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Ask McEnearney: Should You Decorate While Your Home is on the Market During the Holiday Season?

 This week’s Q&A column is sponsored and written by Joan Shannon, Lifetime Top Producer, Diamond Award, of The Shannon Group and McEnearney Associates Realtors®, the leading real estate firm in Alexandria. To learn more about this article and relevant Alexandria market news, contact Joan at 703-507-8655 or email [email protected]. You may also submit your questions to McEnearney Associates via email for response in future columns.

Question: Should you decorate your home while it is on the market during the holiday season?

Answer: You may have a dilemma in trying to decide what to do — should you or shouldn’t you decorate? How much or how little can you decorate? Will you offend a prospective buyer if you decorate? The intersection at which the holidays and real estate meet can be a particularly stressful one. And while there are many factors that go into your decision such as cost, time and personal preference, I recommend first taking into account your family’s wishes and expectations.

For more than seventeen years, I’ve shown and listed hundreds of homes in Alexandria and neighboring areas during the holiday season and I’ve developed a list of suggestions for homeowners.

Unless you are traveling away from home for the holidays, you may be pining for your ole’ favorites and wishing to decorate up a storm, as usual. Almost everyone loves the added charm and magic we bring into our homes in the month of December and there are ways to use this brief time as an opportunity to showcase your home in its most spectacular light.

Very often, a home is its most beautiful during the holiday season and your efforts can bring a buyer to the table if you keep these helpful hints in mind:

  • Minimize your decorations. A little holiday decorating goes a long way, especially when your home is on the market. Remember, you aren’t decorating for a magazine shoot and buyers want to see the bones of the house without having to move your decorations.
  • Focus your efforts. Even if you skip a tree but want to have that holiday “feel” choose a special focal point such as the mantel(s) or a stairway and decorate that area. For instance, you may choose to decorate the mantels with fresh greens, pinecones, white candles, holly and red berries and suddenly you’ve brought your home into the holiday spirit without even opening the door to the attic. A visit to your neighborhood florist or garden center for a few items can give your home the sights and scents of the season.
  • Perhaps, the front door, entry or porch is where you’d like to focus your holiday decorations. Choose a fresh green wreath with new holiday ribbons and use fresh garland trim around the front door. Check out the Heather and Greens Sale (December 6-7) at The Campagna Center for some fresh boxwood, pine and heather.
  • “Sprinkle” some of the other rooms with a few hints of the special holiday season but don’t go full bore with them. A holiday pillow or candle is usually enough to keep the theme going.

  • You may have all the trimmings for every room in the house but it’s better to let half or more of your decorations take a hiatus this year. You’ll appreciate them more when you see them again next year.
  • Be consistent with color. Choose a color scheme and stick with it. It doesn’t matter if your holiday scheme is red and green, blue and silver or another seasonal single color or combination so long as you keep it consistent.
  • This may not be the year to show off your carefully curated collection of vintage Santa Clauses or inflatable yard ornaments, but you can bring out some special items that sparkle and shine while keeping you in the holiday spirit. Consider a year with only your most favorite and treasured pieces and then cut them by half. Remember, absence makes the heart grow fonder!
  • The goal is not for buyers to be attracted to your things, but to see the unique beauty of your home during this very special time of year. When I hear buyers discussing where they will put the holiday tree, I know they are truly envisioning themselves in that house.

If you would like more suggestions or would like to set up an appointment to discuss your thoughts on buying or selling a home please contact Joan Shannon at [email protected] or call her at 703-507-8655.

If you would like a question answered in our weekly column or to set up an appointment with one of our Associates, please email: [email protected] or call 703-549-9292.

McEnearney Associates Realtors®, 109 S. Pitt Street, Alexandria, VA 22314. www.McEnearney.com Equal Housing Opportunity. #WeAreAlexandria

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