Light your home right this holiday season

A classic lighting display can add charm for buyers

James Anderson

Just because your home is for sale doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the look of the holidays.

In fact, done right, it may help give your house the look of a home at a time of year the garden can look less than inviting.

“We have some real estate clients who get our lights for the season to increase curb appeal,” says James Anderson, owner of Light Right. “You want it to look like a home.”

Founded in Whistler, it’s the third year for Light Right in Victoria, but the first year they’ve tackled the light-up display for the Oak Bay village. It’s familiar territory, though, as many clients are in the neighbourhood, Anderson says.

Trends continue toward warm white lights, with LED bulbs allowing energy-efficient displays that mimic the traditional look.

Simple, but elegant is the theme. While homeowners often light just the front of the house, lighting at least one side of the home as well can give the display depth.

Invest in quality lights for long-standing beauty, and when purchasing, it’s best to have a little bit extra than not quite enough. The average strand length is 25 feet or about nine metres.

When it comes to installing holiday lights, whether for winter sales appeal or to create a magical seasonal display, safety comes first.

According to one Alberta study, more than 40 life-threatening injuries directly related to hanging Christmas lights were reported in that province over the last decade.

“Most of our customers over the past few years have told us repeatedly that they want the house lit up well but hate climbing on slippery ladders, or walking on wet roofs,” says Anderson. “A lot of people never use a ladder during the whole year so it’s good to get a refresher before going out there.”

Anderson offers his top-three tips for home installers.

First, “make sure all your lights are working before you get up the ladder,” Anderson says. “That’s where accidents happen.”

In addition to making sure the bulbs are lit, inspect the chords to ensure they are in good shape with no frayed sections.

When it comes time to install, keep “three points of contact” on the ladder for safety and stability,” Anderson says. Plus, “always try to work with a partner so you have someone to hold the ladder.”

Additional tips:

• Wear footwear with good grip.

• Avoid icy, slippery conditions.

• Use a high-quality, sturdy ladder appropriate for the height.

• Move the ladder as required rather than overreaching.

• Make sure the ladder is securely positioned at all times and braced by a partner.

• Maintain balance at all times and take care moving up and down ladders or on rooftops.

• Watch out for frayed wires or broken glass.

• If you’re nervous, call a pro.

Store your lights in a way that willl keep them looking beautiful next season. Moisture will quickly ruin lights, so Anderson suggests storing them with balled up newspaper or silica packets and in a bin with holes to allow airflow.