The winter months are not always thought of as the best time for house hunting – the cold, the harder to navigate roads, and the preparations for the holidays all often lead people to put their home buying plans on hold until the spring – but that does not mean that homes are not bought and sold in real estate’s off season, especially in the ‘hotter’ housing markets.
Some savvy buyers intentionally begin a home hunt in the winter months because they are hoping to score a lower price or beat others ‘to the punch’ when the housing stock is lower as their competition has withdrawn for the season. Others simply want or need to move as soon as possible, regardless of the time of year.
Winter can be a challenging time to sell your home. On the upside fewer homes on the market means yours will get more attention from buyers. By upping the cozy factor, making the most of your home’s winter assets and paying attention to little details, you can make your house really stand out. Here are some tips and tricks to help you get the most out of every cold season showing:
Keep Your Entryway Super Clean – The entryway to the average home in the winter can become a messy place very quickly. Muddy, snowy boots, dripping wet coats and an increasingly large amount of bulky winter outerwear can all ruin your clever home staging efforts. They should not be allowed to ruin a showing though.
Make sure that your family – and yourself of course – get into the habit of removing dirty shoes and bulky coats outside and then getting them out of sight and into a closet ASAP. It’s also a good idea to keep a Swiffer style wet mop somewhere in the hallway so that you can give it a quick once over a few minutes before home viewers arrive even if you only have short notice.
Add Warmth to Every Room – A welcoming winter home should be a warm and cosy one and creating that atmosphere is easier than you think. A throw or blanket (or two or three) draped over furnishings, softer lightbulbs added to light fixtures – and ensuring they are all lit, even in the day, as winter gets gloomy – a seasonally scented candle (think apples, pine etc.) are all easy ways to add a sense of winter warmth with ease.
One word of warning though. A roaring fire is a lovely touch too, but only light yours if it’s clean burning and not smoky smelling. Choking your visitors half to death is NOT very welcoming at all!
Play Up Indoor Rec Spaces – When it’s cold out people like to spend time a lot more time indoors, but they also want to be entertained and active. If you have a finished basement, a kid’s playroom space or even just a covered porch that could be heated make sure that these indoor ‘rec’ spaces are especially highlighted when winter home buyers come calling.
Speaking of entertainment, the holidays are traditionally a time for guests, so make sure your staging highlights how well your home can be used to entertain in style. Stage a formal dining room with place settings so that a home buyer can envision serving a holiday meal there and make sure that you highlight how efficient your kitchen would be for preparing those meals.
Make Sure the Path is Clear – Perhaps the most important thing to keep an eye on when showing your home for sale in the winter is the state of the pathways and driveways leading to your home. They should be kept clear at all times as the very last thing you want is a slip and fall accident involving visitors – including potential home buyers – on your property.