Jersey Shore Winter Activities

When considering a Jersey Shore vacation, thoughts typically turn to sand, surf, and sun.

But those aren’t the only things the New Jersey coast has to offer. The winter offseason is as good a time as any to check out the best Jersey Shore beaches, small towns, big attractions, and hidden gems that are normally packed the rest of the year.

Looking for a restful but also exciting winter escapade? Here’s what’s worth checking out during a Jersey Shore winter.

Head to a Show at the Stone Pony

The Stone Pony in Asbury Park is legendary as the launching bad for Bruce Springsteen and Bon Jovi, but it’s not just a great place to rock out during the summer.

The winter season attracts some great acts, too, such as G. Love and Donavon Frankenreiter in February. Plus, there are great holiday shows and parties to attend.

Winter in Brigantine

But for those who want to stay in town, Brigantine Beach is gorgeous and devoid of tourists during the winter. It’s almost like having the beach to oneself. For those brave enough, the Brigantine Polar Bear Plunge raises money to help wounded military veterans and their families.

For those looking for a more permanent spot – check out Brigantine homes for sale and snag your new home away from home.

Get Pampered at the Borgata

Of course, there are a lot of casinos to choose from in Atlantic City, but for those looking to spend cold winter days relaxed and refreshed, Borgata’s renowned spa is open year-round.

Spa Toccare offers everything from facials that integrate light therapy and jade stones to unrivaled foot massages. There is even an option for a 100-minute couple’s massage.

Go Back in Time at Historic Smithfield

Located in Galloway, this old-fashioned town is pretty picture-perfect, replete with footbridges, streets lined with cobblestones, and over 60 unique shops.

Historic Smithville was established in the late 17th century and now includes a charming colonial inn, toy, and collectible shops, and an adjacent 312-acre park. It’s also just 20 minutes by car from Atlantic City.

Go Fishing in Ocean City

A longtime beach vacation destination, Ocean City also happens to be a great place to spend the winter, especially if fishing is on the agenda. December is prime ling, blackish, and cod season and winter is also a perfect time for birdwatching, especially in the Back Bay area.

There are many other winter options, too, including visiting the Ocean City Historical Museum and checking out the over 100 restaurants and ships in the Asbury Avenue shopping district.

Take it Easy in Cape May

Cape May is one of the most beautiful spots not just on the Jersey Shore but in the entire state of New Jersey.

Be sure to stop by the Cape May Brewing Company and Willow Creek Winery and get a bite of food while you’re at it at the acclaimed Peter Shields Inn and Restaurant. And for those into Victorian architecture, the town’s famous painted ladies are definitely a must-see this winter.

What Makes Brigantine NJ Such a Hotspot for Real Estate

Real estate ventures are sometimes risky but can be just as rewarding. In a beachside city like Brigantine, rapidly growing since 2020, one has to wonder what makes Brigantine, NJ real estate such a hotspot for buyers looking to own a piece of the Jersey shore.

The city of Brigantine, NJ, has become popular among real estate investors thanks to its growing population, the investment of the city in its location through infrastructure projects, and increased price of homes in the area.

In this article, we look at what factors award Brigantine, New Jersey the title of hotspot for real estate agents, as well as the current market trends for the city.

What Makes Brigantine, New Jersey a Hotspot for Real Estate?

The following are examples of what determines favorable conditions for the real estate business:

  1. Growing Population
  2. Infrastructure Projects
  3. Price Movement

Let’s take a closer look at how Brigantine, New Jersey is meeting these conditions.

Growing Population

The year-round population of Brigantine, according to ShoreHomes.om, is about 9,000 people. However, it is a popular destination for vacation homes, with the summer population at 30,000.

This means that while the revenue for local businesses can increase seasonally, the lack of crowds at beaches for the non-summer months and the quiet life Brigantine offers has a population count that is rising.

