Your Home is Listed: To Decorate or Not?

      If your home is on the market, you may be wondering if you should decorate at all this holiday season. Real Estate Expert Tammy Beckley shared her thoughts on how best to show your home this time of year.

      Don't overdo it on the decorations: Keep your holiday decor simple this year. Let the charm of your living room shine with just a perfectly trimmed tree. A lovely wreath on the front door and other simple things like that. This is not the year to bring out 20 years worth of boxes filled with gobs of holiday collectibles. Make sure to remove your regular home decor before adding the holiday decor you replace it with. Never just pile more holiday decor on top of or around your regular home decor.

      Bring on the delicious smells or "sensory staging" Holiday foods like spiced cider, pumpkin pie and baked apple/cinnamon things are about as comforting as smells get. It certainly will help to do some sensory staging to create a sense of comfort and cheer. Don't forget: if your holiday home is a candle-lit home, make sure you leave no candles burning if you clear your family out for showings.

      Let extended family host this year: Consider allowing other family members to host large meals and functions to lighten the load this year. See if you can have an arrangement for drop by visits with close friends or family if your home is suddenly being shown and you have nowhere to go. Have some fun activity ideas in mind for the whole family to participate in while your home is being shown. Take the kids to see the latest holiday movie. Go out for ice cream or take a walking tour of neighborhood lights and decorations!

      Showcase warmth, lighting and add some summertime photos: Remember that dreary winter days can make even the prettiest house and showing take on a gray cast; counteract this by making sure your home is well-lighted and -heated. Also, buyers love to see how your home looks throughout the seasons so consider placing a nice brochure or photo album with pictures of your home when your yard is bursting with Springtime color somewhere highly visible for buyers to take a peek at.

      Make sure your home is easily accessible: Homes that don't get shown don't get sold. There are many listings that are vacant, so they can be shown anytime. Don't make it difficult for agents to get their clients into your home - if they have to make appointments way in advance, or can only show it during a very restrictive time frame, they will likely just cross your place off the list and go show the places that are easy to get into.

      Buyers and Sellers are more serious this time of year: No one really wants to have their home listed during the holidays or shop for homes. This means the people that do are usually serious buyers and sellers. Sometimes a job transfer, end of lease or personal circumstance require plunging into making a sale in the dead of winter. Although that means there will be fewer buyers looking, the ones that are will be ready to purchase. In addition, as a seller you'll have a chance to stand out because this is usually the lowest time of year for our inventory of listings. Take advantage of that.