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jiggreen

House on Market and Xmas Decor

jiggreen
14 years ago

With our home currently up for sale, I'm having a hard time deciding how much to decorate for Christmas. I've scaled back the decor to about 20% of what I normally do, and I'm wondering how everyone else who is selling their home during the holidays handles decorating.

I've decorated the mantle, put up my xmas village and I have a tree, but that it is it for the indoor decorations. I'm trying very hard not to clutter up the inside of the house with excess decorations. I have window candles in all of the windows and this year I used clear lights around the front porch, and a garland with clear lights hanging around the front door.

I'd love some input from everyone on how to handle decorating for the holidays while the house is on the market.

Thanks!

jiggreen

Comments (41)

  • georgiamomma
    14 years ago

    We bought our first house in early December - while the exterior of the house had a few decorations, the inside was full on with a beautiful tree, angels, nutcrackers, the whole nine yards - it looked great! I think it really helped sell the house to us, because it looked so homey. After we moved in, the house looked so stark, and I really missed the previous owners' Christmas decor!!

  • lorrainebecker
    14 years ago

    What you've done sounds just right - homey and inviting, but not so cluttered as to be distracting.

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  • lynnski
    14 years ago

    I think the main point is just like any other component of preparing your home for sale. You want the buyers to easily envision THEIR furnishings and THEIR family in the home. It sounds like you've done a nce job of limiting your Christmas palette. Lights in the windows sound nice.

    Personally, I would be very turned off by the house georgiamomma describes. It's important to remember that there are a great many people--Jews, Muslims, atheists, Buddhists, Jehovah's Witnesses--in all parts of the US who don't celebrate Christmas at all.

  • clg7067
    14 years ago

    This was just covered on Oprah last week. (Yes, I Tivo Oprah, justincase.) The expert said use minimal formal decorations, like for the tree, use all one color ornament. The main thing was not to go overboard with a mishmash of stuff.

  • laura1202
    14 years ago

    clg7067 wrore: The expert said use minimal formal decorations, like for the tree, use all one color ornament. The main thing was not to go overboard with a mishmash of stuff.

    But this is what a seller should be doing anyway, minimizing "stuff", eliminating clutter, maximizing space, etc. (Although I disagree with the all one color ornament thing unless that is what you usually do, it's still the sellers home.) Personally I would not change decorations to accomodate a potential buyer's *possible religious preference unless they were completely over the top to start with.

  • talley_sue_nyc
    14 years ago

    I don't know what we'll do about a tree; for sale purposes, I'd be tempted to not do one. Not sure how DH and the kids will go for that, and anyway, we're only "sort of" still on the market.

    What *I* can't figure out what to do with is all the PRESENTS--esp. before they're wrapped.

  • sharon_sd
    14 years ago

    In addition to being a religious celebration, Christmas is a national cultural celebration. Friends of mine who do not celebrate Christmas as a religious festival because they are other religions (Jewish and Muslim) still get in the cultural Christmas mode at this time of year. They decorate in a fashion that does not offend their religion. (Actually, as a Christian, I find the overwhelming emphasis on Santa rather offensive.) Winter decorations such as a snowy village are not religious.

    A gaily decorated house with a minorah, or Santa, or a creche, or a tree, or snowflakes, or bright Carribean drapings, or even sophisticated tinsel stuff, would just make me feel happy, not offended. I think it would put me more in the buying mood.

  • jay06
    14 years ago

    I scaled back my decorating, too. Usually, I decorate our large front porch with lighted garland, place lighted wreaths in all our front windows, place lighted wreaths around the garage sconces, and put lights on the bushes. This year, I just placed one large lighted wreath on the porch wall, a wreath on our front door, lighted candles in the windows, and a simple garland around the front entrance. Inside, I only have a wreath and garland on the fireplace and a centerpiece on the dining room table and the kitchen island. I'll be putting up a tree and considered doing the single-color ornament thing, but my kids would be bummed not seeing their favorite ornaments when they come home from college. They're already sick of this home-selling stuff as it is! I think I'll buy a smaller tree than usual, though, so it doesn't overwhelm the size of the family room.

  • xamsx
    14 years ago

    Something else to consider on the exterior is what the rest of the neighborhood does. If "everyone" decorates, you may look odd without anything.