Real estate hotspots are defined by growing populations because crowded, developed locations fetch a higher price than those that are not developed yet. When people begin noticing that a nice property near the ocean like those in Brigantine are not overly populated, they become eager to stake their claim on the spot.

Brigantine, NJ real estate

Infrastructure Projects

One of the infrastructure projects featured in 2020 for Brigantine was the Atlantic City/Brigantine Community Reliability Project. This promises to modernize the energy infrastructure which links Brigantine and Atlantic City.

Construction on a new substation and rebuilding transition lines are two examples of the community’s commitment to bettering the area. Known as infrastructure projects, these types of undertakings by Brigantine’s authorities encourage people to move to the area.

It not only proves that Brigantine cares about its residents enough to improve their locale, but those very improvements can provide jobs for new arrivals. These things contribute to making the city a real estate hotspot.

Price Movement

According to the current data, Brigantine, NJ has sold at a median price of $524,995 since July, 2022. The prices of homes on the Brigantine Market have moved up by $5,000,00 in one year’s time!

Price movement like this is an indicator that, if the price of homes can move up so quickly recently, they are likely to continue going up in the future, contributing to the fact that Brigantine is a real estate hotspot. Information like this allows real estate agents to make an educated, careful guess on their investments in the area.

What are the current market trends in Brigantine, New Jersey?

Real estate hotspots are determined, oftentimes, by factors like the number of homes sold in the area, or the median price per square footage in the homes. Below is a table listing the market trends in Brigantine according to information gathered by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Median Days on Market52
Median Sales Price$549,500
Number of Homes Sold230 in 6 months
Median Price per Square Foot$333
Median Year Built1980
Median Rent per Month$1,344

Summary

In summary, it is the amount of population growth and factors like price upticks and infrastructure projects that allow real estate agents to flock to Brigantine, New Jersey. Real estate investors are able to accurately determine how profitable an investment in the city can be, making Brigantine a real estate hotspot!

homes for sale in Margate NJ

What to Know When Buying Multiple Properties

With summer temperatures rising, now’s the time to invest in real estate along the Jersey Shore. By purchasing multiple properties and leasing them out as short-term vacation homes, investors can make a fortune on seasonal beach goers. Yet, before you go out and buy a collection of homes or apartments, be sure to prepare your finances and research the market.

Buying multiple properties is a wise investment, especially across the New Jersey shoreline. With any investment, though, you should be careful to do your due diligence before purchasing. This means guaranteeing that your credit is acceptable, finding secured financing, and locating the most profitable areas to invest in. Whether you’re looking for homes for sale in Margate NJ or other areas, this article will help you prepare for your investment and guide you through the process.

Understand How Credit Can Affect Your Purchases

Your credit score is one of the most important things to consider when you’re making any large purchase, especially if you’re buying multiple properties. This becomes especially relevant if you’re purchasing your fifth-through-tenth property.

At the most basic level, a high credit score will grant you access to better interest rates on your mortgages, meaning you can save more money in the long run. If your score is low, you may still qualify for a loan, but it will come with a higher interest rate which will eat into your profits.

At a deeper level, though, you could be disqualified for financing if your score isn’t high enough. According to guidelines set by Fannie Mae, investors must have a score of at least 720 to qualify for financing on fifth-through-tenth properties, along with down payments as high as 30%. If you cannot meet these requirements, you’ll be disqualified before you even set foot in the door.

Find Secured Financing

When you’re buying multiple properties, you’ll likely need to take out a loan in order to finance the purchase. There are a few different types of loans you can choose from, but the most common for investment properties is a portfolio loan. This is a type of loan that allows you to use multiple properties as collateral, which can help you get a lower interest rate.

Another option is to get a home equity line of credit (HELOC). This is a loan that uses your home as collateral and can be a good option if you have a lot of equity in your property. The downside to a HELOC is that you may end up paying more in interest over time.

homes for sale in Margate NJ

Research the Market

When you’re buying multiple properties, it’s important to choose locations that will be in high demand. This means doing your research to find out which areas are growing, have a lot of amenities nearby, and are close to tourist attractions.

