Some homeowners decide to take their homes off of the market during the holiday season, thinking that buyers are not going to be looking at homes again until the spring. However, the historic low interest rates that we are experiencing this year will help keep buyers looking throughout the holiday season. Additionally, people are transferring into the Charlotte area throughout the year, and they need housing.
Personally, my husband and I once put in an offer on a house on New Year's Eve. We had looked at the home 3 times in December before putting in the offer and we closed in February. People tend to make home-purchase decisions based on emotional appeal, and nothing makes a house feel like a home like the holiday season. So decorate your house to help the buyers envision themselves entertaining their family and friends during the holidays.
Don't go overboard with the "cutesy" decorations or the overly personalized ornaments. But use decorations to accent the features of your house. The article link below provides some good tips for holiday staging.
Additionally, I would suggest that you do the following things when preparing for a showing or open house:
1) If you have a sealed gas log fireplace, turn it on before leaving. Turn down the thermostat a bit so that it doesn't get uncomfortably hot in the house. A roaring fireplace creates a "homey" feel that many of us connect to our childhood holiday memories...and it makes sure that buyers notice the fireplace!
2) About an hour before leaving the house, boil some apples and cinnamon sticks in water on your stovetop. Turn off the burner before leaving, but leave the pot on top of the stove. Scents are often associated with memories as well, and many people connect the smell of apples and cinnamon with the apple pie often served for dessert during the holidays.
3) Put on some soft holiday jazz. Sound evokes memories as well and hearing a somewhat familiar tune played in a different and interesting way will make people linger longer and notice all of the unique features of your house. Be sure that the music is not too loud - you just want it to be a soft background sound.
By doing these three things in addition to the staging tips in the article, you are engaging all of the buyer's senses in evaluating your home. This is the best way to make them form an emotional connection to your house and make an offer!http://www.realtor.org/rmohome_and_design/Articles/2010/1011_home_holidaydecor_principles