Selling your home during the holidays? Should you decorate?

Today we have an article written by Rhonda Wilson, of Revealing Assets Home Staging and Decluttering Services. We have partnered with Rhonda and she has helped many of our clients prepare their homes for sale with phenomenal results.

To Decorate, or Not to Decorate For The Holidays?
That is the question.

We have now officially entered the “Holiday Season” of the year. But, just because we are in the midst of the Holidays and close to the New Year does not mean that Real Estate Transactions screech to a halt. People still buy and sell houses during this time of year for all types of reasons.

Many of my clients, whom are preparing their homes for sale ask me the question, “Can I put my Tree up and decorate even though buyers will be viewing my home?”
My answer is simply this: Of course you should decorate your home inside and out for the Holidays!

A tastefully and moderately decorated home during the Holidays shows to the buyer your Pride in Ownership.

BUT, when your home is listed for sale, the key is to edit the amount and type of decorations that are on display. When we are living in a home, some of us tend to go a little overboard with Holiday decorating. And, that is perfectly acceptable, as we decorate according to our own personal tastes. But, when we are selling, we now have to appeal to the senses of the masses.

When we are selling a home, we aim to be as free of clutter and excess items as possible in order to maximize available floor-space in the buyer’s eyes. Keep this in mind when decorating.

Also, it is imperative that we have de-personalized our decorations as well. We still need to be mindful of the fact that buyers from all walks of life will be in our home. So, we need to be careful of not putting a spotlight on any particular religion or any controversial topics or beliefs.

Key pointers to keep in mind while selling during the Holidays:

1. Try to not obstruct views of the front-exterior of your home with lawn decorations.

2. Ensure that any strings of lights you have on your home’s exterior are in good working order and hung neatly.

3. Have those exterior lights on in the evenings, as it makes your home stand out, and lights up the walk to your front door. This welcomes buyers and makes your address more visible at night.

4. A nice festive wreath hanging on your door-exterior is nice and decorative. Holly berries (real or fake) add a nice pop of red.

5. A Holiday-appropriate “Welcome Mat” outside the front door is a nice touch.

6. Inside, remember that the most important, longest lasting first impression is made on the buyer as soon as they open that front door. Be mindful to not over-fill that front area too many with decorations.

7. If your home is open-concept, ensure you are not blocking the views.

8. If you are putting up a tree, try to choose the LEAST filled space in the house to erect your Tree.

9. Remember that buyers are interested in buying your house, not your “stuff”. So, ensure that you have not completely disguised/masked/covered-up your architectural features with decorations. Many people end up doing this with fireplaces. Avoid this.

10. Also avoid putting up stickers or glass-art on your windows, or hanging tinsel/garland from structural features. Keep decorations to furniture surfaces as much as possible.

11. Remember that flow, or ease of movement, within rooms and throughout the home is very important to buyers. Try to keep decorations contained to avoid blocking pathways.

12. Avoid the use of too many colours with your decorations. Using more than 2 or 3 main colours is simply distracting and is visually cluttered.

13. Also avoid the over-use of conflicting patterns in decorations as this distracts buyers as well.

14. Try to keep gift-wrapping supplies contained to one area in your home, and tuck it away for showings.

15. Beware of using tinsel, as it gets everywhere and can cause buyers to wonder about cleanliness.

16. To avoid being too personalized in your home, avoid the urge to display all Holiday Greeting Cards you receive from loved ones. They look messy and are distracting to a buyer.

17. Much like the decor in your home whilst selling, it is best to eliminate any DATED decorations (such as doilies, cotton-balls, home-made paper garland, etc).


Example of what NOT to do when decorating the exterior of your home for sale – Is there a house somewhere in there?





Example of a very tasteful and welcoming decorating job completed on the exterior of a home whilst selling.



 Example of what NOT to do when decorating the interior of your home for sale – Could that be a fireplace over there against that wall? This is actually quite a spacious living room, but a buyer wouldn’t know it with all of this clutter.



Great example of a very tasteful, neutral, and festive interior decorating job that nicely draws a buyer’s eye to the right architectural features and keeps the floor-space nice and open. They also kept colours and patterns to a minimum, which is less distracting, but also shows pride-in-ownership.

Tip: If you are someone who usually tends to verge on over-decorating during the Holidays, a good rule-of-thumb is to drag out your decorations, and literally cut that pile in half.

Pertaining to Decorating, here is your new mantra whilst selling your home:

Thoughtfully edited, neutrally pretty, yet decidedly Festive. And, remember, it is only one Christmas where you have to feel somewhat limited.

If you do start feeling like a deprived minimalist due to all of the Staging recommendations, remember the reasoning behind all of it. These suggestions are made to help you achieve your goal of selling your home in a timely manner so that you can move into your new “Home” and start to create new memories. Next year, you can go as wild as you would like with your decorations in your new Home.

Rhonda Wilson – CCSP™
Owner/Operator of Revealing Assets Home Staging and Decluttering Services

We transform properties into highly sought-after products that sell in half
the time and for 7-10% more money. Through personal experience, extensive
research and training, and a compassionate approach, we De-clutter living/work spaces for up-lifting and positive life changes.


Sara MacLennan is the Director of Marketing at Liv Real Estate and a licensed Real Estate Associate. The bulk of Sara’s experience and wealth of expertise lies in on-line technology and marketing both for agents and consumers. Sara is the former National Director for Interactive Marketing for Coldwell Banker Canada where she was responsible for an extensive training program traveling to offices across the country training agents and brokers on marketing and technology. Find Sara on Twitter @edmontonblogger.

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