While many believe the ideal time to list your home for sale is in the summer, the truth is that selling your home in the winter can be just as great. But like any other time of the year, it in your best interest to present your home in its best light. This is where beautiful staging and professional real estate photography plays an important role. However, you may be wondering if the holiday cheer will have to be put on hold as you put your home on the market this winter. The good news is it doesn’t have to. In fact, embracing the holidays and giving your home a festive feel could actually work to your advantage. To make sure you highlight your home’s best features this holiday season, we reached out to staging experts and professional real estate photographers for their advice. They revealed how you can make your home stand out in the housing market while still embracing the warm and cozy ambiance of the holiday season. So if you’re selling your home in the winter this year - you won’t want to miss out on their expert advice below:
CREATE A WARM AND COZY AMBIANCE TO EMBRACE THE HOLIDAY
Coziness is what makes a house a home. Adding extra pillows and throws during winter works wonders to create a cozy ambiance. Soft rugs should be used to hide hard flooring surfaces, such as wood or concrete. And don't be afraid to light the fireplace before showing a home - the smell and crackling of wood will further dial up the feeling of warmth, contentment, and relaxation.
- The Home Staging Institute
Create an emotional connection for the buyers. You can do this by making your house comfy and homey during the holidays. Help them imagine their current, or future, family cozying up in the living room on Christmas Day with some lovingly placed pillows and oversized throws on the couch.
- Jason McKenzie
Use layers of cozy textures. When the weather turns cold outside, it's important that interiors make you want to curl up inside. That means chunky, textured wool throws, fluffy pillows, and touches of fur Buyers want to fall in love with a space they can see themselves in, and what better way than providing various vignettes of coziness?
- Edit Home Staging
Take advantage of the cold outside to show the warmth of the home. Light a fire in the fireplace, drape blankets across the sofa, set out that warm cup of coffee on the kitchen breakfast table. These additions will allow homebuyers to create that emotional connection with the home.
- Mammoth Hammer Media
Fire it up. Who doesn’t want to imagine themselves relaxing with a glass of wine beside a cozy fireplace? Take advantage of the season and help buyers see themselves at home during your open house. Few things say “welcome home” like the warmth and sound of a crackling fire.
- Mint Condition Staging
When selling your home in the winter, nothing beats a warm and cozy experience. Give your home curb appeal, turn up the heat, and decorate both inside and out. Clear snow off of sidewalks, walkways, porches, and decks to give potential buyers safe access to your home.
- Savidge Media
Never underestimate the importance of a unique place setting. It can reflect the area, the current holiday, and more. It says “home.” When a table is left empty, subconsciously it leaves people feeling as if something (or perhaps someone) is missing. When it’s set, it’s far easier to imagine friends and family gathering. That’s the emotional connection we want to make with potential buyers.
- JKN Home Staging & Design
Stage your space so that potential buyers can imagine themselves celebrating the holidays there. Take advantage of the holidays and make your home cozy by adding throw blankets to chairs and lighting the fireplace. Turn up the holiday cheer by decorating with simple and festive decor to help potential buyers envision themselves celebrating the holidays in the home.
- Skye Fassett Photography
THINK SIMPLE AND SUBTLE WHEN STAGING YOUR HOME WITH HOLIDAY DECOR
Stage your holiday decor like you’d stage the rest of your home. Limit decorating to a small holiday display in an area of the house that won't make the room look too crowded. The exterior of the home should follow the same guideline and have a simple light display. Smaller displays will allow you to be more flexible when it’s time to market your home - it gives the photographer the ability to move some decoration for photos or avoid your holiday display all together.
Stick with the old adage, “less is more.” Implement timeless and classic pieces that enhance the exterior of your home. Choose live, organic elements that can withstand your winter climate and add a pop of rich greenery to your landscape.
Festive colors are a great way to subtly embrace the holidays. Staging is about appealing to the broadest audience possible and to help people envision themselves in the space no matter their belief system. You can introduce the holidays with deep, rich colors in pillows, blankets, and decor without screaming Christmas. This also keeps your listing photos relevant after the Christmas season.
Don’t overdo it. First, pick a theme. Then make sure to keep it simple. And, of course, keep it cozy and smelling like Christmas cookies.
