Selling Your Home During the Holidays

By Charlene Storozuk

holidaysSelling your home is a stressful event, but doing so over the holiday season can kick the tension level up a notch.  If your home is on the market over the holidays, you might be wondering if you should deck the halls or give it a pass for this year.  That is, if in fact you celebrate the season.

When deciding whether to decorate or not, take the demographics of your neighbourhood into account.  If the majority of home owners in your area do not celebrate the holidays, you may want to follow their lead and not decorate your home for the festive season either.

Here are some things to take into account if you are going to decorate:

  • Less is definitely more.  Combat clutter by keeping your holiday decor to a minimum and choosing classic, tasteful pieces.
  • nutcrackerAvoid displaying holiday collections.  I happened to mention one year that I like nutcrackers.  I didn’t even own one at the time, but now, 10 years later, I would have to guess that there are close to 80 of those little fellows standing guard in my home during the holidays.  If I were selling, I’d want people to look at my home, not my collection.
  • Decorations should be in good condition.  This is not the year to bring out Grandma’s tattered Santa Claus or Rudolph with the missing nose.  Let them hibernate.
  • Use an artificial tree for this year.  You can place some pine boughs in a large bowl and dress it up with a few pine cones and holiday balls.  You’ll still get that real Christmas tree scent without the mess.
  • Never leave tree lights on when you are not home.  If you have a showing booked, turn the lights on just before the appointment and be sure to come back right after to turn them off.
  • Consider the safety of small children that may be coming through your home.  Don’t leave out small decorations that could become a choking hazard.
  • If Felix the cat has a bad habit of knocking your tree down on occasion, you might want to forego putting your tree up this year.  Murphy’s Law says that Felix will do this just when potential buyers are on their way over for a showing.

One last thing: once the holidays are over, make sure you take down your decorations soon afterwards.  As well, if the listing photos were taken while your home was decorated for the season, make sure that once mid January rolls around, new photos are taken.  Buyers that see a Christmas tree in your living room while viewing your property online in March will be tipped off pretty quickly to the fact that your home has been on the market for a while.


Charlene Storozuk


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Charlene Storozuk is the owner of Dezigner Digz, a professional home staging and interior decorating company based in Burlington, Ontario.  Her work is featured in the book FabJob Guide To Become A Home Stager, 2009 edition. She serves as regional vice-president, Canada for the Real Estate Staging Association and is a past recipient of the North American Leadership Award for her work as founder and president of the Halton & Hamilton-Wentworth RESA Chapter.

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This post was contributed exclusively for REALTOR® Magazine.

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  1. Excellent tips! I just added holiday decor to a staged property for an open house, and used these same guidelines, not too much, just enough to be festive, and I have already made arrangements for their removal after the first of the year. One more tip? As shown in your illustration, Christmas decor need not be red and green, consider using a mixture of matte and shiny glass balls that match your existing decor to that bowl of green boughs.

  2. Great article with great ideas and I agree wholeheartedly with the exception of the artificial tree. I’d prefer to see live greenery on the mantle and in bowls etc. I avoid fake trees and plants like the plague except in very special circumstances. I think they are a turn off.

  3. The other consideration is to look at the scale of the room size vs. the tree size. If your living area is small or cluttered and you add a large tree, it reinforces the perception that there’s not enough room in that part of the home.

  4. Selling a home during holidays is more difficult. I think somebody has to spend money for that holiday. That would be the reason why its difficult to have a buyer during holidays.

    Almost everyone of us expect discounts during holidays. People love discounts and may wait it during holidays.

    It would be a great idea if the seller will an ounce the discounts for incoming holidays. So that the eager buyer may prepare for that.