Thanksgiving means turkey and all the trimmings and family get-togethers and football and the Macy’s parade and eating until you can’t breathe. It also means you’re going to be seeing your neighbors up on ladders in the next few days putting up their holiday lights. If your house is currently for sale or if you’re considering listing it, you may be wondering whether you should bother at all with holiday decorations this year. In a word: yes. But there’s more to it than that. There’s a long way between Scrooge and The Griswolds.
“It’s hard to argue with the fact that glitter lights and colorful accents make a home look more cheerful and inviting,” said Realtor.com. “But you also probably know that if you’re trying to sell your home, buyers need to have an easy time imagining themselves (and their own holiday traditions) in your home.”
These tips will help you strike just the right balance.
Go ahead and put up lights
Being the only house on the street that isn’t decorated could leave potential buyers feeling uninspired and unmotivated to purchase – or even come inside. If putting up holiday lights this year means heading to Target to buy new stuff, you’ll have numerous options: white lights, colored lights, snowflake shapes, icicles. Think clean, simple, and elegant to best accentuate your home.
Don’t overdo the lights
Putting up lights doesn’t mean you have to create a spectacle. Plastering every horizontal surface and wrapping every tree and bush with lights may read festive, but people who are out home shopping at this time of year are likely serious about buying. And they want to see your house, not how many lights you own.
“You want them to be impressed with your house, not distracted by decorations,” said Forbes. “So keep it simple this year. If minimizing the ‘ho ho ho’ cramps your style, just remind yourself that you can go all-out next year in your new home.”
Another thing to consider if you’re buying new lights this year is what type of bulb to get. If you have had your existing lights for many years, you may not even realize how many LED options are available now. The benefit to LED bulbs is that they save energy, and therefore, money. They may cost a little more upfront, but if you are making an investment in lights you plan to use for years to come, it’s worth it.
Go ahead and pack up the inflatables
Keeping it simple definitely doesn’t include that big, inflatable Santa or The Grinch family or an entire lawn full of holiday-themed Peanuts characters.
“One man’s ‘merry’ is another man’s ‘tacky,’ so tone down any garish light displays while your home is on the market,” said HGTV. “(No, your neighbors didn’t pay us to say that.) Instead, use simple string lighting to play up your home’s architecture or draw attention to the gorgeous fir tree in your front yard.”
Address your entry
You don’t have to have a sweeping front porch to establish a warm welcome. Place a festive mini tree or cluster of poinsettias next to the door or hang a wreath to add a little holiday interest.
“Classic is always best: Hang an elegant wreath on the front door, rather than a ‘Santa stops here!’ sign, Jamie Novak, author of “Keep This, Toss That,” told Realtor.com
Go ahead and put up that tree
Putting up the tree may seem like a hassle when you’re focused on decluttering and keeping everything in your home extra clean this year, but think of it as staging. A well-placed and well-decorated tree will make the home feel nice and inviting at holiday time. Placing it in a window that allows it to show through to the street creates that Norman Rockwell feel that will tug at your buyers’ heartstrings.