How to Decorate Your Home for the Holidays While You're Selling It

Family decorating for Christmas

Our tips can help you bring the holiday spirit to your home while keeping it totally buyer-friendly.

You may be trying to sell your old home, but you still want to get in the holiday spirit (you’re still living in it, after all). Don’t worry, you can celebrate the season and still attract buyers. Trying to sell your home between Thanksgiving and the New Year does mean extra work, but these tips will help keep stress down if you’re showing your home during the holidays.

Declutter and Pre-Pack

Before a move is the perfect time to minimize and declutter. Professional home stagers recommend pre-packing some items to keep your home looking clean and uncluttered for potential buyers. Sort your belongings, including holiday decorations, into ‘trash’, ‘donate’, and ‘keep’ piles. Then pack away any items from the ‘keep’ pile that aren’t essential for daily living.

We promise this will relieve some of the stress of the holiday moving season.

Don’t Overdo It

When it comes to the actual decorations, less is more when you’re trying to sell your home. Not only will your home be more appealing to buyers, but the more minimal your decor, the less time you’ll spend putting up, cleaning around, and taking down decorations. Chicago, Ill. based moving expert and author Ali Wenzke suggests keeping it simple and elegant while still maintaining the traditions that are most important to you.

“Use this holiday season to display your favorite pieces. You don't need to display every holiday item you own,” says Wenzke.

Wenzke also suggests the following:

  • Depersonalize - Avoid overly personal or overtly religious decorations. Don’t display greeting cards, homemade ornaments or personalized decorations. Keep in mind that buyers want to imagine themselves celebrating the holiday season in this home, whatever that looks like for them.
  • Go for classy and classic - A few boughs of seasonal greenery or hints of color may be enough to make your home feel cozy for the holidays. A simple winter fire or seasonal candle can go a long way.
  • Curb appeal still applies - If you must decorate outside, keep it simple. Please, no giant santas or inflatable snowmen. Opt for white lights over colored lights, if any at all.
  • Keep it safe - Protect presents by keeping them out of public view. The same goes for heirlooms that may entice kiddos. Keep your guests safe, too, by not using extension cords that they could potentially trip over.

Let Someone Else Host

If possible, be a guest in someone else’s home this year. Eric Sztanyo of Team Sztanyo in Cincinnati, Ohio points out that the real headache during holiday times stems from the traffic and messiness of hosting.

Sztanyo suggests that this year, you hand over the reigns for holiday hosting. Let your family and friends know that you are selling your house and ask if anyone else is willing to host. You can still contribute your famous mashed potatoes or dessert, but avoid the stress of planning a huge meal.

Bring in a Professional Cleaning Service

If you can afford it, bring in a cleaning service once or twice during the season. Whether it’s right after a Christmas party or before a showing, this little extra cost will go a long way in keeping your house spic and span and your spirits bright.

Rebecca Rosenberg is an international digital media consultant and freelance writer.

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