6 Tips to Selling a House During the Holidays

Written by Michele Dawson
Updated September 28, 2015
Outdoor holiday lighting
Keep exterior holiday decorations to a few simple, warm items. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Linda P. of Libertyville, Illinois)

How do you sell a house during Christmas?

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For most of us, selling a house is stressful. But the added pressure of showing a house during the holidays can quickly turn our demeanor from nice to naughty.

But it doesn't have to be that way and you can actually use the holidays to your advantage. One of the greatest benefits of selling your house during the holidays is that you have a chance of closing escrow by the end of the year, which is a major tax benefit. In most cases, you can deduct interest, points and property taxes for payments made by Dec. 31.

In addition, when viewers see your house full of holiday cheer, it's easier for them to envision their own family sharing special holiday moments in the house. It's a great selling point.

In the meantime, if you want to successfully show a house during the holidays, follow these tips:

1. Keep outdoor holiday yard decorations simple and tasteful

Just like at any other time of year, when showing a house during the holidays, curb appeal is essential. Potential buyers need to envision the house as their own. It's hard to do that when a blow-up snowman overtakes the front yard.

If a Realtor wants to show the house in the evening, some outdoor lights can be appealing and bring a feeling of holiday cheer. If you live in a snowy location, make sure you keep your front walkway clear and ice-free.

2. Be sure your Christmas tree is a good size for the room

Keeping proper proportions among the furniture and accessories in your house is key to successful staging. If the Christmas tree overpowers the room and forces the furniture to be squeezed together, the look is unappealing and makes the room look small. Remove extra furniture if necessary.

3. Make it cozy

Make sure the thermostat is set at a warm, comfortable temperature. House hunters don't want to look at a house that's too cold. All they'll be thinking about is getting out. Turn on lights, including holiday and accent lights.

4. Don't hide the kids' unwrapped holiday toys in closets

Buyers ALWAYS open up and look in closets. Storage is frequently on the checklist. Buyers want to know how big and deep closets are.

The fewer items (whether it's hanging clothes, luggage or random objects tucked away), the better. Less "stuff" in the closet makes the closets look larger.

5. Take advantage of the senses

Continue your holiday baking. Perhaps the timing will be right and potential buyers will take in the wonderful smell of just-baked gingerbread cookies. When you know a real estate agent is bringing clients by to look at the house, leave a plate of holiday treats on the counter.

When it comes to candles and other home-scent products, opt for scents that are very subtle. You never know who will have an aversion to heavy cinnamon or vanilla.

6. Consult a home-staging professional for additional advice

A professional home stager will give you invaluable tips on how to best showcase your house for a quick sale. While home staging might be as simple as decluttering, you should be prepared to change the whole look of your house's interior to make the biggest impact if necessary.

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