REIQ regional director Damien Keyes. Picture: Evan MorganCHRISTMAS decorations are popping up all over Townsville as sales pick up in the year’s closing weeks. If you’re preparing your home for sale, here are a few things to remember when you’re bedecking the halls for the Christmas holidays. ■ Get photos done before putting up the decorations: A client is preparing their home for sale and they have gardeners arriving to trim the hedges and the photographer is booked in. Except they have also put out their Christmas decorations on the front of the house. The problem is if the house doesn’t sell until after Christmas (and in Townsville houses spend, on average, 68 days on the market) then the photos will date quickly.More from news01:21Buyer demand explodes in Townsville’s 2019 flood-affected suburbs12 Sep 202001:21‘Giant surge’ in new home sales lifts Townsville property market10 Sep 2020Prospective buyers looking at the pictures in March may wonder what’s wrong with the house if it hasn’t sold three months after Christmas, not realising that it’s very normal. ■ Avoid knick-knacks: Many people like decorating their home with Christmas knick-knacks, such as small reindeer statutes, nativity scenes and angels. Many agents and property stylists advise vendors to minimise clutter and remove all personal touches from the home so it resembles a blank canvas that the buyer can picture themselves living in. ■ Update the tree or decorations: If you’re hosting open-home inspections and you have the tree up already, perhaps take an objective look at it. Is it a bit ratty and bare? Consider buying a new tree with colour co-ordinated decorations to add a flourish to your home. ■ Gifts under the tree: This tip might seem a little obvious, but perhaps don’t put your wrapped gifts under the tree until you’ve finished hosting the last open home. ■ Use airconditioning: Christmas is the hottest time of year and if your home is cool when buyers enter it can create the impression of an oasis and makes it much easier to stay a bit longer as it’s comfortable and that gives us more time to show off your home’s selling points.Many people wrongly believe the market slows in late November before Christmas but it’s one of our busiest periods in Townsville. For those thinking of selling there are advantages to be on the market before the break and if you’re buying, you still have time to sign a contract and enjoy Christmas in the new property.