The Jersey Shore is a great place to invest in real estate because it’s a popular spot for tourists. Another benefit of the Jersey Shore is that there are many towns to choose from, so you can find the perfect location to fit your needs. Some things to consider when choosing a location include:

  • The local economy
  • The crime rates
  • The quality of schools
  • The cost of living

Once you’ve chosen a location, you can start looking for properties. Be sure to work with a real estate agent who knows the area well and can help you find the best deals.

Final Thoughts

Buying multiple properties is a great way to invest in real estate, but it’s important to be prepared before you make any purchases. Be sure to check your credit score and DTI, secure financing, and do your research to find the best locations. With a little preparation, you’ll quickly attract beachgoers and turn a profit on your investment.

Things to Look for When Viewing a Property

homebuyer tips

The average homebuyer takes about 8 weeks to find a home, and that can be a very long 8 weeks for some.

From open houses to multiple offers and inspections, it’s no wonder that home shoppers often desire to make quick decisions about property purchases to cease the search and move in as soon as possible.

Sometimes, if a home looks great on the surface, seems to be in a good neighborhood, and isn’t too far from work, offers start pouring in. And there are homebuyers will look at homes solely online. While the Seller’s Disclosure is an immensely important source of information for you as a buyer, don’t gloss over the advantages of seeing certain facets of the home up close and personal with your own eyes.

It pays to look deeper. A home will likely be the most important purchase you can make, so rushing may be a big mistake. The next time you look at a property, be sure to take the time to look out for the following.

  1. Check out the Roof

Replacing an entire roof is a major expense that unfortunately, some homebuyers learn too late they need to take care of before they move in. Be sure to check for any signs of wear, damage, or evidence of multiple patches or several layers of roofing. From the sidewalk or driveway you can see if there is any waviness on the surface of the roof – this can be a sign of warped truss beams and plywood. This is not only a warning sign that a major repair is warranted, but it could also indicate poor air flow in the attic, which would become another fix to address.

Some companies may not grant you homeowners insurance if your roof is in a state of disrepair or is too old. While patches can cost a few hundred dollars, total replacement often goes as high as $20,000.

Be sure to ask about the roof’s age as well or when the most recent repair was made.

  1. Look for Signs of Water Damage

Water damage can indicate that a house either has some major structural issues, is in a flood plain, or was impacted by a natural disaster. When touring a home, look for ceilings and walls with watermarks, if there’s a moldy smell indicating dampness, or if the plaster is flaking off in sections.

  1. Check the Plumbing

Plumbing can be a major issue in older homes – and one of the most expensive fixes for homebuyers. Check the water pressure and ask if there is insulation on the pipes and the pipe material (certain outdated materials you’ll want to replace).

It’s also worth asking the age of the boiler, looking at the hot water tank, and determining if the radiators are in good working condition.

homebuyer tips
  1. Figure Out How Well the Home Has Been Maintained Overall

There can be many different signs that a previous owner or renter was less-than-responsible with the home’s maintenance, including faded paint, cheap replacement tiles, and mismatched fixtures.

If the home’s HVAC system seems aged prematurely and not running smoothly, it may mean that it wasn’t cleaned yearly or that it’s on its last legs. All this evidence points to the likely possibility of expensive updates and repairs you’ll need to make.

  1. Look Outside of the Home

You can discover a lot about whether a home is right for you without stepping foot inside. Look for poor grading, swampy spots in the yard, and the condition of sheds or any outbuildings.

Walk around the neighborhood, check out businesses close by, get a feel for the road noise at different hours, and see how strict the HOA is if there is one.

Remember that while the Seller’s Disclosure tells you about conditions the current homeowner is aware of, it won’t cover all qualitative considerations you might have for your dream home. Furthermore, it’s subject to that person’s level of diligence and memory and is no substitute for your own poking about.

