As you consider the best way to sell a house, one thing to keep an eye on is the season. Depending on what time of year you choose to list your property, you may run into some unique challenges or opportunities, including some distinct concerns involving your staging and home decor. The fall season is a good example of this. Many homeowners deck their listings with pumpkins, scarecrows, and other seasonally festive ornamentation.
But it's worth stepping back to ask whether fall decor actually helps you get the place sold, or whether it makes it harder to get a buyer on the line.
Considering Fall Decor
Ultimately, most staging experts agree that staging your listing with fall decor is valuable -- as long as you do so judiciously. Remember that the point should be to make your property feel warm, cozy and inviting. If you decorate to the point that it feels cluttered or overwhelming, that's when you've gone too far.
While the end of the year holidays are exciting for some, whether it's for the spookiness at Halloween or the family bonding at Thanksgiving, it's always wise to consider that your prospective buyer may not share your enthusiasm for the season, even if your decor depicts more of a general harvest scene than alluding to any particular holiday.
You don't want your autumn decorations to be the focus, or to distract attention from the best selling points of your house. Instead, you want them to accentuate the space and help house hunters see your home's possibility and charm. To that end, a "less is more" approach is usually the right way to go as you decorate for the season but also prioritize getting your home sold.
Here are some additional tips for staging your home in fall decor:
-- Think about a fresh coat of paint.
-- Get the lighting right.
-- Emphasize coziness.
-- Accentuate the fireplace.
-- Don't forget seasonal scents.
-- Remember that curb appeal matters, too.
-- Don't go too far.
Think About a Fresh Coat of Paint
Take a look at your interior walls and ask yourself if they could benefit from some fresh new hues. You don't ever want to do anything too garish, and neutrality is always recommended, but something rich and bright can really help the accent pieces, such as pillows and art, pop. Consider shades like light caramels or creams to establish a classy and upscale setting.
Get the Lighting Right
Another important aspect of seasonal staging is managing your natural light. During the autumn, as the days get a little shorter and a little darker, you'll probably want to open up all the blinds, curtains and other window treatments, letting in as much natural illumination as possible.
When selling your home during fall, it's generally wise to make your home feel as warm and comforting as possible. Create an atmosphere that feels cozy and accommodating -- sometimes that's as simple as using plenty of plush pillows and generous throw blankets in your home decor. Also, lighting some decorative candles is a great way to give the home a cozy ambiance.
Accentuate the Fireplace
Does your home have a fireplace or hearth area, perhaps in the living or family room? If so, make that a focal point of your decor. Surround the fireplace and mantel with some tasteful seasonal decor, subtly but unmistakably drawing the eye. When it comes to conjuring a home-like atmosphere, a clean fireplace can truly be a stirring sight.
Don't Forget Seasonal Scents
Fall staging isn't just about colors and furniture. Scents matter, too. During autumn, you'll want to conjure pleasing, sentimental memories of home, something you can do by putting some apple cider on the stove or burning a cinnamon-scented candle. Even baking some cookies will do the trick. Whenever you can, opt for natural scents instead of artificial plug-ins -- buyers can smell the difference.
Remember That Curb Appeal Matters, Too
Fall decor isn't just a matter of what's going on inside the home. The exterior of the home can also benefit from a seasonal touch-up. Make sure your landscaping is fall-ready, even if that's as simple as removing old, dead plants, raking leaves and doing your best to keep the lawn edged and properly watered. Accentuate your front stoop with tasteful elements of autumnal decor, like a harvest-themed wreath or a nice pumpkin or two.
Don't Go Too Far
Remember, your goal should always be to accentuate your space, and to help buyers imagine themselves making their home in it. You want to aim for cozy without ever teetering into busy or kitschy. Make sure you exercise some restraint in choosing fall-themed decor, and don't ever invest in so much ornamental stuff that it makes the house feel too cluttered or claustrophobic.
Deanna Haas is the director of customer experience at SOLD.com, a first-of-its-kind educational resource and comparison engine for consumers researching and evaluating the many ways to buy or sell a home. SOLD.com's platform brings traditional agents and disruptive tech models all under one roof.
Haas' team advises homebuyers and sellers on how to make the most of their experience by connecting them with the optimal agent partner for their needs. With over 10 years of experience in the real estate industry, including previous roles at Zillow and Auction.com, Haas is an expert on the ins and outs of home sales.