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Selling your house: don't skip holiday decor

Keeping your holiday decorations simple is the key to having a festive house for sale.By Mindy Baxter

Selling your home during the holiday season can be an added stress, but professional home stager Barbara Pilcher says you should be careful not to let a Grinch’s attitude show in your home.

The North Carolina-based Pilcher says holiday decorations shouldn’t be skipped when selling your home during the holiday season. She suggests keeping your decorations simple.

“To avoid decorating entirely would give buyers the impression you don’t enjoy your home,” she said. “There are plenty of options for handsome, generic but still festive decorations to mark the season.”

Also, know going in how you plan on decorating.

“Decide early in the season how much time, attention and money you want to put into holiday decor,” she said. “Keeping a home on the market ‘show-ready’ is demanding enough, so don’t add to the stress at this already busy time of year.”

Highlight features

“Decorate for the holidays the same way you staged — with an eye toward prospective buyers,” Pilcher says. “This means that decorations will emphasize the home’s best features, not detract or distract from what buyers need to notice when they tour the home.”

For example, if the best view in your house is a large bay window, don’t block it with a Christmas tree. If your home is small, go for a tabletop tree. Or if your ceilings are high, go for a tall tree that calls attention to the ceiling height.

Think focal point

Pilcher suggests starting with a festive front door. Whether a wreath, evergreen or string of lights, that focal point will be what buyers see from the street.

Inside the house, a garland on a staircase or a bowl of ornaments can add just the right festive touch.

Don’t crowd

If you do put up a Christmas tree, consider re-arranging furniture to make sure the home’s traffic pattern is not disturbed and that people touring your home have plenty of room.