Selling your home is always stressful and inconvenient however selling during the winter presents its own unique set of challenges. Not only is the market typically slower during colder, winter months but the holidays can make it difficult to juggle the need to decorate with the importance to properly showcase your home. As there are less buyers looking for a home its vital to make sure your property shows beautifully so buyers will willingly – and eagerly – face winter’s cold wrath to preview your home.
Keep your driveway and walkways shoveled and accessible. The last thing a seller wants is for a potential buyer to decide not to preview the interior because the exterior is treacherous or difficult to get access to due to snow and ice. Make the exterior too much of a challenge and your buyers will simply move onto the next property on their list. By keeping all access points clear, you will welcome visitors inside and showcase the fact that your home is well maintained and taken care of.
Be wary of heavy or potent smells. Winter makes it almost impossible to open windows so a home’s smells are important to be aware of. While your house is on the market, do your best to refrain from using incense, heavy perfumes or pot pourri and doing a lot of cooking with heavy spices. These things not only linger in the air for days, they also permeate the soft decor in your home – your carpets, draperies, pillows and these smells can stay trapped in these items for long time. This means even if you air out the house, when you close it back up, your soft decor items will still release the same heavy smells back into the home. Keep on top of pet smells and ensure that their litter or bedding is changed daily – sometimes twice daily. To keep the air light and fresh, keep the house clean, keep the air purifier working and use natural citrus scents to add a warm welcome to the air.
Make sure every room is well-lit. This sounds logical however there are a staggering number of people who do not have adequate lighting in their home. In order for buyers to buy a home they need to not only be able to see each room but they also need to be romanced – especially in the key selling areas such as the living room, family room, bedroom and kitchen. This means having levels of lighting, not just a harsh overhead light, so that you set the mood and ambiance for your visitors. In the winter when sunny days are at a premium and it gets dark very quickly, these levels of lighting are vital to proper showcasing. From table lamps to modern floor lamps and kitchen fixtures – these items play an important part in a home’s overall presentation. Another way to ensure rooms are well-lit is to keep blinds and window treatments open as natural light is one of the best ways to make sure a space appears bright and welcoming.
Keep holiday decorating minimal and tasteful. As we discussed during our postStaging to Sell over the Holidays, while decorating for festivities is important, it’s also vital to keep the decorating tasteful and in balance with the space. It’s very easy to overwhelm a room with too many decorations, too many ornaments and too much cheer. Your buyers will appreciate simple decorating touches so don’t feel you can’t celebrate. Once the holidays are over however, make sure decorations get taken down quickly and if any photos online showcase holiday decor, have them refreshed so your listing doesn’t seem stale in January.
Create simple winter curb appeal. Regardless of the time of year, your home needs to have welcoming appeal. Shoveling is a first step but one of our top suggestions is to add some urns with seasonal greenery, hazel twigs, berries and even soft white lights flanking your front door which will add pops of color against the snow as well as warmth and welcome to your porch. Ensuring bushes and small trees are trimmed back, house numbers are visible from the curb, all lights work are all elements of strong curb appeal.
Clean out closets and storage areas to make room for winter clothing. From heavy winter coats and snowpants to heavy boots and skis – winter comes with a lot of extra things to store. Pare down the contents of hall or mudroom closets, taking the opportunity to pack away lighter clothing to make room for all these winter must haves. As a general rule, all winter clothing and boots should be stored neatly in these closets so buyers don’t think the house has storage issues. Skis, snowshoes etc should have a home in a closet or in the garage however it may mean packing away other items to make room for these winter essentials.
Be aware of your home’s temperature. You don’t want your house to be overly warm so your buyers are too hot to enjoy previewing the home. At the same time, we have been in a lot of homes which are freezing – either because they are vacant or because that is how the current home owners like the temperature. Keep the temperature comfortable so your buyers feel welcome and then want to stay.
Warmth and welcome are key aspects to luring buyers out to see your home during colder months. By following these tips and consulting with a professional stager to ensure all areas of your home are properly showcased, sellers will reap the benefits of impressing the buyers who are shopping for properties even when the market typically slows. Regardless of the time of year, a home which has been properly prepared and staged will stand out against its competition, making it the house to see!