Homeowners across the country have hauled out the holly to deck the halls for the holidays. But if they're trying to sell their homes during this festive time of year, many real estate and staging pros may advise against decorating for the holidays to avoid turning off prospective buyers and making listing photos look dated once the holidays are over.
Don't want to be the Grinch who stole a home sellers' holiday décor spirit?
You're in luck. Some real estate pros have turned to virtual decorating tools to hide the décor and associated clutter that often comes with the holidays (think boughs of holly, dangling mistletoe, and mountains of gifts). For example, you can virtually remove holiday décor and clutter or change the décor of listing photos entirely. This way, homeowners can still decorate while real estate professionals can provide digitally enhanced photographs that appeal to the largest possible pool of prospective buyers, regardless of the season.
Let's say your client's home is fully decked out for the holidays.
In the next picture, VHT Studios, a national real estate photography and visual marketing company, used its Virtual Declutter tool to strip out some of the festive cheer and show the home with a more neutral appearance.
Other common requests that VHT Studios receives during the holidays: Removing the seller's large Christmas tree in the living room, the stockings over the fireplace, or the seasonal pillows and blankets. The holiday items are virtually swapped out for everyday décor.
VHT Studios also has done this for outdoor listing photos, some with décor styles that rival Clark Griswold's grand displays in "National Lampoon's Vacation." VHT has fielded pleas from real estate pros to digitally remove light displays, snowmen, and Santas from the front yard that block the view of the home.
Some real estate and staging pros are finding they no longer have to be the holiday Grinch—or have to add one more chore to the sellers' to-do list by asking them to physically clear out stuff during one of the busiest times of the year.
Still, homeowners need to know: Buyers aren't interested in seeing all of your stuff. Buyers want to picture their lifestyle in a home, and they expect all listing photographs to appeal to their tastes and interests.
This holiday season, if your homeowners are refusing to strip out some of the holiday cheer from their home, you might consider virtual tools to neutralize them. Then come 2020, your listing photos will still look perfectly in season.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: John Bosch is VP Product at VHT Studios, a national real estate photography and visual marketing firm.