By Carolan Frechette
Administrative Services Coordinator

Home staging is a great tool for attracting potential buyers at showings and open houses. However, the topic of home staging can be a difficult subject for your client to grasp, especially during a season as rich with tradition as the Holiday Season. For those clients still living in the home until sale, it can be particularly hard as they might see it as their last chance to make memories in that house, but it is key to remind them of the end goal: the sale of their home. It is important to let them know that you’re not Ebenezer Scrooge when it comes to the holidays and they can still decorate their home, but in a muted fashion. Here are some good ground rules for your clients to follow:

Don’t let your tree draw away from selling points in a room. Take this tree for example, while it may seem to be positioned out of the way, it’s really distracting buyers from two very important elements in the room: the windows and the fireplace. Windows provide two huge selling points for buyers, natural light and a view. The fireplace, which should be a great focal point to any room, especially in the New England market, becomes very muffled by the volume of the tree.

Living-room-Christmas-Vachon-HTOURS1205-deHide your personalized items.  Your guests want to envision your home as their future home which is a hard job to do even without seeing Susie or Joseph’s stockings hanging over the fireplace or on the banister. So it’s best to keep those items hidden while guests are in the home. Macaroni craft decorations might be sentimental, but they can also add clutter and visual distractions to the room. Buyers need to be able to see how their own style can fit into the feel of the home.

No religious symbols or figurines! They may be important to you but they could alienate a potential buyer. Nativity scenes or menorahs’ should be tucked away while guests are in your home.  Agents: if you’re getting the feeling that this might be a sensitive issue to bring up to your seller, try approaching them in a softened manner. Make them feel like it’s their idea to store them away by saying “This is so ornate, perhaps we should put it in a safer place when guests are here to see the house.”

The spirit of the season can be achieved in many different ways. If you’re not really a decorator and you’re interested in a simpler approach, consider having fresh baked cookies or a pot of hot chocolate in the home during a showing or open house, the smell will make the potential buyers feel at home and who doesn’t love a good snack? Another no-fuss idea is to keep the home at a comfortable and cozy temperature; you don’t want to freeze your guests out, literally. Does your home have a fireplace? Light it and show it off! Also decorative candles can be a great accent to the traditional décor of the home. Something similar to these pine cone candles can add an inexpensive and unique touch to a room. If you feel uncomfortable having lit candles in your house, invest in some flameless candles. They could be great during a power outage in your next home!

pinecone-candlesOutdoor appearance is just as important. Keep those lights and lawn decorations to a minimum! It can be very off-putting to approach a house decked out like National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. An extravagant light display will only draw the wrong kind of attention to your home and will take away from the architectural beauty it has on its own. Instead try an arrangement of potted seasonal plants that can survive the New England winter climate.

Staging might not seem like a necessity when listing your property, but everyone has different tastes and it’s important to remember that when trying to sell your house.  A properly staged home allows buyers to see the character and possibilities of the home while the seller increases their chances of a quick sale at top-dollar.