Charleston, SC Posts


Christmas decorations in MLS photos-To be or not to be?

It's always a tough call to put a home on the market during Christmas holidays because sometimes allDining room before staging those decorations can get in the way and be quite distracting.  Recently, one of our home listings in Dorchester County in North Charleston in Archdale subdivision had a makeover by CSP Elite students, now graduates, led by premier home stager and instructor, Melissa Marro.  The students worked extremely hard and this home had major improvements just in the way of decluttering. This is the before photo to the right.  The photo actually doesn't look that bad but I always prefer a "neutral" photo.  Below is a photo of the dining room after the decluttering project was complete.  The Christmas tree still bothers me, but I realized it is the holidays and it's a tough obstacle to overcome this time of year.  I certainly don't want to take anyone's Christmas.  Regardless, this room looks larger, cleaner and brighter after the small changes.

North Charleston house for sale Dining room staged


I give kudos to the staging team who sent me these photos.  This next photo shows the importance of having a wide angle lens.  An important move to always consider when taking photos is to consider different angles and take photos from different sides of the room. Each angle can showcase different benefits such as the flow of a room.

I love this 3rd photo because it still shows off the formal dining room but also shows off the openness to the Family Room and it removes the Christmas tree. Viola!! Problem solved.  And this 3rd photos will be good long after December comes and goes.


What do you think?  How do you feel about Christmas decorations in MLS photos?

North Charleston house for sale Dining room staged

This home is located in Archdale subdivision just minutes from CAFB.  It has 3 bedrooms and 3 full baths, 1822 sqft with 2 car garage. It's priced to sell at $160,000! If you would like more information about this house, contact the CRE Team at  

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Contact Michele Reneau, Top Real Estate Agent, North Charleston, SC Relocation Expert, CRS, GRI, ABR. 843-814-6680. Michele Reneau is a Certified Staging Professional Elite Instructor and teaches agents how to use staging to maximize their real estate business and Help Sellers Protect their Equity using Home Staging while earning the CSP Elite designation. This class will also focus on helping agents overcome staging objections while emphasis the value and reduction of carrying costs for sellers.  Michele is a Certified Residential Specialist with a top real estate team in Charleston, SC.  Featured on HGTV's House Hunters and Real Estate Executive MagazineRESA 2009 and 2010 Staging Realtor of the Year Nominee. The Charleston Relocation Experts Team specializes in military relocation, first time homebuyers and creating marketing exposure to sell your home in the Charleston SC Real Estate market.  Michele can also be contacted by email at

Michele Reneau, ABR, GRI, CRS

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Comment balloon 9 commentsMichele Reneau • December 15 2009 08:55PM


I don't think they are a problem.  However after the holidays if the house is still for sale the photos should be redone without the decorations to keep the house from looking stale.

Posted by Pat Fenn (Marketing Specialist for CJ Realty Group/Cindy Jones Broker ) about 8 years ago

Today I was laughing with a fellow realtor about an MLS listing where the big inflatable Santa and reindeer in the front yard were in a big deflated lump that looked like the yard was littered with refuse and old toys. I think it would have been better to turn the lights on and inflate Ol St. Nick!

Posted by Barbara Le Pine, Your agent for the Central Oregon Coast! (Advantage Real Estate, serving Lincoln County) about 8 years ago

Michele, the only problem with using holiday decorations in any staging photos is that it kind of dates the listing.  It's like taking your outdoor shots in the snow, then the listing lasts until after the thaw.  And it's like a lot things, if the decorations are tasteful that's fine.  But I've seen a few really gaudy blow up Santas in exterior staging shots that I hope the listing agents will update around the 1st of the year.

Posted by Patricia Kennedy, Home in the Capital (RLAH Real Estate) about 8 years ago

I am not a fan of thematic staging. You are accenting the home for its finest qualities, not decorating. I agree with Patricia in that it totaly dates the listing. A subtle seasonal decor here or there is ok. Besides, deflated Santas are a child's worst nightmare ;))

Posted by Lori Kim Polk, Home Stager - Roseville, Sacramento ( Premiere Home Staging : Home Staging Services) about 8 years ago

I do it and then change the photo back afterwards, it shows the sellers that I am not lazy or that I am doing something and sometimes that is enough.

Posted by Charles Stallions, 800-309-3414 - Pensacola, Pace or Gulf Breeze, Fl. (Charles Stallions Real Estate Services ) about 8 years ago

Pat-While agent may not see it as a problem, sometimes the extra clutter can get in the way for buyers viewing the property.  All the extra stuff can make it harder for a buyer to visualize a space, especially if it is already small. But definitely important to retake photos after the holidays are over with.

Barbara-Ouch! That could be a turn off in photos.  At least it gave you a good laugh.

Pat-I agree it does date a listing. I always love seeing those Christmas decorations pics in June. :)

Lori-When it comes to staging, I would think Christmas could be a nightmare for stagers with all the extra clutter and distractions. 

Charles-Always a good move to head out and retake photos. I always retake photos too when spring comes around to update a winter listing.

Posted by Michele Reneau, Realtor, GRI ~ Charleston, SC Relocation Experts Team (Certified Staging Professional (CSP) Elite Instructor) about 8 years ago

I agree that the Christmas decorations can date the listing so if you can only afford one set of photos > no decorations. However, I think small touches of seasonal decorations can help the buyer imagine enjoying that occasion in the home. I do a lot of occupied consults and sellers want to be able to celebrate. I advise them to keep the decorations to a minimum and hold off on the tree at Christmas until the last minute since it will eat up valuable space.

Posted by Janice Ankrett, Staging Professional (Janice Ankrett Home Staging) about 8 years ago

Janice-I agree. I don't expect a seller not to celebrate. I just think it can be tough for a seller who is use to going overboard to temper it down. Generally, it's not a problem since we don't take a lot of listings in December as most sellers want to wait or don't want to be bothered with showings during the holiday season. But sometimes decorations can be overwhelming and get in the way of seeing the space. I do agree that done tastefully, it can help a buyer also.

Posted by Michele Reneau, Realtor, GRI ~ Charleston, SC Relocation Experts Team (Certified Staging Professional (CSP) Elite Instructor) about 8 years ago

As long as the Realtor updates the photo right after the holidays (with a holiday free themed photo), then the photo can be used. The holiday photo needs to be tastefully done with a limited amount of holiday decorations.

 I really do not like to see a snow covered front lawn with snow man in July on the MLS; it tells buyers the home has been sitting for 6 months.

Posted by Kate Talarico, RESA, Top Orange County Home Decorator & Stager (Kates Home Staging and Interior Design) about 8 years ago

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