Selling your home in the winter does certainly present its own set of unique challenges, but contrary to popular opinion it can also be a great time to do so. Many home buyers, buoyed by a New Year’s Resolution to find the home of their dreams right now, rather than wait until the spring, are itching to get out and house hunt and are indeed ready to buy.
Showing a home in winter is different, of course, to showing it in the warmer months. But it can be done effectively, if you keep these tips in mind:
Keep Clearing a Path
- If snowflakes are falling it is essential that the path to your home is clear when potential buyers arrive, even if it means shoveling a couple of times during the day.
Even if there is only a dusting if the temperature drops ice can form quickly so make sure a layer of salt or sand is in place too.
Open a path to your home from the sidewalk as well, so that visitors are not forced to clamber over snowdrifts.
If it’s raining rather than snowing make sure that you have a container at your entrance – preferably outside – for wet umbrellas.
Invest in a clear plastic runner for your entryway, to prevent snow/ice/mud from being tracked across the house and make sure a mat is in place for boots and shoes to be wiped on.
Let Light In
As winter can be gloomy you need to ensure that your home is as well lit as possible:
- Open drapes and blinds in every room in the house
Even with the blinds open turn on interior lights to add both light and a bit of extra warmth
Turn off TVs and computers, as they can cast a rather cold glow that is less than pleasant
Pump Up the Heat
It’s better to have your home heated a degree or two warmer than usual when potential buyers arrive than have it a little too cold. Shivering is not a state in which it is easy to enjoy viewing a home! Don’t over heat the place either though, as sweating through a showing is no fun either.
Be Careful with Scents
Some home stagers suggest that you can use scent to help a home show better in winter by appearing more welcoming and warm and to a certain extent that’s true, but you do need to be careful. Some people are allergic to certain scents and deodorizers, so don’t spray the air with chemical fresheners or plug-in air fresheners. Instead set out a few bowls of natural potpourri that will both scent the air and add a nice visual staging touch.
Now’s the Time to Use Photos
The standard staging wisdom is that personal photos should be removed from view before a showing but in the winter there are one or two exceptions to this ‘rule’. As you really can’t showcase your outdoor space at its best at the moment if you do have some photos of it in the spring and summer they should be placed in a prominent spot (and in nice frames) so that potential buyers can get an actual visual feel for what the space looks like in summer, rather than just having your Realtor try to describe it for them.