What NOT To Do Over The Holidays When You Want To Sell

The holidays -- that period of time between Thanksgiving and New Year's -- are filled with traditions. From food to decor, families celebrate that six week period in many different ways, each special and unique. When you decide to sell your house, however, many of those customs need to be simplified if you want a quick sale. Contrary to popular belief, this is a great time to sell your home. There are fewer buyers on the market, but the people that are spending their limited time house hunting are serious buyers. They need to be able to picture themselves in your home without all the holiday clutter if you want it to work.

1. Holiday Lights: While holiday lights are festive, this is not the year to go all Clark Griswold with your display. If you are the house in the neighborhood that everyone loves to drive by, it may not be fully appreciated by potential buyers, particularly if they can't even get up the driveway for an evening showing. Toning down your display can be as easy as wrapping your front porch posts in evergreen roping and lights. The added bonus is that no one needs to climb up on the roof this year.

2. Christmas Around the House: If you traditionally decorate every square inch of counter and mantle space with holiday decorations and put up 12 themed trees, don't. Scale it back this year. Not only is it overwhelming for home buyers, but they won't be able to see the proverbial forest for the trees -- literally! Try limiting yourself to decorating the table in the foyer and just one tree. This is truly a time when less is more. Next year, you can go all out in the new house.

3. Grandma's Special Recipe: We all have our favorite holiday dishes. From cookies to roast turkey, the holidays bring out all the stops in the kitchen. In fact, as a nation, Americans gain several pounds in the days after Christmas alone! Splurge on all the calories you want, but pay attention to how everything smells! That cabbage dish may be to-die-for, but realtors aren't going to want their clients to smell it while walking through your home. Unfortunately, they won't associate it with the wonderful family recipe that has been passed down for generations. Instead, they will just refer to your house as "the one that stinks." And stinky doesn't sell.

What to do instead:

If you're still dying to decorate for the holidays, here are some tips on how you can feel the holiday spirit without overwhelming your potential buyers.

1. Wreath: The simplicity of an evergreen wreath on your front door is a great, non-denominational way to welcome all guests, including prospective buyers. It celebrates the season without that ugly sweater vibe. 

2. Bake Cookies: The age old of trick of baking cookies before a showing is frequently talked about because it works. Houses that smell like cookies or apple pie just appeal to people on a subliminal level. Don't buy the chemical sprays; bake actual cookies. This doesn't have to be difficult. You can stock your freezer with cookie dough and throw six on a cookie sheet right before the showing. It takes just 15 minutes to go from freezer to wonderfully scented home.  

3. Take a Break: If you need a break, take one. Your realtor will understand. If you need a Saturday off for a family celebration, take it. If you want to wrap presents on Wednesday without being interrupted, go for it. Selling over the holidays doesn't mean you can't enjoy the season. 

4. Removal: Don't forget to take everything down in a timely manner. Traditional Christmas light etiquette says that your holiday cheer should be removed by January 6th, Three Kings Day. 

For more information and tips on homes for sale over the holidays, talk with a real estate company in your area.