To decorate or not to decorate...it can be a real dilemma for home sellers.
Your real estate agent has probably told you to make your house as neutral as possible so it will appeal to the greatest number of potential buyers. On the other hand, you want to make your home feel as warm and inviting as possible so that buyers can picture themselves living there. With those two things in mind, here are some dos and don'ts for keeping your house show ready during the holidays:
Do decorate, but think seasonal vs. holiday. Seasonal wreaths, garlands and greenery will make your house feel festive and inviting, without being too reflective of your personal taste. Red poinsettias in baskets also add a nice punch of color and can liven up a room during dreary winter months. Just make sure to throw them out when they start to get leggy and lose their leaves. Dying plants are a big no-no.
Don't display religious items like nativity scenes, menorahs, etc. These can be a turn off to buyers who do not share your family's faith traditions.
Do keep pots or planters outside the front entry updated with seasonal plants: mums in fall, evergreens in winter, and pansies in early spring. Don't leave them empty and forgotten just because it's cold out. They may be the only bright spot in an otherwise bleak landscape.
Don't go crazy with outdoor decorations. Give your rooftop Santa and reindeer a year off and settle for some simple white lights (non-blinking, please!) on the bushes or a tree. Leave the icicle lights in storage.
Do have a Christmas tree if your family celebrates Christmas and you have young children in the house. But you may want to lighten up on Sally and Tommy's handmade decorations this year and stick with more generic ornaments. Take the tree down the day after Christmas.
Don't put presents under the tree as that will make the space look smaller and feel cluttered.
Do put several indoor lights on timers to go on as soon as it gets dark (especially in the front rooms of the house). The house will give off a warm glow and provide added curb appeal to buyers who drive by in the evening. And make sure the porch or entry lights are working and turned on when the sun goes down.
Don't have your marketing photos taken when holiday decorations are up. If your house lingers on the market into the spring you don't want to have to retake the photos.