Real Estate Roundtable: Neutral vs. Seasonal: Finding the Balance in Holiday Home Staging

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As the air turns crisp, we are headed right into the holiday season, faster than perhaps we even want to realize. Halloween is just weeks away and Thanksgiving, Chanukah and Christmas will be here before you know it. When it comes to houses on the market, we wondered, should owners dress their place up? We asked some of the top Hamptons real estate agents to weigh in. Is it best to keep things neutral? Or do decorations make a house feel more like a home?

Yorgos Tsibiridis

Yorgos Tsibiridis, Compass

“Keeping the house neutral — without too many decorations — shows how the house will look yearround. The Hamptons is historically a summer and weekend destination, and buyers would like to envision how the house would look during the summer and throughout the year. As such, I find it best to celebrate the holidays through other means, keeping the decorations neutral in an effort to be inclusive to all backgrounds, and giving buyers a view of what their potential home will look like most of the time.”

 

 

 

Gioia DiPaolo

Gioia DiPaolo, Douglas Elliman

“I love fall decorations! Autumn elicits feelings of nostalgia, and anticipation for all the wonderful things to come: colorful landscapes, cozy fires, holidays, family time. Curb appeal is always an important aspect in the sale process. I usually advise sellers to enhance the house’s entrance with seasonal potted flowers, topiary and such, and autumn provides an exceptional opportunity with pumpkins adding a great shot of color.”

 

 

 

Anthony Rosina

Anthony Rosina, Sotheby’s International Realty 

“With the colder weather fast approaching, the holiday season provides an ideal opportunity to highlight some of the warmer traits and characteristics of a property on the market. Adding tasteful holiday décor to the exterior of a home can be a fun, creative and inexpensive way to generate charm, especially when the flowers and vegetation of summer are on hiatus. The same reasoning can be applied to interiors as well. Stringing colorful garland or holly across a tall window or fireplace mantle fosters holiday spirit while simultaneously showcasing some of the finer architectural details of a room. By striking the right balance, you can generate a space where prospective buyers can envision themselves living with their families and creating memories of their own. As long as you follow a few simple rules and don’t get tangled in tinsel, your client’s home can be the envy of the neighborhood and warm the heart of even the staunchest grinch.”

Judi Desiderio

Judi Desiderio, Town & Country Real Estate

“When pumpkins and mums dress a house for Halloween, it’s fun and inviting. When the front lawn is covered with 10-foot blow-up ghosts or a haunted staging, it may be over the top for many. As my father always said, “Too much of anything is no good!” Respect that everyone has different beliefs and tolerances, so if your home is on the market for sale, then tasteful neutral is best.”

 

 

 

 

Jennifer Friedberg

Jennifer Friedberg, Brown Harris Stevens

“Everyone loves the holidays in the Hamptons — crisp air, breezy beach walks and time to simply enjoy and relax. However, when it comes to holiday themed home décor, less is always more, especially for listing photos and videos — no seasonal décor should be included here. Keep it decluttered and depersonalized. As far as showings and open houses go, a few subtle touches are typically appropriate, yet religious flourishes should be avoided. A holiday touch here and there can make a house feel like a home — with warmth and personality. The key is not to have too much distracting from the home itself. Ultimately, sellers should focus on creating a clean slate for buyers to visualize themselves in their home. When it comes to an agent’s social media, posting holiday content here and there for the sake of remaining current, ontrend and on-brand with the property is suitable. Personally, I love creative seasonal flower arrangements, an array of candles, and clean and modern objets d’art paired with rich, cozy textures of pillows and throws.”

 

Ashley Farrell

Ashley Farrell, The Corcoran Group

“While decorations can be a fun and cheery way to celebrate, they aren’t necessarily the best idea when looking to sell your home. As a rule, I would not shoot a home’s listing photos with any seasonal décor present. Given the short-lived nature of the holiday season, if a seller does not find a buyer within that time frame their photos will look outdated and could end up costing them in the long run. As an agent, if it’s December and I am looking at photos with pumpkins on the stoop I immediately know the home has been on the market a while and I may be in a better position to negotiate on behalf of my clients. A few strategically placed decorations after photos have been taken is OK, but keeping it tasteful and simple is key. If you can avoid the clutter of the holiday season, you should. You want potential buyers to focus on the home’s architecture and unique features, not on the plastic skeletons in the foyer or the inflatable snow globe in the yard.”

 

Alexis “Lexi” Veryzer

Alexis “Lexi” Veryzer, NOFO Real Estate

“Every client is different and has their own traditions, religious holidays and times of the year they like to celebrate. Decorating the house can be fun and festive but it may not translate well for those looking for a home that they want to call their own. I recall driving by a house that was decorated for Halloween well before October 31 and thinking, “Well, that’s a bit much,” as ghosts were hanging from trees and there were numerous bright green and orange decorations throughout the yard and by the front door. There is a point where the decorations can become a distraction from the home and ultimately turn off serious buyers. Those ready to buy want to see the house in its natural form so they can picture their own possessions and style, transforming it into a home for them. It is best to stay neutral and possibly a few white lights during the holidays can create a sense of warmth but overall, when selling a home, don’t overdo it on the decorations. Instead, highlight the best features of the home by keeping it clean and spacious-feeling, without too much personal clutter.”

This article appeared in the October 2021 issue of Behind The Hedges. 

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