Lei Sun / iStock.com
If you’re trying to sell your home over the holidays, experts are highlighting a tip some homeowners may not know: Plugging in all those Christmas decorations can actually lower your home’s resale value.
See: “Alone at home”: the true cost of affording the big house and family holidays in Paris
Find: 3 things you need to do if you want to buy a house
It might seem a little counter-intuitive – after all, who doesn’t love to see those bright, twinkling Christmas lights shining through the cold, dark winter months? And who doesn’t smile when seeing dancing reindeer props and glittering snowmen at the windows? In fact, many people have a centuries-old tradition of driving through neighborhoods to admire the beautiful displays, just as they would window displays in vacation stores.
Christmas Decorations Can Actually Hurt Your Home’s Resale Potential
It’s all about the idea that “less is more”, according to Colby Short, CEO and founder of British property company Get Agent. Short recently spoke with Home Beautiful magazine about this perhaps little-known truth about vacation real estate.
“The reality is that potential buyers want to see what their potential home would look like for the remaining 50 weeks of the year,” he said. However, as Short concluded, “that doesn’t mean you can’t decorate” – it just means you have to do it the right way to “bring out the warmth, character, and charm of your home.” property”.
As for what to avoid, experts have suggested that Santa Claus, Rudolph, and other characters are a no-no because you want to avoid anything too cute or “garish.” Such decorations could also discourage potential buyers who do not celebrate Christmas.
Outdoor inflatables or an explosion of outdoor decor are also negatives. According to real estate expert Carol Peett, “Heavily decorated homes with lots of multicolored lights and Christmas decorations, like Santa coming down the chimney and reindeer in the yard, can definitely devalue a home.”
Keep it simple and neutral, despite the holiday season
Instead, experts advised keeping it simple and neutral when staging your home. Rather than colorful Christmas bulbs in all shades of the rainbow, stick to clean, classic white lights. Rather than over-the-top outdoor setups, opt to light up a manicured garden with those same white lights. Tasteful ribbons and glass embellishments are also suggested to bring sophistication and hint at more expensive taste.
“At any time of the year, we advise potential sellers to think about how they stage their home before putting it on the market. No one wants to see a lot of personal clutter or general clutter when viewing a property for purchase. Less is more and viewers want to see a property for what it is, not what someone else has made of it. In many ways, this is even more the case at Christmas,” advised real estate expert Chris Chapman.
Keep your home clutter-free when selling
This also extends to not disguising any key features of your home with lots of decoration like a beautiful staircase or a fireplace mantel. And, said Short, make sure you don’t block natural light from entering, as one might with a giant tree placed in front of a window. On the other hand, the scent of a natural tree can be inviting for any open house you have planned during the season.
These tips can be very helpful in a tough market. According to Zillow, the slowest months for real estate transactions are during the winter for obvious reasons, especially with many people distracted by holiday activities. Although there is less competition in the marketplace, buyers are likely to receive “lowball offers” and are less likely to receive multiple offers. It’s also harder to show off a home’s curb appeal on these often darker days with longer nights.
Take our survey: what is the first thing you would do if you won a lottery jackpot?
More: How Long Will A $1 Million Retirement Last In Every State
Plus, think of all the money you’ll save if you turn off an overabundance of incandescent Christmas lights: about $7.40 a day (or $222 for the whole of December), per electricity rate.
More from GOBankingRates