By Amanda Ventura

Most homeowners trade their “For Sale” sign in their front yard for holiday decorations come the first signs of fall. However, HomeSmart Realtor Sammy Glassman says sellers should stay on the market just a bit longer.

Zillow has reported that buyers still actively look at homes during the fall and winter months, and buyers and sellers who actively list and look for homes during that time tend to be more serious. When demand is high for homes and competition is low, buyers and sellers are at their highest advantage. It’s not just the housing market that slows to an advantageous pace. Lending sees less action in November and December which means mortgages move faster. In January, everything picks up again.

Bonus: Buyers and sellers can take advantage of year-end tax benefits.
What can make selling a home tricky during this time of year are holidays. Staging a home is key here. A seller who doesn’t want to invest in staging his or her home during the tight-pocketed holidays should at least work with a real estate agent to make the home look clean, bright and large.

The best place to decorate for any holiday is the dining room, suggests Glassman.
“You can bring the holidays into your home, but don’t overdo it,” she says. “Whether a seller uses a stager or not, de-cluttering is key. A home should look like a model home and often sellers don’t need to pay the high prices of staging to achieve that look.” Glassman’s tips for the holidays:

Pumpkin by front door
Pumpkin spice candle inside
Cobwebs in windows
Graveyard in front of house

Fall-themed table runner
Fall centerpieces
Tacky turkey décor
Leftover Halloween décor

Tastefully decorated tree or Menorah in living room
Life-sized nativity scene in front yard
Large display of homemade decorations

“You really want to be an equal-opportunity decorator,” Glassman says. “Put away the little tchotchkes and create a cozy vibe with a few subtle touches.”