Real Estate Listings and the Holidays: To Decorate or Not to Decorate?

November 28, 2016
Posted in Blog
November 28, 2016 JanaTorvi

Real Estate Listings and the Holidays: To Decorate or Not to Decorate?

That is the question this time of year. There are many reasons for sellers to list their homes this holiday season. Reduced supply of inventory can position your seller well in the market.  And, those intrepid buyers who search during the holiday season are typically very serious about making a purchase.

But what do you tell your clients with regard to holiday decorations?

Of course, an undecorated house will stand the test of time. It will look fresh and current in listing photos and on showings, well into the new year if needed.

But will your sellers be willing to forego the wreaths, trees and inflatable menorahs altogether? Probably not.

So, the big question comes up every year in your profession… to decorate or not to decorate?Here I suggest some simple guidelines that should help you and your sellers make decisions about holiday staging.

Don’t make this the year to go insane with the lights. 

Suggest to your sellers that they take a break from all the effort that is required to completely cover the house in lights. Too many lights and decorations will distract from your home, rather than add to it… and won’t exactly be a “turn on” 😉 for potential buyers. A single strand of lights framing the home or a tasteful wreath on the door achieves the best type of holiday curb appeal.

Skip the scented candles and sprays. 

The most current research now shows that scents – including the spruces and cinnamon that are the typical hallmarks of holiday fragrances – are actually a turn-off for buyers.

Decorate after taking photos.

Holiday decorations will quickly date your listing marketing materials. Buyers will know how long a property has been on the market with just an initial peek at the photos and video. Consider scheduling your photos now (possibly in advance of the listing date) before your sellers set up those (subtle and tasteful) decorations.

Or budget for two sets of photos.

Or, take a different approach altogether. Pictures of a home with refined holiday decor may help your winter buyers envision ringing in the new year in their new home – your listing. If you have the budget and would like to offer some special marketing for the season, plan on two sets of listing photos – one with decorations and one without. Schedule a second shoot for when the holiday has passed and your sellers will have things back to normal.

Employing these common sense strategies – and ensuring good communication with your clients – will help you to best manage the issues that present themselves this time of year when it comes to real estate marketing and seasonal decor.

Happy Holidays from your partners at Picture It Sold Photography!


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