Merrymaking and gift giving might be top of mind right now, but many holiday activities could come back to haunt you if you’re thinking about placing your home on the market next year. Here, Realtor.com offers five seasonal splurges to avoid if you want the sales process go as smoothly as possible in 2018.
1. Don’t use decorations that could damage your home
You can still show off your holiday spirit without using décor that could leave behind damage that will have to be repaired later—including holes in the walls, marks on the floor and screws that mar the side of the house. If you have a live Christmas tree, be careful not to let spilled water sit on hardwood or laminate flooring to prevent warping and staining. And never paint walls dramatic colors; save the winter wonderland mural for another year. Consider about curb appeal, too. When removed, large yard decorations can leave dead spots on the grass for months.
2. Don’t clutter your home with huge holiday gifts
Try not to buy a lot of gifts that will have to be hidden away after the new year. For example, consider forgoing the bulky play kitchen or drivable toy car in lieu of smaller action figurines or electronics for children on your list. The basic organization rule is that you don’t want your closets to seem as if they are bursting at the seams. This will give potential buyers the impression that there’s not enough storage. Remember: You’ll also have to move all of that stuff after you sell the house. You’ll thank yourself at packing time if you spring for a gift certificate or jewelry instead of sports equipment or kitchen gadgets.
3. Don’t buy appliances or furniture that might not fit your future home
Avoid purchasing appliances, furniture or anything specific to your current home’s layout. Unless you already know where you’re moving, a gorgeous (and large) new sofa might not fit correctly in your new digs. And that sparkling new washer-dryer set likely will be a gift for the buyers, since appliances usually stay with the home. Grills, sheds, anything bulky—you’re going to either gift it to your buyers in a few months or pay someone to move it. Save the heavy stuff for next year.
4. Don’t take on too much holiday-related debt
Assuming debt—whether it’s credit card debt or a car or boat loan—can hurt your chances of getting approved for a mortgage when you’re ready to buy your next home. So, don’t go out and buy expensive things; a lender will take note and it could work against you.
5. Don’t surprise the family with a new pet
Thinking of getting a pet for the holidays? Keep in mind that housetraining a puppy or teaching a cat not to scratch the couch is not an ideal scenario when preparing to sell your home. Showing a house with a pet can be challenging enough, even when it’s not a new pet. That pet also will have to go through the process of moving. However much you’re longing for a furry new friend, it just makes sense to wait until after the move.