets, garages or attics (saves you the headache of having to get it all down again for the move).  Buyers love closet and storage space so give your prospective buyers the gift of space. 

Merry Christmas and my wish for you is a successful SALE of your home!

Home Star Staging is a Real Estate Staging and Consulting Company located in Plano, TX.  Proudly serving Collin County and surrounding areas.

Update 12/02/07:

Please feel free to check out this same blog as a printable version for your clients at Ezine Articles (My # 8)

Posted by

Home Staging Dallas - Karen Otto

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Rainer
11,679
Veronica Harbert
Select Home Staging - Denver, CO
Select Home Staging

Karen,

Reading your post brings to mind Clark Griswald and National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation...No Griswald family Christmas displays! (or squirrels).

What do you think about playing soft Christmas music? I like to have soothing jazz playing in houses that are occupied and able to prepare the house for showings. I'm wondering if soothing Christmas music would work too? 

Cheers,

Veronica

Select Home Staging

Denver, Colorado

www.selecthomestaging.com 

Nov 30, 2007 07:47 AM #10
Rainmaker
305,616
Karen Otto
Home Star Staging - Plano, TX
Plano Home Staging, Dallas Home Staging, www.homes

Veronica I LOVE that movie! You are so right too. And I just watched Christmas with the Kranks the other day, NO Frosties either!

Yes, I love the sounds of the season lightly playing or a light jazz or swing station. Many cable companies have that now as part of their extended packages and you could leave the sound on your TV tuned to the right station all day.  Thanks for reading!

Nov 30, 2007 08:01 AM #11
Rainer
52,993
Abby Roselli
ALR Home Staging and Showcasing, LLC - Staten Island, NY
Staten Island Home Stager

I love this post!!!!  I just wrote something very similar in my newsletter that I sent last week.  Less is definitely MORE! 

Ha, Veronica!  And you know there's always at least one Griswold house on EVERY block!  I LOVE that movie!!!!! 

Nov 30, 2007 08:02 AM #12
Rainmaker
305,616
Karen Otto
Home Star Staging - Plano, TX
Plano Home Staging, Dallas Home Staging, www.homes
Thanks Abby! That's great that you started a newsletter too. Seems we have some Chevy fans here..
Nov 30, 2007 08:10 AM #13
Rainer
77,324
Yvonne Root
rooms b.y. root - Prescott, AZ
Home Stager - Northern Arizona
Karen, OK Doll! My thinking today was along the line of what message I wanted to send to my short list of real estate professionals concerning how to best deal with the Christmas season with marketed homes. Since your message is to homeowners mine will be a bit different. But, sweety, you have taken all the hard work out of coming up with a whole new piece of marketing. Thanks. All your points are great!
Nov 30, 2007 09:16 AM #14
Rainmaker
305,616
Karen Otto
Home Star Staging - Plano, TX
Plano Home Staging, Dallas Home Staging, www.homes

Yvonne! I've missed ya sista!

I'm happy to take the work out of coming up with a new piece of marketing for you.  Afterall, we do share what we know around here. 

Marketing is really another passion of mine, you should hear some of the stuff I come up with for many different things....some not printable ;-) 

Nov 30, 2007 09:21 AM #15
Rainer
13,047
Amber Langston
HOME BRANDERS / DIXIELAND HOME DESIGN - Little Rock, AR
Karen- ABSOLUTELY WONDERFUL TIPS! Love the presents point as well. 
Nov 30, 2007 09:38 AM #16
Rainer
77,324
Yvonne Root
rooms b.y. root - Prescott, AZ
Home Stager - Northern Arizona
That is one reason I like your posts so much Karen! You do such wonderful work in the marketing field. Just think if we didn't come up with hundreds (thousands) of bad ideas we probably wouldn't know when we came up with just the right idea. By the way, that is a quote from someone here on AR whose initials are CS. 
Nov 30, 2007 10:24 AM #17
Rainer
21,379
Julia Fedak
Platinum Home Designs - Burlington, ON
IRIS, CSP

Great advice, Karen!

What do you think about staging vacants for the holiday season?? Some people think a decorated tree is in order........what are your thoughts on this?:)

Julia

 

Nov 30, 2007 01:00 PM #18
Rainmaker
305,616
Karen Otto
Home Star Staging - Plano, TX
Plano Home Staging, Dallas Home Staging, www.homes

Thank you for reading Amber!

Yvonne, I get loads of information from other sources as well, it's just a new spin on some old stuff! Yes CS is quite the sage...

Julia, good question. I don't really have a problem with lightly staging a vacant for the holidays.  In fact right before Thanksgiving, I did a couple of vacants. In one I had laid a bushel of wheat and a linen napkin underneath with a turkey on it (the napkin), all that needs to be done is remove the napkin.  I did reds, black and clear glass in the dining room to take it thru the holidays without being overtly Christmas but still festive.  Another house I put pumpkin candles on the place settings and advised the owner once Thanksgiving was over, remove the pumpkins to a cupboard and put some pine-cones in their place or leave empty.

