How to Survive the Holidays in a Home for Sale

Surviving the holidays in a home for sale can be stressful. These tips can help! Your house is on the market... in December.

The holidays can be stressful enough (and, sure, lovely and warm and festive, too). But when you're trying to sell a home at the same time, the holidays may lose some of their cheer!

The "off-season" can be a good time to list your home. But if you do, here's how to survive the holidays in a home for sale.

1. Take photos before you put up the tree. Real estate photos should showcase the home at its best, in a way that feels timeless. Posting photos of your home decked out with tinsel and holiday decor can make those photos feel pretty dated, pretty fast! So be sure to take photos before hanging the lights and putting up the tree.

2. Speaking of decorations... go light this year. Put up the tree, put out the candles, put up that beloved Nativity scene from Grandma. But go light on the rest of your holiday decor. It means less clutter and less visual distraction for buyers who come through. Think "less is more" -- swap in holiday hand towels in your guest bath, hang an inviting wreath on your door, but make sure it doesn't look like Kris Kringle exploded all over your living room.

3. Don't host out-of-town company. Getting ready for an open house or a showing is hard enough when it's just your immediate family and your stuff you have to wrangle. It's a lot trickier when you have multiple house guests and all of their stuff, too! Consider alternate hosting arrangements, such as having company stay at a nearby B&B or with other nearby relatives.

4. Have a "showings plan" in advance. If you do host company over the holidays, map out a plan that you share with them in advance, in case their visit coincides with a showing or an open house. Plan out where you're going to stash their extra stuff (even if it means packing their suitcases and storing them in the trunk of your car!). Explain in advance that you'll need to spruce up and re-stage their room (including remaking their bed if need be, and stowing their toiletries in a cupboard). Pick a fun destination like a local museum or an ice skating park, so that you can turn the disruption into a fun family outing.

5. Pick your "off-limits days" and tell your Realtor. Don't want your Christmas traditions interrupted by a showing request? Tell your Realtor in advance which days are off-limits, so that you can focus on your family and friends without worry.