10 Tips for Holiday Home Staging Success

Written by by Melinda Bartling of Another Staged Home
Updated November 12, 2013
staged living room, home staging
Keep holiday decorations to an absolute minimum to help potential buyers see themselves in your home. (Photo courtesy of Angi member Coreen B. of Arlington, Va.)

Selling a home over the holidays is different than other times of the year. Here are 10 tips for staging your home when it's on the market over the holidays:

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Selling a home over the holidays is different than other times of the year. Most buyers don’t want to see your holiday collections or decorations – let them envision their own.

Here are my 10 best tips for staging your home when it’s on the market over the holidays:

1. Create some front door appeal. A simple, live wreath on the front door is classy. Add a big bow for major impact. Let them know this is just the beginning of a house they will love.

2. Curb appeal is also important. What will your buyers see as they drive up to your house? This is where their excitement starts. Add a colorful mat (preferably a non-holiday one) outside the door. A big urn or two next to the front door is preferred. You can add fake or real Christmas trees and decorate them if you like, just keep it simple.

Stand back and get a full picture of the front of your house. Have you overdone it? If so, remove one thing and keep paring down until you get the right look. Unsure? Ask a friend what she thinks. If she hesitates with her answer and doesn’t immediately get excited, you know it probably doesn’t look good.

3. Keep outside holiday decorations to minimum. Yard decorations, outdoor house lights, and holiday collections are distracting and should be kept to a minimum or avoided altogether. Home staging is always about less versus more. This is especially true outside.

4. Minimal decorations inside, too. Inside, one simple Christmas tree would be best, with simple white lights and standard ornaments in one color if possible (or no tree at all is preferred). Remember, not everyone celebrates Christmas. The more distracting your tree is - the less of your house the buyers will see.

Remember, potential home buyers are not there to look at your stuff, they are there to fall in love and see if they can envision themselves living in your space. Loads of presents under the tree are sometimes hard for small children to resist so keep that in mind when your house is on the market.

5. No stockings hung with care. The mantle should be free and clear and uncluttered (as always). Let your buyers visualize decorating the mantle themselves.

6. Replace, don't accumulate. Wherever you add holiday decorations, the other decorations should be removed. Remove what you have then add new.

7. Fresh displays of flowers or holiday greenery can be added in the kitchen and dining room if desired. Go for one big, well-executed display versus lots of little things. Don’t go overboard with Christmas decorations in each room. Decorations can easily turn to clutter which eats up equity.

8. Be careful with candle displays and lit fireplaces – they can cause accidents.

9. Stow your holiday collections. Definitely don’t get out your collections of nutcrackers, Santas or other holiday display items that will distract your buyers. These are the reasons buyers leave a house and ask their Realtor, “Was there a fireplace in the living room? I was so busy looking at the stuff, I don’t remember.”

10. Bake up an offer. Freshly baked slice-and-bake cookies on the counter are a quick way to make the house smell fabulous and are a great way to win over the buyers - and hungry Realtors! Refreshments can help, too, so have some bottled water or anything else bottled or canned. Buyers get hungry and thirsty when out looking for the right house. Be sure to provide them with some napkins and it will keep them lingering in your home longer. Make sure your kitchen is spic-and-span spotless because while hanging out, they will notice everything!

Remember, selling your home over the holidays isn’t that much different than any other time of the year. Plus it’s a great time to sell since January is the busiest month for corporate relocations. By using these simple tips to help you stage your home, it will stand out from your competition and help you win the home selling game over the holiday season.

About this Angi Expert: Melinda Bartling, owner of Another Staged Home, has been staging homes since 2006 and has been in the real estate industry selling homes since 1987. Offering real estate and home staging services in the Overland Park, Kansas, Bartling's firm earned the 2012 Angi Super Service Award. Follow this #ALExperts contributor on Google Plus or Twitter @MelindaBartling.

As of November 11, 2013, this service provider was highly rated on Angi. Ratings are subject to change based on consumer feedback, so check Angi for the most up-to-date reviews. The views expressed by this author do not necessarily reflect those of Angi.

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