The Pros and Cons of Homeowners Associations

Homeowners Associations

Homeowner associations (HOA) can help increase property value and improve the amenities and safety of a community. Despite some drawbacks, these benefits can prove very attractive to some kinds of home buyers, who may even be willing to pay more for properties that are managed by an HOA.

Beautiful neighborhoods

Many neighborhoods have design requirements for home exteriors, in order to maintain a consistent or historical look throughout the community. The HOA approves any construction and renovation projects, to ensure that everyone follows the rules and meets the community standards. It also works with the local government to ensure adherence to municipal codes.

The HOA is also in charge of maintaining the beauty of communal areas, from the landscaping of roadsides and parks to renovations and maintenance of community buildings.

The result is a community that looks beautiful, well-maintained, and harmonious.

Community activities

The HOA is in charge of organizing events and activities that will benefit the residents. This can include festivals or parties, free classes or workshops, or weekend markets or bazaars. Neighbors can get to know each other and enjoy extra services without having to travel far from their home.

Improved facilities

The HOA can use association fees or hold special fundraisers in order to improve community facilities and amenities. For example, it can convert a community lot into a sports facility or dog park or improve playgrounds and walking trails.

Improved community safety

The HOA can also lobby for safety or security measures, such as better street lighting or security cameras. If the area has an increased incidence of crime, it can organize neighborhood patrols or hold safety seminars for the residents.

An active HOA also fosters stronger relationships between neighbors, which on its own can already increase everyone’s peace of mind. If people know each other, they are more likely to look out for one another, and notice any unusual activity or suspicious persons.

Homeowners Associations

Intervention for conflict and disputes

An HOA sets clear rules and regulations to prevent many common disputes, such as parking rights or short-term rental guidelines.

In the event that there is a complaint or a dispute, the HOA can also step in: by creating a committee and setting proper procedures and sanctions. This can help diffuse or resolve a conflict before resorting to more expensive and time-consuming legal means.

Stronger community pride

The HOA’s activities help build the “community identity” – from the unified look of houses to the group activities and stronger relationships with neighbors. Over time, this can develop into a sense of pride and even prestige. Residents are grateful to be part of such a close-knit, well-maintained neighborhood.

Increased property value

If the community identity is sustained over a long period of time, it becomes part of the neighborhood’s reputation. Naturally, it will attract the interest of property buyers, who are looking for not just a nice house in Margate or another shore town, but a “happy, safe place to live in.”

The HOA rules for adherence to building codes and exterior designs, and its regular maintenance and improvement of communal areas, can also add to the neighborhood’s overall property value. One study found that these ret

HOA: A rising trend

According to Investopedia, about 25% of Americans live in neighborhoods that have homeowner or community associations. While communities that have HOAs generally are more expensive – in addition to monthly HOA fees – a study shows that the perception of safety, exclusivity and homogeneity can all increase property value.

Jersey Shore summer rental

Jersey Shore Summer Rentals: Advice for Those Seeking the Perfect Vacation Property

With 130 miles of New Jersey Shore to pick from, vacationers go wild for the sun, sea, and sand. But for those who’ve never tried to book a rental before, finding the perfect summer spot on the coast can be quite the challenge without sufficient guidance.

NJ Shore boasts a wealth of rental options. From the luxurious to the everyday, there really is something for everybody. Discover what to look for in a summer rental below.

1 The Towns and Their Offerings

A whopping 40 towns adorn Jersey Shore, each with its own atmosphere and housing types.

Vacationers should look to learn a little about the most popular areas to make choosing their perfect Jersey Shore summer rental easier:

  • Margate – The rentals here are aimed at families. You can’t miss the iconic Lucy the Elephant attraction while you’re here. Of course, the Margate City beach is wide, beautiful, and super clean. Take in a surf lesson while you’re at it.
  • Brigantine – From sport fishing charters to scooter and wave runner rentals, there is no shortage of activities at this NJ shore hotspot.
  • Ventnor City – Long evening walks on the meticulously maintained Ventnor board walk will become a new tradition for you. The perfect way to end a day at the beach or the Ventnor fishing pier
  • Atlantic City — From spas to high-class casinos, Atlantic City has it all.
  • Longport – if you enjoy a quieter beach experience, but still want to be close to all the major attractions in nearby shore towns, then Longport might be your next destination.