Last year another stager I was working with and I did do a small tree in a large game room with light decor, a small red tricycle, a picnic blanket and a basket of vintage games and a coffee table set up with a portable s'mores maker and a checker board in play. It was cozy and set the scene and gave the room dimension and purpose.  When Christmas was over we went back and removed the tree and just put some more kid themed items in there.

As long as it's not overkill, I think people expect some sort of decor at this time of year.  It is homey and can evoke some good feelings for those who are house hunting at this time of year. 

Nov 30, 2007 01:44 PM #19
Rainer
46,282
Jackie Peraza
Perceptions AdverStaging(TM), LLC - Framingham, MA
Home Stager - Framingham, Massachusetts

Karen - around here they seem to expect some sort of holiday decor - as you said, pared down though.  I really you said it well with 'pared down'.

Jackie

Nov 30, 2007 05:19 PM #20
Rainmaker
305,616
Karen Otto
Home Star Staging - Plano, TX
Plano Home Staging, Dallas Home Staging, www.homes

I think most people are of that same mind set Jackie in that they will assume houses will be decorated at least a little bit during the holidays. 

My husband and I were house hunting here in Dallas around Thanksgiving the year we moved and the houses we were most drawn to had the homey feel, not overdone but had pumpkins and nice scents wafting throughout the house.  Although the house we finally settled on was vacant, (we'd actually put 2 offers on 2 different occupied houses but it was a seller's market at the time and we lost both to higher bids - the tables have turned so much now!) the rest of the neighborhood was festive and welcoming.

Everything in moderation is a good way to live even if you're not selling!

Dec 01, 2007 09:56 AM #21
Rainer
236,428
Susie Roscoe
Signature Realty Associates - Brandon, FL
Real Estate Specialist | Brandon, FL
Excellent Points in here Karen!  I love the pinecones but will pass on the fire crackling...for obvious reasons!  How nice to meet up with a FL transplant.
Dec 01, 2007 02:20 PM #22
Rainmaker
305,616
Karen Otto
Home Star Staging - Plano, TX
Plano Home Staging, Dallas Home Staging, www.homes

Hi Susie, yeah, no fireplaces necessary in sunny FLA.

But I can tell you we used to turn the AC down to the coldest setting so it felt COLD for Christmas morning.  I had some friends who did this AND lit their fireplaces for the effect on Christmas day.  We lived in Miami Shores so the houses were older, and many had working fireplaces for all those Northern transplants that settled there. I guess they didn't really realize you wouldn't need a fireplace in South Florida back then or maybe you did once in a while but they weren't dealing with global warming!

Dec 02, 2007 12:33 AM #23
Rainer
251,734
Kathy Riggle
STAGING SMART N SOLD - Houston, TX
Houston Home Staging

Hi Karen-

Your post reminded me of a Christmas when my husband & I were much younger, and he had a good natured rivalry going with our neighbor over yard decorations, because both were trying to win the yard award.  Under the cover of night, one of them would sneak out and add more decor-then the other would follow suit the next night. Both houses turned out so hideously overdone-neither won the award.  But they were the talk of the neighborhood for awhile. Our house was referred to as "The house of disco lights"!

Kathy

Dec 08, 2007 09:38 AM #24
Rainmaker
305,616
Karen Otto
Home Star Staging - Plano, TX
Plano Home Staging, Dallas Home Staging, www.homes

Too funny Kathy! Some neighborly competition is always good when you're not selling!

Dec 08, 2007 09:42 AM #25
Rainmaker
181,945
Karen Dembsky
Peachtree Home Staging LLC, Home Staging in Atlanta, GA - Peachtree City, GA
Atlanta Home Staging

My husband was out doin' his 'cussing thing today.  Outdoor lights!  Our neightborhood is lined with October Red Leaf Maples every 30 to 40 feet.  They ask us to string them with 3 strings of 100 clear non-flashing white lights.

It's beautiful -- 450 homes; 900 + trees.  He just hates that someone is telling him HOW to decorate and then if he doesn't conform; he is perceived as the neighborhood grinch! 

GREAT POST, Karen O!

Dec 08, 2007 10:01 AM #26
Rainmaker
305,616
Karen Otto
Home Star Staging - Plano, TX
Plano Home Staging, Dallas Home Staging, www.homes

Talk about pressure to conform Karen D. I don't blame your hubby one bit for his rant! Sounds like a Christmas with the Kranks type of neighborhood, but I bet it's gorgeous.

 

Dec 08, 2007 01:00 PM #27
Rainmaker
490,092
Ricki Eichler McCallum
CastNet Realty - Corpus Christi, TX
Broker,GRI,ABR, e-Pro, TAHS
Great post Karen.   Brings to mind many instances of too much!:) 
Dec 09, 2007 07:05 AM #28
Rainmaker
305,616
Karen Otto
Home Star Staging - Plano, TX
Plano Home Staging, Dallas Home Staging, www.homes

As they say Ricki, too much of any good thing....well, you know the rest!

Merry Christmas from North Texas to you in the Hill Country!

 

Dec 09, 2007 11:35 AM #29
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Karen Otto

Plano Home Staging, Dallas Home Staging, www.homes
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