Some people think the winter is a terrible time to sell your home but there are definite advantages that should not be over looked. During the fall and winter there are fewer homes on the market which translates to less competition for you, the seller. With fewer properties available, it should be easier for you to catch the attention of potential buyers who have fewer properties to choose from. It should also mean that you can take more time to weigh the pros and cons of any offers you receive…and properties that are in good shape and priced fairly should still receive attention. After all, families don’t stop growing and new jobs don’t disappear just because the snow starts to fall. And speaking of snow, the winter can be a great time to showcase how cozy and welcoming your home can be. Here are some tips to help you get your house sold during the winter:
Maintain your property all year long. Put your best foot forward by keeping your home looking clean, tidy and well-kept, even when you’d rather stay inside. Before the cold really sets in clean out your eaves troughs, gather up any downed branches and dead foliage and take care of any necessary minor repairs. Washing your windows can go a long way as well since winter light won’t show any fewer smudges than summer light will. During colder months, buyers will be thinking about weather specific issues such as heating costs and air quality. Consider getting your furnace, HVAC and roof inspected and repair as necessary. You don’t want to turn a prospective buyer off by not attending to a repair that could have been taken care of before the winter set in.
Keep an eye on your winter garden. Our yards get a lot of attention during the spring and summer but they also need to be maintained during the colder months. Make sure that shrubs and trees that might get weighed down with heavy snow won’t block your driveway or entrances and exits. Keep walkways and front steps shoveled and ice-free – you don’t always get much advanced notice for showings so you always want to be prepared.
Curb appeal can be even more necessary during a bleak winter. Just because you can’t keep flowers outside doesn’t mean you should give up on dressing up your entrance. Make sure to have a wreath on the door, a planter of branches on the front step or maybe even fairy lights strung over a door frame. You want potential buyers to feel welcomed right from the start so any small touches you can add to brighten up your entryway are worth it.
Make a good impression. Showings often last only 15 – 20 minutes as buyers sometimes have an idea of whether or not your home is the right one before they’ve even taken their coats off. Its up to you to catch their interest right from the start. Whenever possible have some lights turned on. Replace any weak or burned out bulbs and consider putting some lights on a timer. That way even when you’re not home, your home will always be well-lit, cozy looking and welcoming for potential buyers. Set the heat set at a comfortable room temperature or if you have a wood stove or fireplace and aren’t going to be out for long, consider leaving a fire burning (safety first, of course) to really set a welcoming atmosphere. Buyers will feel like your home is a shelter from the cold outside. An easy way to build on this impression is to add layers of warmth. Add a throw rug in front of the fireplace, toss a knitted blanket over the arm of the couch or consider adding a fluffy quilt to the end of a bed. Small decorative touches like fresh flowers or bowls of potpourri can also leave a cozy impression on visitors.
Christmas décor can really emphasize a nostalgic, family-friendly atmosphere and can help buyers envision their own family fitting comfortably into their new home. But if its February and your tree is still up, you’re not doing yourself any favours. After the holidays, take down your tree and pack away the bulk of your Christmas decorations. Keeping your home clutter-free wins out here, I’m afraid. You don’t have to remove it all though. Your wreath and the urn at the front door can stay out for as long as they continue to look attractive. Why make more work for yourself than necessary? You’ll be busy enough keeping the walkway shoveled!