10 Secrets to Selling Your House During the Holidays


Yep! You stepped in it alright. The Holidays are crazy-busy enough, and now you have to get the house ready to sell, look for a new home, reassure the kids (and pets) that this is going to be a good thing and they will love the new place, and keep a sense of humor as you deal with the stress hitting you from every direction.

Everyone will have their opinions about how to go about this. I have personally gone through this myself as well as helped friends struggle through these murky waters. Realtors and many home stagers will tell you to remove every article in sight that even hints that “real people live here”.

But come on guys, it’s the holidays! You just can’t have the holidays without surrounding yourself with those things that are very personal, sentimental, and maybe even a little tacky.

Here’s the secret: Balance. It’s all about balance. You might be thinking, “Well, obviously, Trina, but HOW do I balance it?” Read on, frazzled homeowner. Here comes advice from those who have been there and lived to tell about it.

  1. Accept help from anyone willing to give it. Hire help, if you’re so blessed.

  2. Be realistic. There’s ideal and there’s practical when getting your house ready to sell. Be practical and you’ll stay sane. This goes for holiday entertaining, decorating, and shopping, too.

  3. Start prepping for the move ASAP. It can take months to get the house in show- shape, let alone attend to every little maintenance project you were going to get to “one day”. When feeling overwhelmed, refer to number 2 above.

  4. Pack, sell, donate, and clean more than you think you should. Did I mention accept help every chance you get?

  5. Grab a laundry hamper or large plastic tub and use it for those short notice showings. You can just toss everything in it so your counters and floors are clear, and throw it in your car. We have even been known to buy a new trash can for the garage or yard and use that to toss everything into! No one is going to be lifting the lid and looking in there.

  6. Have a little bucket for quick cleaning. Include things like all-purpose cleaning wipes, a Febreze-type room spray, magic erasers, and sandwich bags to toss small items/ toys into before tossing them into your go-basket.

  7. DON’T listen to those telling you to make your house a sterile museum. Leave a few family pictures out that express pure joy. It’s a good thing if buyers see that your house holds love and happiness!

  8. DON’T worry about getting cards/letters out. Your friends and family will still love you, and they’ll enjoy getting pictures of you at your new place with your new address AFTER the New Year. Everyone understands that you’ve been insanely busy.

  9. DO make it a priority to spend time playing with your kids and pets. DO make it a priority to spend time laughing with your spouse. This is the best therapy you could give and get right now.

  10. DO decorate for the holidays. But please follow a few tips.

Chances are pretty good that you aren’t the only ones feeling a little extra stress. Your buyers are, too. Having a home that is welcoming, warm, organized, and lovely will definitely be endearing to the weary home buyer. And really, when are our homes more warm and welcoming than when they are decorated well for the holidays?

And here’s how to do it.

  1. Keep in mind that the HOUSE needs to stay the star of the show. Buyers can enjoy the holiday joy your decorating brings, but do not create clutter or distractions from the home’s natural beauty and focal points.

  2. Make sure your walkway and front door are clean and styled simply and classic.

  3. Buy a new welcome mat and put a live, fresh wreath on your door. The scent is a great way to welcome your guests and sets the tone for the rest of the showing.

  4. Have your exterior Christmas lights on for showings, even during the day. Keep it simple and classic. Don’t go crazy with the lights, just enough to “say hello”.

  5. Do all of your favorite holiday traditions with the kiddos, including decorating the tree. Just decorate lightly this year. It might even be a fantastic excuse/opportunity to finally purge all the decorations that are old, broken, or you don’t love but have kept all these years for whatever reason. It may be time to pass them on to someone who will love them. Bonus: less to pack and move!

  6. As much as possible, choose one color scheme that compliments the rest of your house.

  7. Keep the holiday rugs, towels, and silk poinsettia’s packed away. Keep your collection of nutcrackers, Santas, Buyers people, Christmas coffee cups, whatever you might collect toned down. Choose your favorite 3 and display them as the focal décor in a room.

  8. It’s fine to have Christmas music playing softly.

  9. Leave cookies or treats out with a little welcome note, and maybe a few bottles of water. It is the best time of year to spread good cheer, after all.

  10. Try to have all the Christmas décor put away before January 1st.

Moving is always full of emotion. So are the Holidays. Please be patient with each other and realistic with what you can get done with the time and money you have. Pay attention to how the children and pets are feeling. They might need a little extra reassurance and love as their sense of home and security are being bumped around right now. Your family should always be your priority, and you are absolutely allowed to celebrate this season of love with them.