    While you absolutely want to appeal to the greatest number of buyers possible, the Christmas season completely saturates the last two weeks of December and the beginning of January. Unless you celebrate Little Christmas, I'd have the stuff down ASAP inside after the first. The outside removal would depend on the weather.

  • cordovamom
    14 years ago

    Although we sold a previous home in November, well before the Christmas season. We didn't have to move until January 1st, so we were hot and heavy looking for a home during the Christmas season. I always thought the homes that we looked at that were all decked out for the holidays created a warm and inviting atmosphere. Although I do admit that one woman's Christmas village was so amazing, it was set up in her dining room hutch as well as dining room buffet and I was so enthralled with it that I missed all the architectural detailing in the room. when we left my husband remarked upon the tray ceiling that I had not even noticed. So do make sure that your decor isn't so over the top as to distract from the architectural details of the home you're trying to sell.

  • bonelady
    14 years ago

    One thing to consider is how much room your decorations take. If your tree is so large it dominates the room, potential buyers may have difficulty seeing the true dimensions. I would just be aware that your decorations should allow the flow of your rooms to be seen.

  • sue36
    14 years ago

    I would also think about not putting out things that are fragile or very precious to you. I have a Nativity scene and the pieces are very fragile as well as being very expensive. All it would take is one child's little hand or one big handback swung the wrong way.

  • quirkyquercus
    14 years ago

    I have to chime in.

    Once upon a time I was looking at houses during the xmas season and there was one resale that really struck my fancy. It had a reasonable amount of decorations and it didn't bother me per se nor did it look cluttered, it definitely helped me realize how small the house was because it helped put everything into a scale. "OK, if a christmas tree is this big then damn this is a small room"

    Pretty much killed it for me. Unless you have a very large home keep it to a minimum. No trees, they take up a lot of space. Wouldn't use the lights either since everyone thinks they're doing such an excellent professional job but in reality it's a tacky job. Garland on the staircase and stockings on the mantle. That's it.

    Houses tend to look bigger than they really are when someone sees them for the first time. Don't help them realize just how small the place is.

  • jiggreen
    Original Author
    14 years ago

    hmmm....... I might be guilty of the "way over the top" distracting Christmas village. When we first signed with our realtor a couple of weeks back, and she did her initial walk-through....she completely missed the 14 foot wall to wall built in cabinets in the family room because she was so busy looking at my 4foot by 6 foot xmas village. I hate to take it down (it's been a labor of love since the day after halloween), but I sure don't want any potential buyers to be so distracted by it that they don't see the house itself.

    Here are pics of the village, over the top is probably accurate, but I hadn't really thought of it that way until now. It's not quite done, I still haven't put in the skating pond with the moving skaters and I was still planning on doing a backdrop with twinkling stars and more snowcover over the whole village. I'm thinking perhaps I should leave it as it is, or should I take it down altogether?

    jiggreen




  • cordovamom
    14 years ago

    Jgreen,

    That's a beautiful village. I know how much you must love it, and it's a part of your Christmas tradition. Unfortunately, I'd advise taking it down if your home is on the market through the Christmas season. It's taking up some valuable real estate because of it's size, it's fragile and as some one pointed out it's breakable for curious little hands that may come through, and as I discovered when I was looking at a home with a gorgeous Christmas village, it's distracting. Love the village though!!!

  • lynnski
    14 years ago

    We look at houses with our 6 year-old daughter, and she would be completely in love with your display. And because she would spend the entire time attracted to the display, at least one of her parents would COMPLETELY miss seeing the rest of your home because of our vigilance and worry. Not a good way to show a house.

    I agree with cordovamom on all counts. Beautiful village, too distracting, too precious and breakable. For sake of your family and your pleasure in the village, however, I wonder if you might just drape the entire tabletop display with a simple cover when you are showing the house. Pin a note to the cover that says "Holiday display--Fragile" or something to that effect.

    Or simply don't schedule showings for the next 3 weeks, enjoy your last holiday season in your home, and take down the village immediately after the holiday.

  • xamsx
    14 years ago

    Absolutely lovely village - pack it away for this year if you plan on allowing any showings through the holidays.

  • cindyb_va
    14 years ago

    jiggreen, I vote to take the village down too (it is very lovely, by the way). I don't think you want your potential buyers to remember your house as "the one with the Christmas village"...you want them to remember it as "the one with that 14 ft. wall to wall of great cabinetry..."

