6 Ways to Get Your Home Ready for the Holidays When It's on the Market
It seems like an almost impossible time of year to sell a home, but it can actually work to your advantage. With a little work you can start the new year off in a brand new home. Here's how.
- Tone down the decorations: Decorating for the holidays can easily turn into a trip down memory lane. The tree skirt that your mom cross-stitched herself, your great-grandfather's menorah, the serving plate that you used at your wedding. But be sure to keep your decorations simple and tasteful when you're selling your house--the prospective buyers for your house don't have the same nostalgic attachment to little Tommy's first handmade ornament.
- Buy all the fall candles: Fall has the best candle smells, so take advantage of it to make your house smell homey and warm. Try using a candle warmer instead of lighting the wick so you can safely keep it going during an open house.
- Sign up for the cookie exchanges: If there's one thing you can find during this time of year it's baked goods. Lucky for you nothing says "welcome home" like the smell of freshly baked cookies. Take advantage of all the cookie exchanges around you to make sure your house smells like home baked goodness every time someone comes by for a showing. Just be sure you don't forget to clean up the kitchen and sink as soon as you're done--no one wants to envision themselves moving into a house with a messy kitchen!
- Put the presents away: Nicely wrapped presents looks great under a tree, but if you're having an open house they might be an open invitation for a grinch to steal your Christmas. We always recommend putting your valuables away during an open house and presents definitely fall under that category.
- Hide the clutter: It's easy for things to get a little out of hand this time of year. But if you're selling your house, it's important to keep your clutter under control--it's part of any home staging process.
- Prepare the house guests: If you're having house guests for the holidays, you'll want to lay down some ground rules and expectations. Ask them to clean up after themselves to help keep the house ready to be shown at a moment's notice. Be sure to also prepare them for the fact that they might be asked to vacate the premises if someone calls to see the house. The good news? You can turn that exile into fun, family memories by going to look at Christmas lights, visiting Santa, doing some last minute shopping, or just going for a walk around the neighborhood.
Your Realtor will also be able to offer more specific tips about what parts of your decor might be problematic--and what else you might be able to do to make your home more accessible to potential buyers. Once you've closed the deal it's on to the hard part-moving without turning into a grinch.