If you are trying to sell your home this December you may be wondering how you should decorate to maintain your home’s appeal to buyers. How much tinsel is too much for the inquisitive house-viewer?
As homes and streets across the UK come alive with lights, tinsel, fake snow, inflatable Santas and robotic reindeers, the mortgage experts at Bankrate UK investigated if Christmas style can put potential buyers off.
We spoke to buyers and renters* from across the UK to ask whether they have ever been put off a property because of its choice of festive decor, and if so, what was the worst offender?
And the answer is yes. In fact, 60% admitted they had been put off a property because of their choice of Christmas decorations.
Large inflatable Christmas characters were the worst offenders with more than 1 in 4 saying it was this type of decor that had made a property less appealing.
In joint second were electronic characters, such as reindeer or a waving Santa, and religious scenes which put off nearly a quarter of property viewers.
Next are garish and cluttered internal Christmas decorations with 22% saying they avoided a property with this type of decor.
Also on the list were excessive external lighting with 1 in 5 property viewers claiming to have been put off a property that didn’t get their lighting right.
Nisha Vaidya, Mortgage Expert at Bankrate UK, said: “With 2020 being the ‘annus horribilis’ for many, it’s little wonder that households across the UK are getting into the festive spirit early this year. But while decorations are wonderful, homeowners looking to sell their property in December should be mindful that buyers may not have the same taste in festive decor.
“For example, too many decorations can make a property appear small and cramped or can be too distracting for buyers who are trying to envision themselves in the home. Sellers should consider their buyers when decorating for Christmas.”
To help you sell your home this Christmas, Bankrate UK has put together tips for decorating including what to include and what to avoid.
Take photos of your property before you start decorating. That way, if your house is still for sale in the New Year, the photos will not look dated as they would if they still featured a Christmas tree and wreath.
Christmas decor can also make the property look cluttered and visually shrink the size of a room. By keeping each room clean and clutter free for your photos you will avoid the property appearing smaller than it is.
Christmas just wouldn’t be the same without your tree but if your property is a little more compact than some, you could decorate a smaller tree instead to avoid reducing the appearance of space in your home.
Or, if you are lucky to have a room with high ceilings, a Christmas tree is a great way to show off the ceiling’s height.
Whichever size tree you opt for, you will want to ensure they are well put together with a minimalist and neat design.
As well as making a room look cluttered and smaller, leaving your Christmas presents under the tree leaves you vulnerable to thieves.
Although it is nice to see your presents under the tree, it is best to keep those locked away until the big day.
During Christmas, many homeowners will make the mistake of decorating their interiors with too many garlands, holiday cards, tinsel and snow-sprayed windows.
Cluttering your house with such items can easily distract your buyers and reduce the property’s selling potential. For example, snow-sprayed windows can block out valuable natural light which most sellers want and too many Christmas cards can make a room look messy.
Keep these items away whilst you have potential buyers viewing the property.
The trick with your outdoor decorations is keeping everything simple and elegant.
Keep your inflatable Santa, snowmen and robotic reindeers out of sight until your property has been sold and instead, choose to hang a decorative wreath on the front door.
When selling your property at Christmas it is best to avoid too many festive lights attached to the exterior of your home as this can negatively change the overall look of the property.
You could instead opt for a string of gold or white lights along your guttering or even some lights neatly wrapped around your tree.
Although you do not want to overpower your home with Christmas scents of cloves and cinnamon, lighting some subtle candles or spritzing a little room spray is a nice extra touch for those coming to view your property.
There is nothing more inviting than finding a roaring fireplace awaiting you on a cold winter's night.
This is a simple way to make your visitors feel warm and at home as well as showing them what their cold nights could look like for the rest of winter.
If you are someone who just can’t resist decorating your property from floor to ceiling with decorations, you could always take photos of your property before you decorate and then save your viewings until the New Year when your home is back to normal.
This way, you can enjoy Christmas in the way you want to without the worry of deterring potential buyers.
Additionally, if you know your neighbours will have a spectacular light display, it may also be a good idea to leave your property viewings until the New Year.
You may find that the noise and extra traffic from people driving by to see Christmas displays can deter those who have viewed your property during Christmas.
At Bankrate UK we understand selling your property can be a difficult time to navigate.
Our guides on should I remortgage, searching for a property and buying a house can help you understand your options. If you're ready to buy your next house, it may be worth seeing how much you can borrow by comparing mortgage deals.
*Bankrate UK surveyed 1000 people to ask whether they had been put off buying or renting a property because of a selection of Christmas decorations. The survey was carried out between 25 Nov – 27 Nov 2020.