2 The Agent Makes a Difference

Websites like SoleilSIR.com make it easy for potential renters to find housing.

Using a real estate agent means the property owner pays the fee. Depending on the length of stay, it can save a lot of money.

3 The Contract Is Key

The contract stipulates crucial elements of the summer rental house, including cleaning, pets, parking, and more. Therefore, scrutinizing every detail is a must before signing.

Ideally, holidaymakers should look for homes that come with:

  • Wifi
  • Parking (especially if traveling with children)
  • Cleaning services
  • Towels and sheets

For those imagining beach fun with their pooch, ensure the contract explicitly states pets are allowed. Otherwise, the penalty fees can be hefty.

Jersey Shore beach house

4 The Beaches

Vacationing at New Jersey Shore isn’t as fun when the beaches are closed. Therefore, renters should look out for “beach replenishment projects.”

These schemes prevent swimmers from touching the sand at specific points, putting a dampener on holiday fun. Agents and NJ town halls’ websites list all replenishment projects for vacationers to check before signing a rental agreement.

5 The Properties and Their Luxurious Features

New Jersey’s coast takes ocean living to new heights. Many summer properties and beach houses in the area come with never-seen-before features.

While not all holidaymakers are swayed by the extravagance, many are. For those wanting an unforgettable summer, look for properties with:

  • Jacuzzi baths in the garden
  • Expansive kitchens with all the mod-cons
  • Swimming pools embedded in the patio
  • BBQs and al fresco dining spaces

Renters who follow the five tips and tricks above are bound to find their dream NJ Shore rental this summer.

Yes, New Jersey Real Estate is Still Hot

Margate NJ Real Estate

For the past few years real estate prices in the New Jersey suburbs soared. They’re still high, but more and more people are moving to another part of the Garden State — the Jersey Shore.

In towns like Ocean City, for example, nearly 21% more people moved in than left compared to the previous year, reports Bloomberg, with prices increasing since last spring. The New Jersey coast has seen a shortage of available homes since last fall — and many of the buyers are looking at Margate NJ real estate for second homes.

And many are paying for the privilege, with homes going upwards of $80,000 over the asking price, says Cape May County-based real estate agent Dan Higman.

Some of the hottest real estate in New Jersey is close to the water. Barnegat Township in Ocean County is where two large buildings of active-adult communities are building 600 luxury homes.

Cheap interest rates and low inventory have driven double-digit price growth throughout New Jersey, with the peak of prices expected for summer 2022. In Montclair, homes regular are sold for $60,000 over the asking price.

New Jersey real estate prices have seen a steady increase of 12% in 2020 and 15% in 2021. Multiple offers are commonplace. In 2022, prices will still rise, buyer demand will be strong, and inventory will continue to be low, says New Jersey Realtors President Robert White.

Even the most expensive Jersey Shore homes are getting scooped up fast. Homes in the area are regularly priced at least at the $1 million mark. Those homes are usually gone in days.

Margate Real Estate

The Big Fall in Housing Stock

How low is real estate stock in New Jersey right now? In the spring of 2021, it was about half of what it was just a year prior. For example, in Randolph, there were nearly 150 homes listed in spring 2020. The following year there were 23.

The inventory level is being called unprecedented — and driving up the average home cost to over $500,000. The median sales price in January 2021 for a single-family New Jersey home was nearly $505,000, a 22% jump over 2020.

Single-family homes sold for about 100.2% of the listing price on average in 2021 and stayed on the market for just 44 days, a fall from 72 days the previous year. Closing and pending sales are also up 17% and 14%, respectively.

