Home staging can be a great way to help potential buyers cross from “thats a nice house” to “I have to have that home!” As the holiday season approaches, home sellers wonder what to do with their holiday decor. Does stringing up holiday lights make your home stand out or will it turn a buyer off? Should you hang your stockings with care or keep them in storage as one less thing to have to pack? Will seasonal decorations distract a potential buyer from your granite counter tops or will it draw their eye to your Craftsman-style built-ins?
According to REALTOR.com, 92% of realtors advise putting out some sort of decorations when trying to sell your home during the holidays, although advice runs from putting out only non-religious seasonal decor to putting out everything, including religious items. When it comes to deciding what to do for your particular home, geography and local culture can be your guide as different areas of the country have different customs and expectations when it comes to this.
Regardless of what type of decor you choose to use, here are a few tips home staging tips to make your place shine during a holiday-season open house.
Use the senses to your advantage
Scent is the sense most closely tied to memory and home sellers can use this to their advantage. Baking cookies is always a hit as it will make your kitchen smell divine. Use pre-made cookie dough so you won’t have dirty dishes to deal with and pop them in the oven just before the open house begins to really set a homey vibe. Another tip is to light some winter-scented candles. The candlelight will bring a romantic flair to your rooms while the scent will add to the experience you’re creating. If you decide to set up an artificial Christmas tree, you may want to consider using a scent stick (available here or where most holiday decorations are sold) to really drive home the holiday smells, although be cautious of going overboard with this.
Assess your outdoor lighting
While you don’t need to string up lights (although you definitely can!), because of the shorter days buyers are more likely to see your home in the dusk/dark so you want to make sure to have good lights. A good rule of thumb is to use a 60-watt bulb, although if you have two fixtures together you can get by with 40-watt bulbs. These will provide enough light to showcase your home without looking too bright or out of place. If your home is in a more remote area or you need additional light, consider using up to 120-watt bulbs in a floodlight fixture to really make your house stand out.
Showcase the features of your home
The holiday season is the perfect time to showcase the special areas and features of your home. While you wouldn’t use your fireplace in the middle of August, lighting it up in December makes perfect sense and reminds buyers how nice a warm hearth can be. Have a built-in sound system? Show it off by softly playing some seasonal music. Have a lovely formal dining room? Set the table as if you were hosting a fancy dinner party complete with place settings and wine glasses. Up the coziness factor throughout the rest of your home by placing throw blankets on the foot of beds, draped over couches, or snuggled up on bench seats.
While conventional wisdom says that spring and summer are the best times to sell a house, people who are looking in winter are serious buyers and this bit of home staging can be all it takes to convince them that your house should be their home.