The answer used to be yes, everyone loves a house dressed for Christmas. But especially in a large metropolis like Los Angeles, we now have some good reasons to tone it down.
First is the viral nature of marketing: once a photo is uploaded to the Internet, it quickly goes to hundreds of sites and it’s not so easy to get them off. What if your house is still on the market on January 2? Now those colorful stockings hung from your mantel look kind of sad. If you’ve had professional photography, who needs the added expense of re-shooting photos without the holiday decor? Many people don’t even think of doing that.
Second, whatever your own holiday or religious persuasion, do you have any idea what your prospective buyers' are? What if you have your house all ready for Hanukkah and your potential buyer is Muslim? Or Hindu? Or Quaker? Your decorations might look like nothing more than clutter to them. And we know that the biggest 'don’t' is clutter. We want the buyer to see the house, not your personal expression of holiday cheer.
So have the house photographed with no holiday decorations at all so the house can be seen as fresh on the market in any season. If you want to have some decorations, be minimal. Wait till closer to the holiday to put up anything. In some traditions, the Christmas tree was not put up until Christmas Eve and it was taken down before New Year’s. Limit yourself to a wreath on the front door, a small table top tree, a nice centerpiece on the table. Say to yourself 'Less is More' whenever the urge to haul out every decoration you’ve saved for the last 5 years comes to your mind.
And remember, a nice plate of freshly baked cookies says a timeless Happy Holiday any time of the year.