News: Sellers in Christmas overkill warning

Fri, 30 Nov 07

Home owners should avoid adorning the outside of their properties if they want to sell up this festive season...

The traditional Christmas slowdown in the property market has come early this year and the compulsory introduction of HIPs for all properties on December 14th means there will be more competition from sellers putting their house on the market. Buyers are usually a rare breed at this time of year and sellers will have to work extra hard to appeal to the market. 

But according to the most recent research from propertyfinder.com, many sellers are ruining their chances of a sale by indulging in over-the-top Christmas decorations and lights.

A massive 76% of home seekers said they’d be put off buying a house which was over enthusiastically decked with Christmas decorations, while 36% said they would be put off if there were a home nearby decorated in the same way. 

Overenthusiastic Christmas lighting was the second most likely home exterior horror to put them off a property.  Only broken down vehicles have been rated as more off putting.

 Worst eyesores


Broken down vehicles / old furniture


Over-enthusiastic Christmas lighting / decoration


Rubbish in front of the house




Peeling paintwork / poor state of repair


National sporting flags


Unkempt garden


Pebbledash / Stone cladding


Gardening gnomes


Election material


These results confirm the findings of the propertyfinder.com poll last December which showed that as Christmas approached, decorations topped the tables of home buyer hates – moving from 8th worst home exterior eyesore in the summer, to third worst in December. 

Warren Bright, chief executive of propertyfinder.com, commented: “Buying a home is an emotive process so first impressions are everything - an unappealing exterior definitely puts off buyers.  At this time of year overenthusiastic adornment of properties is a real problem so home sellers should beware.  Outdoor Christmas lights are perceived as tacky, and can cause prospective buyers to be put off the property, or even the whole area.”

Eight times as many people were worried about ostentatious exterior decorations as were worried about interior.  However, with the number of sellers expected to outweigh buyers over the next few months, it is important to ensure the interior of your home is in pristine condition and appeals to buyers.  If you want decoration inside, make sure it is in keeping with the style of your home.

Avoid bold statements

Warren Bright advised sellers on how to present their property to maximise their chances of a sale: “Competition amongst sellers is going to be rife over the next couple of months and my top tip is to avoid bold statements both inside and out – prospective buyers like to see a neutral décor on which they could stamp their own identity. 

Christmas is no exception to this rule and decking your home with colourful, flashing lights and tinsel is a big no!    Nevertheless, people do like homes to look and feel welcoming, so sellers must find the right balance of tasteful decoration that is in keeping with the tone of the property.

“For example, if you have a period property, opt for traditional decorations in warm colours such as reds and golds; a modern home can accommodate sharper lines and cooler colours, such as silver and blue; if you have a warehouse flat you should go for minimal decorations.  Sellers need to know what type of buyer their property would appeal to, and tailor their Christmas decorations accordingly. 

It’s going to be a tougher market for sellers this Christmas and they need to do everything possible to appeal to the right buyers and maximise their chance of a sale.”

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