    Another consideration is psychological. If you have a ton of holiday decor out, it doesn't appear to a potential buyer that you are motivated to settle any time soon. What lots of Christmas stuff says *to me* is that you intend to be there through the New Year and might potentially turn off a buyer who needs to close before year end.

    Or, maybe that's just me..

  • brickeyee
    14 years ago

    "It's important to remember that there are a great many people--Jews, Muslims, atheists, Buddhists, Jehovah's Witnesses--in all parts of the US who don't celebrate Christmas at all."

    Heaven forbid you offend anyone.
    If you celebrate Christmas scale back to a esonable level and let the "Jews, Muslims, atheists, Buddhists, Jehovah's Witnesses" buy froim someone else of tehy are so thin skinned as to be offended.

  • sharon_sd
    14 years ago

    Shopping malls are in the business of seling things. If Christmas decor was offensive to their customers, then they wouldn't do it because it would hurt sales. They must figure that decorating encourages buying. From the crowds that come, they must be right.

  • minet
    14 years ago

    I would take down the village and any other over-the-top decorations because, as someone has already said, you want your house to be remembered for the wonderful features of the house, not for your decorating.

    I've been out looking with DH about 3 days now and already more than once he or I have said, "What did you think about ___ ?" only to have the other say, "Oh, I didn't notice that, I was too busy looking at _____ ."

  • jiggreen
    Original Author
    14 years ago

    That village is my only over-the-top bit of decorating this year, but I will heed everyone's wise advice and dismantle it. I will keep out just a couple of my favorite houses though, and put them on a shelf...I can't go totally without them, I look forward to my houses all year long!

    Thanks for the opinion!
    jiggreen

  • lynnski
    14 years ago

    brickeyee wrote:

    "It's important to remember that there are a great many people--Jews, Muslims, atheists, Buddhists, Jehovah's Witnesses--in all parts of the US who don't celebrate Christmas at all."

    Heaven forbid you offend anyone.
    If you celebrate Christmas scale back to a esonable level and let the "Jews, Muslims, atheists, Buddhists, Jehovah's Witnesses" buy froim someone else of tehy are so thin skinned as to be offended.

    *****

    Offended?? Thin-skinned?!?? Where are you getting this from? I didn't say a darn thing about offending anyone. My point was that sellers need buyers to be able to picture themselves in the home. Not everyone celebrates Xmas, and an overabundance of Xmas decor could interfere with the buyers' ability to visualize their family in a particular home.

    Your response seems very hostile. Also xenophobic and off-point.

  • peppermill
    14 years ago

    cindyb said: Another consideration is psychological. If you have a ton of holiday decor out, it doesn't appear to a potential buyer that you are motivated to settle any time soon. What lots of Christmas stuff says *to me* is that you intend to be there through the New Year and might potentially turn off a buyer who needs to close before year end.

    I agree. We saw a house on Saturday that I liked, but the sellers still have everything they own there--it looks very cluttered and lived in. To me, it doesn't seem like they're really serious about selling.

  • jiggreen
    Original Author
    14 years ago

    At this late stage in the year, even if a prospective buyer were to come through and put in a contract that we were to accept......a 30 day close would put us past New Year's. Is it common for buyers to ask for less than a 30 day close? I was under the impression that 30-45 days is the norm for a settlement date.

    jiggreen

  • cordovamom
    14 years ago

    Actually our last 4 homes we were able to close on in only 2 weeks. None of those homes were occupied however. The last home that we bought that was occupied we had a 30 day close. You can always close as early as possible, with possession in January. We've done that before.

  • xamsx
    14 years ago

    jiggreen At this late stage in the year, even if a prospective buyer were to come through and put in a contract that we were to accept......a 30 day close would put us past New Year's. Is it common for buyers to ask for less than a 30 day close? I was under the impression that 30-45 days is the norm for a settlement date.

    That depends on your location and financing. In my area (NYS) 30 - 60 days is common. When we purchased we closed in 32 days - the title company moved quickly (at our attorney's prodding), the mortgage was ready to fund, all the paperwork was in order - the seller's attorney was stuck down south due to Katrina so we had to wait two days for him to make his way back north.