The Popularity of Shore Communities

Small New Jersey shore communities are driving much of the hot real estate market in the state, with many people escaping cities during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Experts see that trend continuing through 2022, with people attracted to relatively cheaper homes, walkable downtowns, and more outdoor space. Cape May and the Highlands are in high demand, especially with communities featuring outdoor dining and shopping districts and welcoming beaches and boardwalks.

Something — or someone — else is driving the strong market as well: millennials. More younger people are deciding to buy rather than rent, since rental costs have also soared, and are taking advantage of the fact that 30-year fixed-rate mortgages are averaging around 3%.

The numbers continue to speak for themselves. According to Zillow, home costs in Avalon were up 19% in 2021. And the average home value has jumped to $2.4 million so far in 2022.

Soleil Sotheby

5 Renovations That Increase Resale Value

Renovations and home improvements aren’t just for our own personal satisfaction. Yes, we redecorate, remodel, and restyle while we live somewhere to make a home more unique, but sometimes, certain updates can add more to the bottom line when it’s time to sell. 

From bathroom remodels to updated kitchens and new decking to extensions, for Margate NJ real estate it’s helpful to know which renovations can boost your selling price when you eventually decide to move.

So, here are the top 5 renovations that will increase the resale value of your home.

1. Loft Conversion

Adding an extra bedroom and en suite with a loft conversion has the potential to add up to 15% to the home’s value.              

There are different types of loft conversions available, from light roof conversions (which is the most cost-effective as it requires less structural work) to more expensive mansard conversions, which have one or both roof slopes replaced with a flatter roof.

Most lofts can be converted, but you should always make sure your space is compatible by hiring a builder or architect to check first. You should also always check planning permission with your local authority before planning a loft conversion. While most projects don’t require it, more expensive conversions, like the mansard, generally need permission.

2. Minor Kitchen Remodel

The kitchen is the heart of the home, so it only makes sense that you’ll want to ensure it is up to scratch if you’re planning on selling. However, these remodels are some of the most expensive, with the average homeowner paying $12-35k for the upgrade.

If this scares you off, we don’t blame you. However, you may want to consider a minor remodel instead. Installing a functional and modern-looking kitchen not only creates a warmer and more inviting environment for you and your family but will also add value to your home. A minor remodel has also proven to earn you a return on investment (ROI) of more than 83%.

The kitchen is a social hub, and when potential buyers view your home, they want to imagine their family and friends cooking, drinking, and sharing memories together. If they can see themselves enjoying life in your upgraded kitchen, it will heavily influence their buying decision, even if the remodel is minor.

3. Bathroom Remodel

Bathroom remodels are some of the most popular home upgrades, and they have a great return on investment. If your bathroom furniture and style is outdated, old, or damaged in any way, a remodel can add up to 4% of the value of your home. 

According to the National Association of Realtor’s (NAR) 2019 Remodeling Impact Report, bathroom upgrades ranked highest, above kitchen upgrades and complete kitchen renovations. 

Depending on the age and state of your bathroom, some of the most popular remodels include upgrading the flooring, adding energy-efficient updates to decrease the water bill, updating the plumbing fixtures, and adding vanity upgrades. 

Soleil Sotheby's International Realty

4. Extension

From a conservatory, a single or two-story addition, or a garage conversion, these home upgrades have the potential to add between 5 to 20% extra value to your property.

There are many different types of extensions you can build to increase the value of your home, but again, ensure that you have planning permission before you start. 

5. Decking

Everyone loves to have an attractive outdoor space, especially in summer. Adding wooden decking to your yard is a great renovation that instantly increases resale value. Wooden materials are significantly cheaper than marble for a new kitchen or bathroom, so you’ll save money with this project. They are also cheap to construct, making them an ideal upgrade for both you and your family to enjoy and someone else’s in the future.

Increase the Value of Your Home

If you’re seeking ways to put your property on the market and increase its value, these renovations will help you add some extra zeros to your asking price. 