Add a few subtle accessories for a festive feel. Remember the key to staging is less is more, but by adding a few red throw pillows, a bowl of pine cones, or ruby red apples, you can make the home feel festive yet not overdone. Bring in some red cinnamon candles and layer your furniture and bedding with warm reds, greens, and cream colors.
Use neutral, seasonal decorations without calling out a specific holiday. Evergreen garland and incandescent (not LED) white lights along the mantle of a lit fireplace will have potential buyers coming up with their own creative ways they would decorate the space as theirs. Make sure your photographer can showcase natural lighting while also capturing the clean true colors of the space.
Decorate cohesively. You can add little splashes here and there of holiday décor throughout the home, such as hand towels in the bathroom, kitchen towels, placemats, or a centerpiece on the dining room table. you can even add pretty throw pillows to your bed in the master bedroom. It doesn’t have to be too much or overbearing, just cohesive throughout the home.
HIGHLIGHT YOUR HOMES BEST FEATURES BY KEEPING IT LIGHT AND BRIGHT
Welcome buyers in with warm lighting and a bit of sparkle. Tuck copper wire LED twinkle lights into a large glass cake cloche, pair it with a cookbook opened to a tasty cookie recipe, a pretty rolling pin, and a few snowflake cookie cutters layered over a textured linen tea towel. A neutral staging base is the perfect palette for some holiday cheer.
Make it light, light, light. Make sure your holiday decor is as light in color as possible. You don’t necessarily need to add in reds and greens - make it festive and the color pallette light by adding silvers and metallics that actually reflect light. You can add in some liveliness by using string lights or other accent lighting.
Use fresh and simple decor to uniquely highlight areas in your home. Don't overwhelm your potential buyer with too much holiday clutter, but rather use it to creatively highlight spaces for holiday charm. Draw their attention to creative ways that they too might decorate the home for their future holiday seasons.
Don't forget to feature your home's storage areas. You’ll especially want to feature the garage if the home has one. I hardly ever see photos of the garage space, and that's something that can be a deal breaker for some home buyers. Also, capture a photo of the home at dusk to feature the exterior lighting.
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR IN YOUR LISTING PHOTOS
Make a good first impression. Most buyers start their homebuying journey online which means it’s critical to have great real estate photos. Buyers who search for homes online find photos to be among the most useful features when choosing a property to see.
Capture your home in its best light by having listing photos taken at various times throughout the day. Since the holiday season is a time of year when friends and family gather, you’ll want to present your home as a place that is warm and inviting. It's especially beneficial to have your home photographed either early in the morning or later in the day to capture the beautiful golden hour light. A twilight photo goes a long way in giving your home that extra special touch.
Warm up your home for listing photos. You can do this with a lit fireplace, some small stacks of birch wood, and cozy throws and pillows with neutral colors, but strong in texture, to present the home as inviting. Stay away from overly ornate and religious holiday decor as to not limit your buyer pool. And finally, simplicity is key. Using colors in your textiles like white and silver will brighten the space and dress up the home. Mixed metals and mirrored or mercury glass pieces will also really make your listing pop.
Highlight your entire property with drone photography. In today’s market, it’s a must-have for agents who want to show their clients that they are professional and will invest in the latest technologies to highlight their listing in its best light.
DON'T FORGET TO PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR HOMES EXTERIOR
Curb appeal, curb appeal, curb appeal. It’s just as important when selling your home during the holiday season as at any other time. Nicely-installed clear lighting on the porch, entry area, and around the base of the trees always lends an elegant look to the home. Be sure the shrubs are trimmed and that no dead leaves or branches are left on them.
Add greenery to your entryway. Using evergreen plants or branches adds color and life to your home. Fill containers with evergreen boughs and red or white branches for a classic look that can stay through the winter.
Thoroughly clean your home, both inside and out. Ensure all windows are cleaned prior to photos so potential buyers can clearly see through to the beautiful winter exterior. You should declutter your home and refrain from putting up too many holiday decorations in the event that your home is still on the market after the holidays. Be sure to clear the exterior and yard of any junk or debris, especially if you want aerial shots to showcase your entire property in a peaceful winter setting.
Exterior decorations should be kept to a minimum. You want to allow the photographer to capture your curb appeal and showcase that. We suggest decorating with lights rather than inflatables or statues. Lights won’t show as much on photos or during showings.
Originally published by Redfin