    I'm not certain what a reasonable and customary closing time frame is in PA.

  • quirkyquercus
    14 years ago

    I think the village is neat.
    I'm the type of person that also would not want to part with such an endeavor. But I would find a way to have both.

    I'd find a secondary bedroom and put it in there and cover it with a cloth or blanket when people are over. Not so much because it would be distracting but because people and their brats will mess with it.

  • Sully6
    14 years ago

    I'm a Christmas fanatic and love your village, jiggreen. Before you take it down, how many viewings are you getting right now? If it's not many, I would probably leave it up but plan on taking it down right after the new year. There is something about balancing your need to enjoy the home you still live in with making it attractive to buyers. I sometimes think we all go a little overboard worrying about what someone might find distracting or objectionable when selling. Unless your village takes up half a room or you're worried that it might get damaged during showings, I would just keep it up--less than three weeks to Christmas anyway!

  • Fori
    14 years ago

    I think your idea of keeping a few houses out is the best.

    In general, you can't just skip Christmas, but you can...uh...sterilize it like the mall does. Not to offend anyone, but it's pretty easy to take the religion out of Christmas decor. Stick with a tree (if you have room--I think if you've got cathedral ceilings, a tree would be a big plus! Otherwise it can be iffy) and some blah but tasteful decorations. Just like the mall. No nativity scene, no Jesus banners, etc.

  • cordovamom
    14 years ago

    I disagree with fori, sorry, but Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Christ, to take religion out of the holiday goes against my grain. Take down the Santas, take down the stockings, take down the Christmas village, take down the tinsel and wreath, but taking religion out of Christmas is something I'd never do, not even to sell a house. The one thing I'd leave is the nativity set because that my friends is the reason for the season.

  • brickeyee
    14 years ago

    "Not everyone celebrates Xmas, and an overabundance of Xmas decor could interfere with the buyers' ability to visualize their family in a particular home.

    Your response seems very hostile. Also xenophobic and off-point. "

    You wrote

    " Personally, I would be very turned off by the house georgiamomma describes. It's important to remember that there are a great many people--Jews, Muslims, atheists, Buddhists, Jehovah's Witnesses--in all parts of the US who don't celebrate Christmas at all. "

    Oh, you said "turned off". Excuse me.

    If Christmas decorations interfere with their "ability to visualize their family in a particular home." they can just move on.

    Does the same apply to Hanukah decorations? Eid ul-Adha?

    I am not xenophobic at all, but if you are offended by my celebration that is YOUR problem. NOT mine.

    Off point?
    Someone who does not agree with your narrow view of distracting folks who don't celebrate Christmas at all" is off point?

    It remains your house. While selling is a business deal, anyone as shallow as to not be able to look past a religious celebration in a private residence can move on.

  • Fori
    14 years ago

    I certainly didn't say it was required to remove religion from decorations. I just said it's possible. Maybe not for you. I don't think I would do it either. But if one was worried about offending non-Christians with one's holiday decor, one might do so.

    Anyway, most non-Christians in the US are accustomed to having Christmas in their faces and will not be annoyed. And most people do realize it's still YOUR home. Still, some people ARE turned off by excessive decorating--Christmas or otherwise (not offended, just turned off) so it wouldn't hurt to keep it down if you think people are going to be looking.

  • bethohio3
    14 years ago

    As a non-Christian, I am accustomed to having Christmas in my face *and* I find it annoying. I deal with it by avoiding shopping for a 3 month period of time or by doing necessary shopping and tuning out the decor as much as possible. I actually dislike this time of year and it is isolating for me to have everyone else I know focused on a holiday that I don't celebrate.

    We've decided to build, but if we were still looking at existing houses, I would find excessive Christmas decorations, like excessive *any other* decorations to be distracting--it's hard to visualize my own things in a crowded space.

    As for highly religious items (of any religion), I find them somewhat unsettling. I could never expect someone to change their religious observations to suit me, though :-) and so I *expect* to see them in people's homes. If they are emphasized (in every room, very religious sayings on the wall), I really have to concentrate to focus on the house itself, since I am uncomfortable with a strong display of religion.

    Note: this issue is similar to the poster who is afraid of animals--what one person is comfortable with makes another anxious. That doesn't mean we should all get rid of our pets or that we should pretend we don't have religious beliefs. It is a good idea, though, to recognize that we are all different and that others may be made uncomfortable by what we value most.

