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RISMEDIA, Dec. 15, 2008-Holidays-and the religious or non-religious implications that go with them-can get very personal, which goes against one of the major rules when showing your home-keep everything impersonal. Finding a balance can be difficult for homeowners that are trying to sell, but still want to celebrate the season. OptHomeTM, an online resource for empowering homeowners, buyers and sellers to make smart decisions for all their homeowner needs is offering these open house do’s and don’ts to help show your clients’ homes during the holidays:

DO keep decorations to a minimum. You don’t want to take away or cover up important selling features (stairs, windows, fireplaces).

DON’T crowd your home with decorations.

DO consider getting a smaller tree. Having a ten foot tree in your home when potential buyers come can be overwhelming-and a large tree will make the room look smaller because of the space it uses.

DO draw attention to the outside of your home by infusing some color in the landscape. Plant or position mums or poinsettias near the front entrance of your home.

DON’T decorate your exterior more than two weeks in advance and do not leave holiday decorations up for more than two weeks after the holiday.

DO take your neighborhood into account. If everyone on your street is decorated to the nines, add a few lights to the outside of your house-but don’t overdo it. While the lights will show well at night, they will do nothing during the day and too many lights on the outside of a house can be an eye sore.

DO put out a festive holiday welcome mat. It won’t be the first thing buyers notice, but it’s a nice touch.

DON’T use holiday lawn ornaments-enough said.

DO try to stick to “winter” themes rather than a particular holiday. Use pinecones or evergreen to set a holiday feel for a wreath on the door or centerpiece for the dining table.

DO create a warm, holiday atmosphere inside by replacing white light bulbs with amber colored ones.

DON’T forget to clear away ice and snow from all walkways, the driveway and all entrances to your home (this includes decks, patios or sliding doors).

DO play music during an open house, but avoid Christmas carols. Instrumental music is a nice touch.

DO put out some holiday treats. No matter the holiday people celebrate, most will appreciate a plate of cookies and apple cider. Add some festive napkins and you give a holiday feel without being overwhelming.

DO keep the temperature in your home at a warm comfortable level. If you have a fireplace, light a fire during the open house.

For more information, visit or call 1-888-765-MYHOME.