My House Looks Like The Movie Christmas Vacation

A few weeks back, I wrote a column talking about how a tastefully decorated home for the Holidays can sometimes help a home show well and maybe sell sooner. The keyword in the sentence from that column is “tastefully.” If your home looks like the one Chevy Chase decorated in ‘Christmas Vacation’, you will have some issues selling that home. If you must decorate your home to that extent and it is for sale, you might consider taking it off the market for 30-45 days and then put it back on after the decorations are packed away.

What happens if your home is on the market, but it’s not your home decorated to the hilt; it’s the neighbor next door? That can be worse than the scenario I outlined above. You see, if it’s your house, you can always decide not to break out the decorations in order to sell the home. If it’s your neighbor, there is little you can do to stop the holiday spectacle next door. This happened to me as a listing agent. I had a home for sale in a nice suburb of Denver. The home was great and everyone loved it. The problem was the neighbor who decorated his home like Clark Griswal. Everyone within a 5-mile radius would drive by that home, resulting in non-stop traffic in front of my client’s house every night from Thanksgiving to New Year’s. Everyone knew that house, that owner, and went there every Christmas to look at their lights. As result, agents would call me and ask me if the home I had for sale was next door to the nutty Christmas guy. The answer was always yes and then they told me that their client would not be buying the home.

My client was friends with the neighbor and told them of their predicament. Thankfully, the neighbor understood their situation and graciously wrote a letter, stating that he would no longer be putting up the Christmas extravaganza. When we had a showing and the agent called about the neighbor next door, I forwarded them the letter. Eventually, that worked and someone bought the house. The new homeowners were not against Christmas decorating as long as the neighbor scaled it back. He did, and everyone lived happily ever after. Not all stories like this have a happy ending. My advice if you live next to Clark Griswal is to pray for another Clark to buy your home, sell your home in summer, or work out something amicably with the neighbor.

Christmas Vacation:

Bethany: Is your house on fire, Clark?

Clark: No, Aunt Bethany, those are Christmas lights.

Happy Holidays.

Dan Polimino is an Owner/Broker with Keller Williams Realty DTC. He can be reached at

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