    --Beth

  • cindyb_va
    14 years ago

    jiggreen, the last time I sold a home, it went on the market on Thanksgiving. The first offer was perfect, except it asked for settlement on 12/20. So, it does happen.

    It may not be common, but you don't want to miss out on an offer, should it arise.

  • PRO
    acdesignsky
    14 years ago

    This question has come up about this time for the last 3 yrs. It's always a hot topic, but it's almost funny how I always see the same responses

    #1 Would be personally confused/shocked/offended by Xmas decoarations

    #2 Would be personally confused/shocked/offended by the lack of Xmas decorations

    #3 Would not be personally confused/shocked/offended by Xmas decorations but feels strongly that others would be

    #4 Would not be personally confused/shocked/offended by Xman decorations and feels strongly that no one else should/will be

    #5 May or may not be personally confused/shocked/offended by Xmas decorations but feels they may be all right if done tastefully

    #6 May or may not be personally confused/shocked/offended by Xmas decorations if any reference to religion is removed.

    #7 Points out that "After all not everyone is Christain and not everyone celebrates Xmas" (Just in case you were have lived your life in a underground bunker)

    #8 Says you can't please everyone all the time and it's your house and you have to decide what works for you and your family.


    So, where are you on this list?

  • sue36
    14 years ago

    How about none of the above? I wouldn't be shocked/confused/offended by decorations. But I think that anything that makes the house look tacky and/or cluttered is bad for resale. If the decorations would fall into eith category, then don't do them (not don't do ANY, just don't do the cluttering and/or tacky ones). Normal wreaths, garland, tree (in a room that can handle it) - fine. Exterior lights on everything that doesn't move and blow-up snow globes that emit "Jingle Bell Rock" - not so good.

    Actually, I now realize I am #5!

    But when you think about it, this doesn't just apply to holiday decor. When your house is for sale you should try to hide/eliminate anything that is causing clutter or is tacky. I don't need to see your 300 piece spoon collection taking up the entire wall in the kitchen. You can do without the 200 magnets and photos on the fridge also.

    #8 reminds me of the lyrics to a song ("I went to a garden party...You see, you can't please everyone, so you got to please yourself...". I digress.

  • cordovamom
    14 years ago

    I wouldn't be offended by lack of Christmas decorations or by religious or non religious Christmas decorations. Neither would I be offended by decorations for non Christian celebrations. Very few things offend me in someone else's house (there was the one home with a young man's room with porn posters on the wall, but that's another thread). If I was listing my home at the holidays, I would minimize Christmas decorations, only because it may make the home seem smaller or distract prospective buyers from noticing important details about the home. I would not refrain from putting out religious items, that's me, and I would hope someone that is interested in buying my home wouldn't be offended because I am a Christian. I wouldn't be offended if the person I was buying a home from was a non Christian, it's the house I'd be buying, not their religion. So I'm not sure I fit neatly into any of the above catagories, just like most people don't. We all fall somewhere in between, isn't America great?

  • PRO
    acdesignsky
    14 years ago

    You're right, cordovamom, most people don't fit neatly into one category. I'm 95% a #8, but then I think of the huge air blown snow globes and dancing Santas and feel some people are maybe better not decorating at all if trying to sell during the season. That adds a bit of #5 and my upbringing adds a touch of #4 (when I read that first post a few yrs ago where someone claimed to be offended by Christmas, I was actually surprised- Darn that bunker)

  • IdaClaire
    14 years ago

    Irrespective of the fact that your house is on the market, it's still your home, and I'm presuming you have a family with which to celebrate the holiday living with you in your home. Have whatever holiday decor makes you and your family happy.

  • minet
    14 years ago

    I guess to me it depends on what the priority is.

    Is your priority to sell your house? Then limit the decorations (at any time of year, whatever kind of decorations). You also may need to eliminate some of the creature comforts you've become used to but detract from the look of the house. This is what I did when I had to sell quickly.

    Is your priority to enjoy the holiday season as much as you would any other year? Then decorate to the hilt, and refocus on selling after the new year.

    If you want both, then you try to come up with a compromise that will still allow your house to be seen in all of *its own glory* and also let your family celebrate the holidays. I think this is what the OP is trying to accomplish.