So, what are you waiting for? Get upgrading today and reap the rewards when you sell.

Summer Rentals NJ

How to Find Your Perfect 2022 Summer Rental

Last summer, beach communities across the United States were flooded with visitors after a long year spent inside due to COVID-19. Unfortunately, many American families were unable to book their ideal summer rental thanks to the high demand. Although we are now just entering winter, it is, in fact, the perfect time for you and your family to book your 2022 summer home and ensure you get the first pick of some of the best summer rentals on the market! Read on to hear how you can find your perfect 2022 summer rental this year!

Make A Must-Have List

The first logical step for booking a perfect summer rental is understanding what “perfect” means to you and your family. Perhaps you want to have your own private beach, maybe the kids really want a backyard pool; whatever this means to you and your family, it’s important to first sit down and discuss your must-haves before starting crafting a budget. Knowing each family member’s preferences will help identify the perfect summer rental without breaking the bank.

Get a Headcount

A common family tradition is renting a summer home together each year. Booking a rental together is an excellent way for the cousins to see each other, for siblings to catch up, and for families to make long-lasting memories together. Additionally, it is an excellent way to book a stunning summer rental for only a fraction of the cost. If you and your family are considering renting a summer home together in 2022, make sure to get a headcount early so you can budget correctly and get a summer home that can accommodate the entire family!

Don’t Wait Too Long

As many families learned in 2021, summer rentals get booked quite early in the season. Unlike hotels, airplane tickets, or resort packages, there is no incentive for waiting to book a summer rental last minute. The majority of families book summer rentals a year to six months out of their vacation. If you wait till the last minute, you are likely to find either no available rentals or significant price increases.

Don’t Just Search on Popular Rental Sites

It can be frustrating searching for a summer rental and being met with unavailability, outbidding, and limited options. This is often a good sign to branch out your search and look for excellent rentals in other places – such as real estate companies. At Soleil Sothebys International Realty, site visitors can view luxurious summer rentals in some of New Jersey’s most popular beach communities!

Soleil Sotheby Christmas Decorated Front Door

Should Sellers Decorate their Homes During the Holiday Season?

Today, there are just over 1 million homes for sale in the United States. While the holiday season is spent decorating with bright lights and vibrant colors for many homeowners, Americans selling their homes are hesitant. If your home is on the market, you are likely wondering to what degree you should decorate this year. After all, many real estate agents discourage clutter and personal items when prospective buyers are likely to stop by. So the question remains, can homeowners selling their homes still decorate for the holiday season?

The primary reason many realtors discourage personal items and clutter within the home is because clutter can make a space feel cramped and personal items will often inhibit a viewer from being able to imagine themselves within the space. Although holiday decorations will fill up space within the home, they can also make a home feel warmer and more welcoming if done correctly. For this reason, many realtors recommend that sellers use only minimal holiday trimmings and decorations in order to keep the home looking as spacious as possible. A few small holiday items will likely do the trick, as too many decorations can also be a distraction to viewers.

Another important thing to keep in mind is that the seller may be decorating their home for a holiday that prospective buyers do not celebrate. In order to keep your home welcoming and inclusive, it is best not to use overtly symbolic decorations and instead lean more towards festive decorations. For this, most realtors recommend one sign if at decoration within the living room and another welcoming holiday decorations by the door.

Most realtors agree to keep the holiday decorations in storage until after the shoot when it comes to staging photos. If your home takes months to sell, staging photos that show holiday decorations may seem odd and deter potential viewers from stopping by. This means that if your home’s listing photo shoot is scheduled for the holiday season, you may need to put off decorating. However, once the photos have been taken, feel free to decorate your home with tasteful decorations.

Lastly, Soleil Sotheby’s International Realty recommends sellers take down any holiday decorations immediately after the holidays. Although some American families enjoy keeping their holiday decorations up until Valentine’s Day, it will likely hinder buyer interest and make the home appear unkempt and dated.