Deck The Halls With Boughs Of Holly? Or Forgo All Decorations When Selling Your Home Over The Holidays

Royal LePage reports on the top 10 tips to showing a home this holiday season

December 10, 2008 // Franchising.com // Toronto, – 'Tis the season to hang stockings by the chimney and stuff oversized trees into family rooms. However, December is also a season when interested buyers take advantage of vacation time and slower work schedules to attend showings and open houses to gauge the resale real estate market before the year's end.

As houses tend to be crammed with decorations, baking and parcels, and family and friends drop in without notice this time of year, the holiday season can present challenging times for sellers who know the importance of keeping their listed-lodgings minimally adorned and tidy.

"Selling a home over the holidays does not mean your family can't celebrate the season," said Dianne Usher, vice president, Royal LePage Real Estate Services Ltd. Johnston & Daniel Division. "Homes being shown in December can still reflect religious beliefs and festivities, but should do so in a toned-down manner, and one which emphasizes – not detracts from – your home's charm."

Added Usher: "Houses tend to show best when they have minimal furnishings and little personal effects; buyers like to envision their lives in the home, and can be thrown off when all they see is the seller."

To assist sellers, Royal LePage compiled a top 10 list of pointers that will help houses shine in this oft-cluttered holiday season.

  1. Festival of lights: Exterior holiday lights can brighten up any house and increase curb appeal. Keep the less-is-more motto in mind, and your home is sure to sparkle. Opt for white lights instead of multi-coloured flashing bulbs to provide a more taste-neutral glow to your home.
  2. Fake it: While your pansies and petunias are nowhere in sight, you can 'fake' your garden. Placing frost resistant potted plants such as flowering kale or miniature trees in the walkway and garden will brighten up your home and give the buyers a sense of the landscape potential.
  3. Let it snow: Snow can look beautiful on the trees, but driveways and walkways should be cleared as soon as the fluffy stuff falls. Don't forget the backyard terrace and walkways around the house. Buyers like to move freely to all parts of the home. Keep an eye out for icicles on your roof, as they can indicate your home has less than ideal insulation.
  4. Toasty and cozy: A warm home is always more inviting than one that has you reaching for your coat. Be sure to have the heat set at a warm temperature for the entire day; oftentimes homeowners pre-set thermostats low during the day when no one is at home. Even if no one is there, keep your home toasty. When the home is attended, fireplaces and candles should also be lit to create a cozy environment – even during daylight hours.
  5. Sugar and spice: To create an inviting, festive atmosphere, boil a pot of cider with cinnamon during any open houses or showings.
  6. Home sweet home: From fish to cabbage rolls to rice dishes, the holidays can be a fragrant time of favourite family dishes. What appeals you to at dinner may leave an odour in your home that not everyone will appreciate. Hold off on holiday cooking, as much as possible.
  7. A home for all seasons: Display several photos of the home's back and front yards, gardens and patios in spring and summer to show potential buyers what the house looks like when it is not buried under snow and when leaves are on trees, not the ground.
  8. Size matters: Choose a small Christmas tree, and dress it with minimal decorations; a huge tree will make your room look smaller, and busy decorations can look messy.
  9. It's presence, not presents: It is important to cut back on clutter when listing a home; so wrapped presents should not be on display.
  10. Less is more: When it comes to decorating and selling a home, less is always more. A tasteful greeting card, or themed ornament can accent a home during the holidays, but be mindful not to go overboard. When it doubt, remove.

About Royal LePage

Royal LePage is Canada's leading provider of franchise services to residential real estate brokerages, with a network of over 14,000 agents and sales representatives in 600 locations across Canada. Royal LePage is managed by Brookfield Real Estate Services, and is part of a brand family that includes Royal LePage, Johnston and Daniel, Realty World and La Capitale. An affiliated company, Brookfield Real Estate Services Fund, is a TSX listed income trust, trading under the symbol "BRE.UN."

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